The Big East is getting into the stretch run. Most teams have 10 games left. The league is tightly bound together after the 6-1 leaders Syracuse and Marquette. There are 7 teams with 3 losses. Louisville and St John's are 5-3, UConn is 3-3. The only 4 loss team is Pittsburgh. It's shaping up to be an exciting close to the season. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to run through every team in the league and predict where they end up. Also, don't know what fun is.
There is a full breakdown after the team synopsis of each projected win and loss.
Syracuse 18-2, 6-1
Syracuse has a tricky schedule coming up. They go to Pitt before hosting Notre Dame and St John's. All 3 are tournament hopefuls. I have the Orange sweeping them, and sweeping all the way to February 23, when they play Georgetown. I see a little losing streak coming against Georgetown and Marquette, then Syracuse sweeping out the rest of the season. That includes what could be the Big East championship game against Louisville.
Final Record: 27-4, 15-3
Marquette 15-4, 6-1
Marquette has a heavy road schedule coming up. They only have 4 home games remaining. I think that the Golden Eagles will sweep them. That includes wins over Pitt, Syracuse, and Notre Dame. Going on the road means that losses are going to come. I think it starts with Louisville on Sunday. And they won't stop. A fall is coming.
Final Record: 21-9, 12-6
Louisville 17-4, 5-3
The Cardinals are battling some issues with injury, discipline and offense, but this is probably the most talented team in the league. The Cards have a tricky schedule coming up, but they should be able to use their still excellent defense to shut down teams like Rutgers, St John's and USF. I see a couple of losses coming, both on the road. Louisville never seems to play well at Notre Dame and the Irish are due a game where they shoot the lights out against someone. I also think Louisville loses to Syracuse again. Besides that, I think the Cards are going to start cleaning up.
Final Record: 25-6, 13-5
St John's 13-7, 5-3
The Red Storm are an interesting squad right now. They are rolling on a 4 game winning streak, which should be a 5 game winning streak after they complete the season sweep of DePaul tomorrow night. That's where the fun looks like it will stop. The Storm play @ Georgetown, UConn, @ Syracuse and @ Louisville. That has to be the toughest 4 game stretch for anyone. I think they can get one of those before a 2 game home stretch. They end the year @ PC, @ ND and against Marquette. I would recommend St John's fans enjoy 6-3 a lot.
Final Record: 17-13, 9-9
Notre Dame 16-4, 4-3
I've been very public on twitter about my dislike for this Notre Dame squad. I think that they have been exposed as a good offensive team, but a lousy defensive team. If you can disrupt the flow of their offense, you can beat the Irish. The schedule has 6 tough games and 5 very winnable games. They have DePaul coming up twice before Valentine's Day, so they are going to win at least 2 more. I think ND is a perfectly fine team. They should end up with a winning conference record, a decent seed in the BET and lose in the first round of the NCAAs again.
Final Record: 22-9, 10-8
Cincinnati 16-4, 4-3
The Bearcats have a relatively, in this league, easy 6 game stretch where they should clean up. They host Rutgers, go to league minnows Seton Hall and Providence, then start a 3 game home stand with Pitt, Villanova and Georgetown. It is not unbelievable to think Cincinnati could be sitting at 10-3 or 9-4. They end the season with a tough final kick. They play a home and home with Connecticut sandwiched around a trip to Notre Dame, a team UC can not beat away from 5/3 Arena. After that, they head to Louisville for the final Big Monday game of the season. This current stretch is huge if Cincinnati wants to be a Big East contender.
Final Record: 24-7, 12-6
Georgetown 14-4, 4-3
Georgetown plays a very back loaded schedule. They don't start their mirror games with Syracuse until 5 games are left in the season. They also go to UConn and Nova in that stretch. Outside of a stumble or two, they Hoyas should be primed to go on a run through the softer part of things. They have 4 of the next 6 at home. If they can keep it at a loss or two before Syracuse, the Hoyas will be sitting high in the Big East standings. I think they get RAC'd and cost themselves a top 4 seed, however.
