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Prepare for a month of chaos in the Big East

If you've been paying attention to the NFL instead of college basketball, you're about to jump into a crazy stretch run.

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut at Xavier Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

With 13 or so games down in the 20-game Big East season, surprisingly little has been settled. In less than a month, all 11 teams will descend on Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament. In a league this competitive, the difference between grabbing another win or two to complete a resume and crashing out in the first round can come down to what seed a team earns. The picture is fairly muddled still.

About the only thing we do know for certain is that Georgetown will be the 11 seed. The Hoyas are currently 0-12 and there's a greater chance that they go winless in conference than there is that they overtake anyone in the league standings. They've been abject since their season-opening loss to Dartmouth. The easiest game left on their schedule is home to KenPom #101 DePaul; they've only beat 1 team with a better KenPom ranking than that all season.

On the other end of the table, Providence and Villanova have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Providence lost three of their toughest Big East games to covid and have currently played the easiest schedule in the league. Of their 11 league wins, 6 have been by 5 or fewer points; they lead the nation in KenPom's luck metric by a comical margin. These two teams will face off twice down the stretch with the top seed in the conference tournament likely on the line.

The top three teams in the league will get to take on the winners of the first round games. Nova and Providence will take the two top spots; the third is on complete chaos.

According to both Bart Torvik and Ken Pomeroy, Connecticut, Marquette, Xavier, and Creighton are all likely to finish with 11 or 12 wins. Each of those teams has looked excellent at times: UConn ripped off 5 straight in January, Marquette bettered that by winning 7 straight, Xavier has 6 quad 1 wins, and Creighton beat Villanova by 20. Each has also looked dreadful: UConn just snuck by St. John's to avoid being 1-4 in their last 5, Marquette has dropped 3 of 4 including one to Butler, Xavier lost to DePaul, and Creighton lost the return leg to Nova by 34.

Whichever of those teams comes out on top will get to take on the winner of whichever finishes 6th and Georgetown in the first round of the conference tournament. The other two will have to take on each other fresh.

Of course, it's not certain that one of those four teams will finish 6th in the league. Seton Hall is lingering or maybe languishing just adrift of that pack at 6-7. The Pirates have been incredibly inconsistent since PG Bryce Aiken went down with a concussion; if he clears protocols, they may yet exceed their projection of 10-11 conference wins. Roadies at UConn, Xavier, and Creighton are still on their schedule; a hot streak from them could throw the league table into chaos.

Joining Georgetown among the teams that are sure to be playing on the Wednesday of the Big East Tournament are DePaul, Butler, and St. John's. There is a big gulf in quality and record between these four teams and the rest of the league. They'll be fighting among each other for the chance to take on one of the good teams the next day.

A team's chances of advancing in the conference tournament will pivot on the matchups determined by the league table. At-large hopes could well be pinned on winning a game or two at MSG - or at least not losing to the wrong team. We know who will be the top two and who will be dead last. In between, two groups of teams are scrapping to take control of their own fates heading into the decisive month of the year.