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Big East Tournament seeding update: Johnnies locked into last two spots

A look at the tie-breakers involved in St. John’s position in next week’s tournament.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at DePaul Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

How far can the St. John’s move in the Big East standings in the last week? Who will they play in the Big East Tournament next week (March 7-10)?

We know that the Red Storm will play on the first day of the Big East Tournament, where the 1-5 seeds all get a bye to the second day of the tournament. Last night’s win brought the Johnnies back into a tie with DePaul in last place.

St. John’s takes on Providence on the road on Saturday, while DePaul hosts league-leading Xavier. The Musketeers have a game up on Villanova.

The first tie-breaker in the Big East is regular season win-loss results (margin of victory not factored in). By that measure, St. John’s and DePaul would be tied if they end the season with the same conference record.

The second tie-breaker is the two teams’ record against the team at the top of the conference — or teams. In this case, if Xavier wins the Big East regular season championship outright, the records of DePaul vs. Xavier and St. John’s vs Xavier would be taken into account. If those records are the same, then the records against the next team down (Villanova) are compared.

Right now, this leaves St. John’s in the 9th spot.

  • If St. John’s knocks off Providence and DePaul loses to Xavier, tie-breakers won’t be needed; St. John’s is in the 8/9 game against Georgetown.
  • If St. John’s loses at Providence but DePaul wins over Xavier, St. John’s is in the 7/10 game — against Marquette if the Golden Eagles lose to Creighton; against Marquette if Marquette wins and Butler loses to Seton Hall; and against Seton Hall if Marquette wins and Seton Hall loses to Butler.
  • If St. John’s has the same record as DePaul and both teams lose, St. John’s has the better win over a team in high standing — the victory over Villanova.
  • If both teams win, St. John’s should still be in 9th place, depending on the interpretation of the rules, which state:

Each team’s record vs. the team or group of tied teams occupying the highest position in the standings. If an advantage is not determined, proceed to the next team or group of tied teams in the standings for comparison. Continue down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.

Xavier, with a loss, should be grouped with Villanova. Both St. John’s and DePaul would have 1 win vs that “group”.

The next team down would be Creighton (or Creighton & Butler, depending on results); both teams lost twice to Creighton.

After that would be Seton Hall/ Butler winner. Both teams lost twice to Seton Hall, but St. John’s now holds a win over Butler, which should secure a spot above DePaul.

The 8/9 game is at 7 PM next Wednesday, March 7th; but the winner would play in the noon game the next day against the #1 seed.

The 7/10 game is at 9:30 PM on March 7th, and the winner plays at 7PM on March 8th against the #2 seed, likely Villanova. If St. John’s wanted that outcome, they need DePaul to win. A St. John’s win or loss alone has no meaning to seeding.

By the way: if Xavier loses to DePaul and Villanova wins against Georgetown, the two teams are tied in the standings. For tie-breaker purposes, Villanova wins the #1 seed, by dint of their season sweep of Xavier.

[Full tie-breakers here]