Fasten all seatbelts, seal all entrances and exits, close all shops in the mall, cancel the three-ring circus and secure all animals in the zoo...after the last couple days the Big East is flying at ludicrous speed towards The WTF Zone.
Up until this weekend, we were all pretty sure what was happening here. Georgetown and West Virginia would continue their firm grasp on the Top Ten, Syracuse and Villanova were on course to meet as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation in a couple weeks and everyone else would lay down for The Quartet of Doom.
All of a sudden the Big East has turned into a summer blockbuster movie poster. Everything we though we knew was wrong. In March 2010, prepare for...MADNESS.
I liken it to that thing that happens halfway through every college football season. We're 6-7 games in and there's still a around ten undefeated teams that, in theory, could run the table. All the talking heads start talking about what we're going to do when all ten of these teams finish the season undefeated. How will we sort them out? How can we possibly figure this out? Everyone stops to think about the most obvious truth...that most, if not all of these teams, are going to lose eventually. Even the ones that look really, really good and it seems like there's just no way anyone will stop them. Eventually, they lose. And in most cases, we're left with 1-3 undefeated teams to choose from.
For Syracuse fans, the weekend loss was especially disconcerting. Whether we care to admit it or not, we've been on auto-pilot for a little. We've been so focused on SU-Nova on Feb. 27th that we forgot how far away that is. And we glanced the other way at some of the deficiencies this team has displayed lately. Granted, they've won some games other SU teams wouldn't have and they've strung together an impressive run in the Big East so it's nothing to freak out over. But all of a sudden...that Villanova game seems like an eon away.
Out of nowhere, this
Wednesday's Thursday's game against Georgetown is the most important game of the season. For both teams, probably. If Georgetown loses, that's four out of their last seven games. The Hoyas have been inconsistent for a while now and this would just solidify their place on the 2nd tier. If Syracuse loses, then the entire Cuse Nation goes into panic mode for the first two-game losing streak of the year. Chaos might just ensue.
Chances are, SU vs. Nova will still be the Game of the Year we're all assuming it would be. But it probably won't be between two teams ranked in the top three like we just assumed. Nova will have to win on Sunday at Pittsburgh if they want to make short-sighted voters forget the UConn loss (always, always, always lose on a Monday). If they lose that game, we could see the Cats tumble to the edge of the Top Ten. And then they get frisky South Florida who would love to keep knocking off Big East heavyweights. The Orange have the critical Georgetown game and then a very dangerous road game at Providence.
To assume that both VU and SU will win all four of those games would be fallacy. We can expect it, but we shouldn't assume it. You could probably say the same about every game in the Big East from here on out.
Hell, even St. John's is winning notable Big East games these days. SOMETHING has to be going on.