Villanova smoked Providence on Tuesday night, 89-61, putting the Wildcats even more firmly in the driver's seat for the regular season title. The Providence loss also put your fighting Georgetown Hoyas in sole possession of 2nd place heading into their last three games of the season (Butler promptly tied them on Wednesday night, but the Hoyas currently own the tiebreaker against the Bulldogs) and set up a sprint to the finish for the 2-seed at Madison Square Garden next month.
Four teams still have a shot at that #2 spot, though only two of the four control their own destiny. Here's a look at the remaining games for all four and the likely outcomes according to KenPom.
The Hoyas control their own destiny in the race for second place. They have three remaining games, all against opponents they've beaten this season. Two of the games are on the road and the final one is at home. If they win all three, they finish in second place. It's that simple:
Of course, they still have to win at the Garden (where St. John's has been much better) and at Hinkle against a very good Butler team (that has also been very good at home). Based on these numbers, KenPom projects the likelihood of the Hoyas winning out at around 14% (based on the projected outcomes of each individual games, so not perfect, but you get the idea). That's low, but each of those games is winnable in a vacuum and the Hoyas can certainly do it. There is also a path to 2nd place if the Hoyas drop a game, but winning all three gets them there most easily and the other scenarios depend on which game the Hoyas drop.
Butler is the other team that controls their own destiny. Butler took care of Marquette at home on Wednesday and if they win out, 2nd place is theirs (via beating two of the other four teams in position):
Their chances of running the table are slightly better than the Hoyas', checking in at 21%, but of course the Hoyas can change all that by taking care of the Bulldogs in their head-to-head matchup (and would then own any tiebreaker with Butler).
The Friars do not control their own destiny after their loss against Villanova. KenPom has them projected to win two of their three remaining games and the third is a projected toss-up against a swooning Seton Hall team The Friars actually have the easiest path to winning out according to KenPom (24%), but they can win all three and they still need help from the Hoyas to move up to the two seed.
The Hoyas would have to drop one of their remaining games for Providence to catch them, but if they end up tied, the Friars own the tiebreaker (sob).
The Johnnies can technically still grab the #2 seed in the conference, but their path to winning out is the most difficult and they need some help.
They need to win out (4% according to KenPom), they need the Hoyas to beat Butler but lose their other two games, they need Butler to lose all three of their remaining games, and they need Providence to beat Butler, but lose their other two games. This would leave Georgetown, St. John's, and Providence tied, but St. John's would own the tiebreaker against both teams (3-1 combined record against the other two) and Providence would finish with the #3-seed (2-2 combined against the Hoyas and St. John's; Hoyas would be 1-3 in this head-to-head-to-head). If Butler wins any of their remaining games, St. John's can tie them, but Butler owns the tiebreaker and would have the #2 seed. If only the Johnnies and the Hoyas finish tied, St. John's would own the tiebreaker.
The other scenarios all get a little murky depending on which games teams win and lose and therefore which tiebreakers come into play and teams own them. (If you're interested, the Big East tiebreaker rules are here.) Bottom line: the Hoyas win out and they are the #2-seed in the conference and won't see Villanova until Saturday night (#3-seed obviously has the same advantage).
CORRECTION: Earlier version had a couple of the St. John's scenarios wrong. Thanks to TBird41 for the correction.