I think the Big East tournament is doing just fine, don’t you?
A night after Georgetown got picked off by DePaul in the first round of the tournament, Seton Hall beat the tournament’s No. 1 seed 64-63 on a game-winning, step-back jumper at the buzzer from Sterling Gibbs.
It’s a great way to start a long Thursday of conference tournament action, and it was the perfect ending to a thriller in Madison Square Garden. Seton Hall was up by as many as 15 points on the Wildcats, but Villanova used a 18-0 run to retake the lead. The Pirates never rolled over, however, going blow-for-blow with the Wildcats. Jaren Sina hit a huge three with 17.2 seconds left to put Seton Hall up 62-61, and after a tough runner from Darrun Hilliard game Villanova the lead back, Gibbs’ jumper won the game.
The buzzer-beater was the highlight, but the talking point after this game is going to be about the fourth No. 1 seed. The Wildcats had put themselves in a position where they were likely the favorite to join Florida, Wichita State and Arizona on the top line of the bracket when it gets announced on Sunday, but having their resume capped with a loss to a team that couldn’t even crack the RPI’s top 100 is a major issue.
Villanova isn’t out of the running yet, but with teams like Kansas, Wisconsin, Syracuse, Virginia and Louisville still alive in their league tournaments, the chances of the Wildcats still have the best profile in four days is quite unlikely.
Here’s another question: what do we make of this Villanova team? They’re scrappy, they can force turnovers with their perimeter ball pressure, they cause matchup problems with their versatile forwards and they shoot a lot of threes despite being a relatively mediocre perimeter shooting team. But they don’t have a ton of size, their best win (Kansas) came before the Jayhawks hit their stride and they got blown out twice by the only other elite team in the Big East.
Might Jay Wright’s club be primed for an early exit next week? Let us know what you think in the comments.