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Daily Times assistant sports editor Terry Toohey covers the college sports beat like no other reporter. Catch his latest updates here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Race for Big East double bye will be interesting

The Big East is more than halfway through its 18-game schedule and one thing is abundantly clear: The race for the double bye in the Big East Tournament will be interesting.
Going into tonight's action, second place and 11th place are separated by two losses. The race is so tight that one loss can cost a team three or four spots in the league standings.
The battle for those top four spots, and the double bye that goes with it, will go down to the wire.
Villanova has its work cut out. The ninth-ranked Wildcats play five of their last eight games on the road including season-ending trips to Notre Dame and Syracuse, which occupy the top two spots in the conference. The Irish are 14-0 at home. The Panthers are 14-1 at the Petersen Events Center.
So what will it take for Villanova to earn one of the four double byes? Five wins. If the Wildcats can go 5-3 in their last eight games, that would give them a 12-6 record in the league and be good enough for a double bye.
Five wins is doable. If the Wildcats can beat Rutgers, Seton Hall and DePaul, all on the road, they would only have to win one of the four remaining games with Pitt (twice), Syracuse and St. John's. But winning on the road in the Big East is never easy. The RAC at Rutgers is one of the toughest places to play and Mike Rice has the Scarlet Knights playing better. Seton Hall gives Villanova trouble in North Jersey.
But if the Wildcats can get five more wins, that should be good enough for a double bye.


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