It has been an upset-free Big East Tournament, with the lowest tier teams in need of overhaul and the mid tier squads properly sorting themselves out.
Talent shone through last night, but two teams have a chance to take on the rugged top of the league and come away with the kind of wins that helps build the belief that the team is prepared for the NCAA Tournament.
Game 7: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 4 Providence (6:30 p.m., FS1)
Game 8: No. 2 Xavier vs. No. 3 Seton Hall (9 p.m., FS1)
Villanova 81, Georgetown 67 || Villanova sent Georgetown home, tails between their legs, despite the Hoyas grabbing a lead early in the second half - but Daniel Ochefu is still limited. Recap, including the fact that 'Nova's Josh Hart hates New York.
Xavier 90, Marquette 72 || Xavier turned up their levels and blasted Marquette, who had played the Musketeers closely in the previous two meetings. ''I thought our team was a little different than we've been the last couple of weeks defensively, and we've been making a big point of it in practice,'' Xavier coach Chris Mack said. Recap.
Seton Hall 81, Creighton 73 || Cole Huff of Creighton exploded for 35 points, but Maurice Watson Jr. struggled - and Seton Hall got 27 from Khadeen Carrington and 24 from Isaiah Whitehead to ward off the Bluejays in the night game. Whitehead also had 12 rebounds and six assists. Recap.
#1 Villanova Wildcats vs #4 Providence
Providence and Villanova split the season series; though the game in Philadelphia required overtime, and the game in Providence was played without Daniel Ochefu. Ben Bentil scored 31 and 20, respectively, in those two games, while Villanova got their usual effective performance, driving the rim and hitting just enough three-pointers to get by, but taking a lot of attempts.
Providence has gone 9-8 in the calendar year, but have won four straight. They could use another marquee win as a confidence booster going into the NCAA Tournament. Villanova should have a 1 or 2 seed locked up, but winning the Big East solidifies their case for the top line.
KenPom prediction: 73-65 Villanova win, 20% chance of Providence victory.
#2 Xavier Musketeers vs #3 Seton Hall Pirates
Xavier has lost to four teams this season, all in Big East play - and the last one was Seton Hall. With a newfound focus on defense and possibly building the vindictive streak that Xavier teams had in the Atlantic-10, Chris Mack hopes his team can hold down Isaiah Whitehead's dynamic talent on their way to a Big East Championship.
But Seton Hall's talented sophomores would like another sign that they are rising - and a second berth to the at a Big East Championship game in three years would be a sign.
KenPom prediction: 78-75 Xavier win, 40% chance of Seton Hall victory.