In a college basketball season without any one dominant team, two Big East programs, Villanova and Xavier, have been consistently ranked in the top five. They entered the conference tournament ranked second and third in the Associated Press poll, behind No. 1 Virginia. Both could wind up among the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament, putting the conference in a position to claim its second national title in three seasons, after the Wildcats’ buzzer-beating win over North Carolina in 2016. To put that in perspective, the Big East has had two of its members placed on the bracket’s top line in the same year only three times, including in the days of Syracuse, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Louisville: