Tuesday Extra: Looking Ahead to First Big East Men's Tournament
Villanova's media relations staff treated Saturday's 10-7 loss to Notre Dame as a dry run for the inaugural Big East Tournament, hosted by Villanova May 3-5. The postgame press conference ran smoothly and everything went off without a hitch.
While Saturday's postgame should give Villanova plenty of optimism for the tournament, the actual game result certainly did not. The victory gave Notre Dame (10-1, 5-0 Big East) the No. 1 seed and a first round match against fourth-seeded St. John's (7-5, 3-3). Second-seeded Villanova (8-5, 4-1) draws third-seeded Syracuse (7-6, 3-2).
There is a chance that Syracuse, St. John's and Georgetown all finish at 3-3 in conference after this upcoming weekend, when Syracuse plays Notre Dame. If that is the case, Syracuse earns the No. 3 seed based on goal differential. St. John's edges Georgetown for the last spot, because of its 13-12 overtime victory over the Hoyas on April 7.
St. John's faces an uphill battle against Notre Dame's top-ranked defense. After Saturday's game, Villanova's leading scorer Jack Rice laid out some advice for getting past the Irish defense. The Wildcats scored four times in the first quarter Saturday, a stretch that Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan told Notre Dame's website was 'about as poorly as we've played all year,' before Notre Dame rallied back.
"You just have to be patient and make sure you don't have any dumb turnovers," Rice said. "Make sure you don't force the ball. That's what they're trying to do and that's sort of what we starting leaning to after those four quick goals we scored."