Well, well, well. A year later and here we are. I’ll spare you the poetics, but it’s been a tough year. There is, though, a light at the end of the tunnel. We are getting back to normal life, and this edition of Madness, as strange as it is, is a harbinger of better days ahead. Here’s to a normal tournament next year, but until then, I’m happy with what we have.

Enough of the sappiness. Onto the rankings.

DePaul (2-12)

Reader, I know your time is valuable. I will not waste it by speaking about DePaul.

St. Johns (8-9)

The only notable thing that happened to St. Johns this week is that they got their asses kicked by Villanova on Tuesday. At this point, I don’t think that they’ll make the tournament, and as much as I like watching Posh and Champagnie, I don’t think we’ll see them that far into March.

Providence (8-9)

Providence has been on a 2 game losing streak, getting beat by a combined margin of 27 points form Xavier and UConn. These are two fairly respectable losses, but no loss is respectable this late in the hunt for a bid to Indiana.

Marquette (6-11)

So, uh, we all know this isn’t exactly UNC’s year (or Marquette’s for that matte), but the fact that Marquette was able to beat them at home in February just goes to show how truly messed up this season is. Marquette worked like a well-oiled machine against UNC, with Dawson Garcia putting up a 24pt-11reb double-double to grab a spot on the Big East Honor Roll. That said, UConn took the Golden Eagles to task on Saturday, and the Huskies’ defense proved just too good for Woj and his team.

Butler (8-11)

The biggest news out of the Big East this week was Butler’s win vs. Villanova on Sunday. Hinkle Magic struck again, for sure, but Chuck Carris played out of his mind, the rest of the team played great, and the Bulldogs held Nova to 7.4% from range. Butler has no chance for the tournament, but I think that they are a team on the upshot for sure.

Georgetown (6-8)

Georgetown beat DePaul on Saturday much worse than the score would suggest. Like I’ve said before, this team lives and dies by the combined efforts of their wings Jamorko Pickett and Chudier Bile: and to that end, Chudi picked up his first double-double in the blue and grey. He’ll have to replicate that performance today against Xavier if the Hoyas want to spoil the Musketeer’s chances.

The worst news for the Hoyas that has come out recently is the shrinking of the NIT tournament field from 32 to 16. On the bright side, since the Ivies cancelled basketball, there’s no chance we get embarrassed by whoever lost to Yale.

Seton Hall (10-7)

Seton hall is also dangerously close to falling out of the bubble after losing back to back games against two bottom-half Big East teams in Georgetown and Butler. If they want any chance to prove what they can do, they either have to make a deep BET run (which I think they have in them) or win out their season, with their toughest game coming against UConn tomorrow.

Xavier (6-5)

It’s hard to overstate the significance of Xavier’s win over Creighton. As far as I’m concerned, Xavier is getting pretty close to a tourney lock, assuming they dont lose every game they have going forward. What worries me for the musketeers is that their most consistent point scorer, Nate Johnson, is out for the season. Georgetown has been dangerous as of late, and things could easily go haywire. But in my opinion, the more likely case is that they win out and obtain a bid.

UConn (9-6)

UConn has been turning up the heat, beating an improved Georgetown team and blowing out Marquette at home. I think that it’s more likely than not that they make the tournament, provided they win one of their two next games and make some noise in the garden.

#14 Creighton (13-5)

There’s no excuse for any of you to not watch the Creighton-Villanova game tomorrow night. It’s a sneak peak into what would surely have happened in New York had James Bouknight not returned, and it’ll expose the flaws in each team’s game as they head into the tournament.

#10 Villanova (10-3)

Yeah, yeah, Villanova lost to Butler last week but come on: they are still the undisputed kings of the East. Like I said before, I’m anticipating Wednesday’s clash as a preview to New York to see how Villanova’s absurdly efficient offense contends with Creighton’s tight defense. Clear your schedule and strap yourselves into the couch tomorrow night: we have a thriller on our hands.

Game of the Week:

Creighton vs. Villanova, Wednesday 3/3, 8:30 FS1

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