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With one week, and two games each, left in the Big East regular season schedule, the conference still has an almost unbelievable 11 teams in the running for an NCAA tournament birth.  Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Georgetown are definites in the field.  In Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology on ESPN he adds Marquette, Louisville and Connecticut to that group for a total of eight Big East teams.  He also includes Notre Dame in the first four out and Seton Hall and Cincinnati in the next four out.

Last week I assessed what each Big East bubble team needed to do to be invited to the NCAA tournament.  Here’s an updated analysis (South Florida has dropped out of contention):

Louisville – 19-10 (10-6), RPI: 32, SOS: 5

Remaining Schedule: @Marquette, Syracuse
The Cardinals still have the best RPI of the Big East bubble teams.  They split their games last week, losing a tough one at home to Georgetown and then scoring a big win at Connecticut.  One more win in their last two games and a first round Big East tournament victory will guarantee a spot in the big dance.  I think they still get in with a first round tourney win even if they lose their last two regular season games.   
Bottom Line – In

Marquette – 19-9 (10-6), RPI: 49, SOS: 67

Remaining Schedule: Louisville, Notre Dame
Marquette is one of the hottest teams in the conference having won eight out of their last nine and their last three on the road in overtime.  A weak RPI and bad losses to DePaul and N.C. State are the things holding them back.  A win against either Louisville or Notre Dame will guarantee them a spot in the Big Dance.
Bottom Line – In

Connecticut – 17-12 (7-9), RPI: 44, SOS: 2

Remaining Schedule: @Notre Dame, @USF
The Huskies lost in a battle against Louisville.  Now they need to win their last two games on the road to reach .500 in conference play.  I think they still need some combination of three wins during the rest of the regular season and the Big East tournament to guarantee a spot.
Bottom Line – In

Notre Dame – 19-10 (8-8), RPI: 68, SOS: 60

Remaining Schedule: Connecticut, @Marquette
Nobody helped themselves more last week than the Irish.  They picked up two big wins, one at home against Pittsburgh and another at Georgetown.  Even more impressively they won without Luke Harangody, who looks likely to miss the rest of the season.  As I said last week, their remaining schedule gives them a chance to play their way in.  If they can get two more wins this week they will solidify their spot in the NCAA tournment.  If they lose one they will still have a chance if they can look impressive in a win or two in the Big East tournament.
Bottom Line – Out

Cincinnati – 16-12 (7-9), RPI: 58, SOS: 17

Remaining Schedule: Villanova, @Georgetown
The Bearcats are on their last legs.  They have big opportunities to score a strong victory in the last week of regular season play.  Two wins this week and one in the Big East tournament would secure their spot in the NCAA tourney.  Otherwise they are going to need to make a deep run in the Garden.
Bottom Line – Out

Seton Hall – 16-11 (7-9), RPI: 63, SOS: 16

Remaining Schedule: @Rutgers, @Providence
The Pirates lost a real tough game at the end of last week at home against Marquette in overtime.  That win would have really helped their chances.  They are going to need a lot of help to get into the NCAA tournament.  They absolutely have to win their last two games and then probably two more at Madison Square Garden to get a spot in the Big Dance.
Bottom Line – Out

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