Final Record: 21-8, 11-7
Villanova 13-7, 4-3
The Wildcats are a very tricky team to predict because they have the mammoth back to back wins along with some bad losses. I am not really sure if this is an NCAA tournament team or not. That's about to reflect in my prediction. The Wildcats have 4 games they absolutely have to win with PC, DePaul, USF and Rutgers. They go to UC, UConn and Pitt, none of which would be bad losses. They host Georgetown and Marquette late in the season. If they can get one of those, who knows? Because I think they will muddy the waters, I see them getting one.
Final Record: 19-12, 10-8
Pittsburgh 17-5, 5-4
We saw last night that the Panthers are a very scrappy team. Outside of getting beat at the RAC, they have no bad losses. I see that continuing. The Panthers have a very favorable schedule outside of trips to Cincinnati and Marquette. Their toughest game is this Saturday against Syracuse. They end with USF, Nova and DePaul. The Panthers are enjoying a nice bounce back season.
Final Record: 24-7, 12-6
Connecticut 13-5, 3-3
I will fully admit to not having a full handle on Connecticut. What I do know is that they have a lot of the tougher teams out of the way and a lot of the lesser ones coming up. UConn has 2 games with Providence, 2 games with USF and a game against DePaul. I think they'll get at least one of Nova, Georgetown or Cincinnati as well. This team tries so much harder than last year's team. I think if they could make the NCAA tournament, they would be a dangerous team with those guards. Instead, they aren't.
Final Record: 20-10, 10-8
Rutgers 12-7, 3-5
If you are a Big East contender, chances are that Rutgers is coming up on your schedule. The Scarlet Knights have Cincinnati, Louisville and Georgetown next. They go to Nova and Georgetown later in the season, while hosting Marquette. They really get a brutal close to the schedule. They have 4 games that could swing their way with Seton Hall (mirror opponent), Providence and DePaul.
Final Record: 14-15, 5-13
Seton Hall 13-7, 2-5
Seton Hall has a major problem and that major problem is that they don't play any defense. They had 3 double digit losses hung on them to start Big East play. While they have kept things closer lately, they have 2 conference wins. Those are over DePaul and USF. They don't play DePaul or USF again. One thing Seton Hall has in their favor is that they shoot a ton of 3s. They are going to get hot against someone and ruin their night.
Final Record: 18-14, 6-12
Providence 10-10, 2-6
The Friars are a fun team to watch. Vincent Council, Bryce Cotton, Henton, they are all good players. Cotton especially has become a fun player to watch as he's the leading scorer in the Big East. Providence hasn't been blown out this season except at Louisville. They are going to play hard and maybe steal a game or two. They don't have a very favorable schedule. They play UConn twice, UC and ND at home and go to Syracuse and Nova. That just seems like 6 losses to me.
Final Record: 12- 18, 4-14
DePaul 10-9, 1-5
DePaul is not very good. I think they can get Rutgers at home. They could win at USF. They haven't won multiple Big East road games since the 2007-08 season.
Final Record: 11-20 2-16
South Florida 10-10, 1-7
The Bulls have only hit the 60 point barrier 3 times in Big East play. They've been held under 50 points 3 times in Big East play. I don't think the Bulls are the worst team in the league. They get to host Providence and DePaul. They should win both of those games. As for the rest, maybe they can frustrate the hell out of someone while Victor Rudd goes NBA Jam for 40 minutes.
Final Record: 12-18, 3-15
Notre Dame 10-8
St John's 9-9
Seton Hall 6-12
South Florida 3-15
If you think the standings look off, remember that there were 6 teams last year who went at least 12-6. The top team in the league had 1 loss. There were only 2 teams with 4 losses or fewer. This is plausible. I think we could very well see 8 teams selected to the Big Dance.
If you are interested, after the jump I have the spread sheet I compiled with every team's predicted wins and losses.