Turns out, the Big East tournament will have plenty riding on it aside from the obvious and awkward breakup-as-a-backdrop.
That's because Louisville, a No. 1 seed in Jerry Palm's bracket entering Saturday, will remain there when Palm next updates the grid, meaning Rick Pitino's program will start the final as-we-know-it Big East tournament with its destiny in its hands. That's because Louisville took care of business in fine fashion, beating Notre Dame (in Louisville) 73-57 on Saturday night.
It was redemption for the five-overtime epic the two teams played exactly a month ago, a 104-101 Notre Dame win in South Bend. Good for Louisville, which is riding a seven-game winning streak, having not lost since the Irish took them out in that classic.
And what of Georgetown, No. 2 in the South as of Saturday night in Palm's bracket? It was on a top line until its fall at Villanova earlier this week. We detailed plenty from the Hoyas' last regular-season game against arch rival Syracuse, which saw Georgetown leave the Verizon Center a 61-39 victor Saturday. It was the lowest point total for the Orange in 51 years, meaning the worst offensive output for SU in the Jim Boeheim era.
These are well-placed and well-timed wins. Georgetown and Louisville end the season 14-4 in the Big East, sharing the league crown with Marquette.
The wins catapult Louisville and Georgetown into Manhattan with something coveted on the line: a No. 1 seed. The last go-round of the traditional Big East will offer up a lot of reasons to lament, be wistful, be cynical, anything like that. But we'll also almost definitely get a few more good/memorable moments -- and I like the fact there are two heavyweights who will be on opposite sides of the bracket, giving more meaning to big-conference league tournaments.
You can say a No. 1 seed doesn't mean much, especially in a year like this, but it certainly is a massive carrot that dangles for any team within reach of a bite.
And that's how its been for most of the Big East's existence. By the time teams assemble on the big-and-skinny island, in the heart of it, where 31st and 33rd straight lock with Seventh and Eighth Avenue, a No. 1 seed is either on the line or sewn up. Fitting that things have wound up this way again.
There is no guarantee either team will earn a spot on the top line, but at worst both have cases to end the season, and in a year like this, that's as good as any team or conference could ask for.
For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, like us on Facebook and subscribe to the thrice-a-week podcast on iTunes. You can follow Matt Norlander on Twitter here: @MattNorlander.