Four games of some note for any bubble-tracker to keep an eye on.
Only one involves a team that would be in the NCAA tournament field if it began today. The other three are alll Big East longshots stuck playing the garbage of the 16-team confederation.
The real fun begins later in the week. But this will have to do for now.
* Cincinnati vs. DePaul, noon: The Bearcats hurt themselves a ton last week, and beating DePaul would mean nothing more than living to see another day. But they’ll be out of the discussion entirely with a loss, so they’d better take care of a Blue Demons team that went 0-16 in the Big East.
* St. John’s vs. Georgetown, 2:30: Ah, the Red Storm can cripple the Hoyas —- again. Georgetown has something many mediocre teams could only dream of —- victories over Connecticut, Memphis, Syracuse and Villanova. The Hoyas need wins and plenty of them, and they’ve really not shown the proclivity to rise to such a challenge in the last six or seven weeks. Fall to St. John’s, and the NIT ticket is punched.
* Notre Dame vs. Rutgers, 7: The Fighting Irish are in the same boat as Cincinnati and Georgetown —- in need of a win to keep a dim dream alive.
* Cleveland State at Butler, 9: A Bulldogs loss takes a spot away from everyone else. Butler took both regular-season games by two points, so it won’t be easy. Still, it’s clear a lot of midpack power conference teams would be pleased if the Butler did it again in the Horizon League title game.
* Seton Hall vs. South Florida, 9:30: Just kidding. But for a Maryland tie-in, the Terps heavily recruited Herb Pope (now sitting out a year at Seton Hall after transferring from New Mexico State) and had Gus Gilchrist (now playing at South Florida) in the program last year. That said, you’d have to be nuts to pay to watch this meaningless game.
—- Patrick Stevens