Figuring out Big East scenarios for Marquette

As always, these tiebreakers are simply for seeding in the Big East Tournament. If eight teams somehow finished tied for the best record in the conference, those eight teams would share the regular season championship.

First things first, Marquette holds head-to-head tiebreakers over Syracuse, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh. They lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with Louisville, and its 1-1 record against Georgetown would require a further tiebreaker to determine seeding, but Georgetown wins out on any other tiebreaker unless Pittsburgh is involved.

Simply put, Marquette loses tiebreakers with the two teams ahead of them and wins them with all teams below them (who are still in contention).

These head-to-head tiebreakers only will come into play if Marquette is tied with one of these teams. Once three or more teams are tied, these head-to-head standings, while used, aren’t the end-all, be-all.

Six teams remain in the hunt for a Big East title or can tie Marquette. Here are the current standings and each team’s remaining schedule:

1. Georgetown (13-3): at Villanova, vs. Syracuse
2. Louisville (12-4): vs. Cincinnati, vs. Notre Dame
3. Marquette (12-4): at Rutgers, at St. John’s
4. Notre Dame (10-6): vs. St. John’s, at Louisville
5. Pittsburgh (10-6): vs. Villanova, at DePaul
6. Syracuse (10-6): vs. DePaul, at Georgetown

Because they hold those tiebreakers with the three teams below them, Marquette already has guaranteed itself a top-3 spot in the Big East Tournament. And because they lose tiebreakers to the two teams ahead of them, they can only receive the No. 1 seed in the Tournament if they win the Big East outright. Let’s look at Big East tiebreakers involving more than two teams.

FIRST: If Georgetown, Louisville and Marquette finish at 14-4 or 13-5, all tied for first place, they would form a mini-conference and form Big East Tournament seedings based on those head-to-head matchups.

1. Georgetown: 2-1 (W’s: Marquette, Louisville; L’s: Marquette)
2. Louisville: 1-1 (W’s: Marquette; L’s: Georgetown)
3. Marquette: 1-2 (W’s: Georgetown; L’s: Georgetown, Louisville)

SECOND: If Marquette loses at both Rutgers and St. John’s to finish 12-6, there are a number of scenarios where Marquette would finish third.

For these scenarios I’ll assume Louisville is not going to drop both home games against Cincinnati and Notre Dame.

Again, in this scenario Marquette wins head-to-head matchups against the three teams below them. But three or more teams involved? Here we go:

3. Marquette: 4-0 (W’s: Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Syracuse)
4. Syracuse: 1-2 (W’s: Notre Dame; L’s: Marquette, Notre Dame)
5. Notre Dame: 1-2 (W’s: Pittsburgh; L’s: Marquette, Syracuse)
6. Pittsburgh: 1-3 (W’s: Syracuse; L’s: Marquette, Marquette, Notre Dame)

THIRD: If Marquette goes 12-6 and Syracuse and Notre Dame also tie at that record, here’s how the standings shake out:

3. Marquette: 2-0 (W’s: Syracuse, Notre Dame)
4. Syracuse: 1-1 (W’s: Notre Dame; L’s: Marquette)
5. Notre Dame: 0-2 (L’s: Marquette, Syracuse)

FOURTH: If Marquette, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh all finish tied for third, here’s how the standings shake out:

3. Marquette: 3-0 (W’s: Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame)
4. Notre Dame: 1-1 (W’s: Pittsburgh; L’s: Marquette)
5. Pittsburgh: 0-3 (L’s: Notre Dame, Marquette, Marquette)

FIFTH: If Marquette, Syracuse and Pittsburgh all finish tied for third at 12-6, here’s how everything shakes out:

3. Marquette: 3-0 (W’s: Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh)
4. Pittsburgh: 1-2 (W’s: Syracuse; L’s: Marquette, Marquette)
5. Syracuse: 0-2 (L’s: Marquette, Pittsburgh)

SIXTH: The last scenario involves Notre Dame, Marquette and a Louisville that loses both games as well. It would actually move the Irish into the No. 2 slot if all three teams finish 12-6, but not affect Marquette.

2. Notre Dame: 2-1 (W’s: Louisville, Louisville; L’s: Marquette)
3. Marquette: 1-1 (W’s: Notre Dame; L’s: Louisville)
4. Louisville: 1-2 (W’s: Marquette; L’s: Notre Dame, Notre Dame)

Marquette is locked into a top-3 spot in the Big East standings, and almost assuredly will finish third when the tiebreakers get sorted out. The only way they finish first is if Georgetown loses both games, Louisville loses one or both and Marquette wins both.

Marquette loses all tiebreakers against Georgetown and Louisville for the top spot, meaning if the Golden Eagles do “tie” for first place they could be slotted in the No. 2 spot, but looking at the scenarios a No. 3 seed is easily the most likely scenario for the Golden Eagles. Yet, again, tying for first is considered winning a share of the Big East title, so there’s that.

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