April 16, 2014
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NEW YORK – Now that two-thirds of the BIG EAST conference schedule is complete, the picture is beginning to get clearer for the BIG EAST Tournament, set for May 1 and 3 at Villanova Stadium. Tickets for the four-team playoff are on sale here.
Two teams have officially clinched their berths for the field. Denver did so with a 16-9 victory over St. John’s on Saturday afternoon in front of a national television audience on CBS Sports Network.
After reviewing all potential tiebreakers, it’s been determined that Villanova has clinched a berth as well. The Wildcats built a big lead at Rutgers Saturday night, one that was too large for the Scarlet Knights to overcome despite a game-ending 7-2 run, and posted a 15-11 victory.
No midweek games are scheduled, so all eyes turn to the weekend. Saturday’s slate begins with Denver visiting Providence at noon, with the Pios, who are 4-0 in the BIG EAST, looking to strengthen their positioning for the top seed. A win over the Friars plus a Marquette loss to Georgetown would assure Denver of the No. 1 seed. The Hoyas visit the Golden Eagles at 3 p.m. ET, with the latter on the doorstep of the BIG EAST Tournament in their first season competing in the conference.
The third conference game of the day features Villanova traveling to St. John’s at 1 p.m. After starting 2-0 in the BIG EAST, the Red Storm have dropped three straight and have an excessively slim margin for error.
In non-conference play this weekend, Rutgers visits No. 2/2 Duke Saturday at 1 p.m.
BIG EAST Notebook
MOVIN’ ON UP AGAIN
Thanks to a seventh straight victory on Saturday plus losses by other teams previously in the top five rankings nationally, Denver moved up two positions in both major polls Monday. The 10-2 Pios are ranked third in both the USILA Coaches Poll and the Warrior Inside Lacrosse media voting. Villanova received votes in the coaches poll but sits outside the top 20.
DENVER, VILLANOVA ARE IN … MARQUETTE NEXT?
The BIG EAST Men’s Lacrosse Tournament will take place at Villanova, and half the field was determined this weekend. Denver’s path to clinching a bid was pretty clear. It needed a victory over St. John’s and that’s what it got with a 16-9 final at home on CBS Sports Network. Villanova’s 15-11 win at Rutgers Saturday evening coupled with the other events of the day officially put the Wildcats into the tournament following a review of all the potential tiebreaking scenarios. Marquette, at 3-1 in the BIG EAST, has the inside track on one of the two remaining bids and would wrap it up with a victory over Georgetown Saturday. The Golden Eagles could also have their berth wrapped up even before the opening face-off of their game. A Villanova win over St. John’s earlier in the afternoon would also assure Marquette a tourney berth.
PIOS EYE NO. 1 SEED
A week after wrapping up a berth to its first BIG EAST Tournament, Denver has a chance to secure the playoff’s top seed on Saturday. Denver needs a win in its visit to Providence plus a Georgetown victory over Marquette to seal the top seed.
GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
Tickets for the BIG EAST Men’s Lacrosse Tournament are currently on sale through Villanova. Fans can head here to purchase. Game times are 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. for the semifinals on Thursday, May 1, while the Saturday, May 3 championship game will take place at 4:30 p.m.
BIG OPPORTUNITY FOR RUTGERS
Rutgers is the BIG EAST team with the bye from conference play this weekend. But that doesn’t mean the Scarlet Knights don’t have a big game. They head down to Durham, N.C., for a 1 p.m. matchup with Duke on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Devils are No. 2 in both major polls this week and are coming off a 17-15 win over then- No. 8/10 Virginia.
LoCASCIO A CLASSY FINALIST
Villanova’s John LoCascio is one of 10 national finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. Voting is currently open to the public for the Senior CLASS Award and accounts for one-third of the total ballots. The remaining two-thirds come from coaches and media members. To vote once a day for up to three student-athletes for the award, click here.
PIOS CITED AS FAVORITES
Entering its first season in the BIG EAST, Denver was tabbed the preseason favorite in January in voting conducted by the league's seven head coaches. With two appearances in the national semifinals in the last three seasons, the Pioneers topped the poll with 36 points and six first-place votes. St. John's was next with 31 points and the last first-plate ballot. The rest of the poll was filled out by Villanova (25 points), Georgetown (22), Providence (12), Rutgers (12) and Marquette (9).
ALL EYES NEAR PHILLY
Villanova University will host the 2014 BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Tournament on Thursday/Saturday, May 1/3 from Villanova Stadium. The top four teams in the regular-season standings will advance to the tournament, with the semifinals playing out Thursday. The two advancing teams will meet on Saturday with the conference title and automatic NCAA Tournament berth on the line. FOX Sports 1 will televise the championship game at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Saturday, April 19
No. 3/3 Denver at Providence *, Noon ET
Villanova at St. John’s *, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
Rutgers at No. 2/2 Duke, 1 p.m. ET
Georgetown at Marquette, 3 p.m. ET
Wednesday, April 23
Villanova at No. 6/5 Johns Hopkins, 7 p.m. ET