And then there were three.
With the culmination of the regular season a mere two days away, three programs—Georgetown, Louisville and Marquette—still find themselves in position to lay claim to the Big East title.
Over the span of six hours on Saturday afternoon, however, clarity and resolution will finally be had amid the year-long cluster that has represented the top of the Big East standings. Yet, with no tie breakers in place, if each of the aforesaid clubs wins over the weekend the trio would share the title.
For the Marquette Golden Eagles (22-7, 13-4), winners in seven of their past nine outings, a triumph over host St. John’s on Saturday would secure at least a share of their first-ever Big East regular season crown since becoming a league affiliate in 2005.
This past season, anchored by the 1-2 punch of future NBA draft picks Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom, MU won 14 conference affairs en route to finishing second in the league standings—its best finish to date.
Pegged to finish seventh in the preseason coaches’ poll, the 15th-ranked Golden Eagles have already secured a double bye in next week’s Big East Conference Championship and are all but assured of an eight consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.
Tipoff between Marquette and St. John’s is slated for 1:00 p.m. CT.
No. 8 Louisville (25-5, 13-4), the unanimous selection to win the conference in the preseason coaches’ poll, meanwhile, will host Notre Dame at 3:00 p.m. CT on Saturday.
Following a seven-game stretch in late January and early February in which they went 3-4, the Cardinals, currently the league’s highest scoring club (73.6 ppg), enter the weekend having won six straight by an average of 15 points.
In their first meeting on Feb. 9, the Fighting Irish and Cardinals staged arguably the most dramatic contest of the 2012-13 season, with Notre Dame prevailing 104-101 in five overtimes.
The Hoyas (23-5, 13-4), very much alive in the running for a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance, play host to 17th-ranked Syracuse at 11:00 a.m. CT.
Entering the week with 11 straight victories to their name, John Thompson III’s club, who upended Marquette, 63-55, on Feb. 11, fell victim to Villanova on Tuesday and are looking to avoid only the second two-game losing skid of the season.
Needless to say, scoreboard watching will not be in short supply on Saturday.