There's only one must-watch game tonight, but it's a big one:
Villanova at Notre Dame
In case anyone was wondering, the answer is "no" - neither of us graduated from Notre Dame, nor are we on the university's payroll or in any way related to Mike Brey. We still have the Irish in our bracket for no reason other than the fact that we think they have a great chance of winning their next four games and beating out the rest of the Big East bubble teams for an at-large. We think that a lot of people - especially those who subscribe to the "season ending today" method of bracketology - are being a little short-sided when evaluating the Irish's chances. We know that their 7-9 conference record does not look very good right now compared to Providence's 10-7 mark, but if you project ahead a bit, ND's case for a bid becomes more and more plausible. First and foremost, the Irish have to win this game and then win at home against St. John's in their season finale. That would get them to 9-9 in conference and give them four Top 50 wins. If Providence does what we think they will and loses at Villanova on Thursday, they'll finish just a game better than ND. The Friars would have just two Top 50 wins, and would be just two weeks removed from getting destroyed by ND at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. ND would have beaten a 2 seed (Louisville) and a 3 seed (Villanova) in conference, while Providence would have beaten a 1 (Pitt) and a 7 (Syracuse). ND would also have the best OOC win between the two (Texas vs. Rhode Island). If ND were to win their first Big East tourney game (against an easy team) and then their second game (against a fellow yet-to-be-determined bubble boy or maybe a team already in) they would add another Top 50 win to their resume and earn a bid. There may be a scenario down the road in which both ND and Providence get in, especially if both make nice runs at the Garden. Cincinnati and Georgetown are lurking in the at-large picture as well. But right now, if we are going under the premise that the Big East ends up with eight bids, we like the Irish to be that eighth team.
Also receiving votes: Baylor at Texas, Davidson at Elon