We had 3 non-conference games in the Big Five last week, and the Big East went 2-1. The only loss was Louisville dropping a game in Rupp Arena to Kentucky, which isn't that big of a deal. The other two were Rutgers(!) holding serve on their home court against at the time #10 Florida and Cincinnati staying unbeaten without Yancy Gates in the lineup against Oklahoma.
Like I said last week, since Big East play cuts down the number of possible contests, we'll include Marquette's games as possibilities. I don't think it even remotely qualifies as bias to say that Marquette traveling to Georgetown and Syracuse are two of the best or most interesting games of the week, so we'll kick in the door on that barrier pretty quick here.
Let's go to the games!
Wednesday, January 4: Notre Dame at Cincinnati (6pm Central, ESPN3) - Let's be honest, we're all surprised that both of these teams beat Pitt last week. Also surprising is that Cincinnati ran the table during Yancy Gates' 6 game suspension. Gates will return to eligibility for this one, so we'll see how that affects the Bearcats. On the other side of the court, we'll try to figure out if the Notre Dame-Pitt result says more about where Pitt is going or where ND is going.
Wednesday, January 4: #20/#20 Marquette at #9/#9 Georgetown (6pm, ESPNU) - Ain't no party like a Jesuit basketball party, cuz a Jesuit basketball party don't stop. It's going to be a tough contest for the Golden Eagles, but if it can stay close, perhaps we can take advantage of Georgetown's obviously lackluster home court advantage.
Thursday, January 5: Pittsburgh at DePaul (6pm, ESPN2) - Let's see if Jamie Dixon can pry his hands from off his own neck while visiting the dump that is the Allstate Arena. Can you believe that this thing has been ticketed for broadcast all along? Heck, I'm just proud I figured out a way to wedge DePaul into this feature.
Thursday, January 5: South Florida at Villanova (7pm, ESPN3) - Nova's started out 0-2 in the Big East with 2 road losses. This one's going to be played in Villanova's on campus band box of an arena, so perhaps they can get recharged. If not, I'm guessing a South Florida team that gave UConn fits before knocking Rutgers back to reality will be happy to pounce.
Saturday, January 7: #20/#20 Marquette at #1/#1 Syracuse (3pm, ESPN3) - While Syracuse was the last Big East team that Marquette earned a win against, the Golden Eagles still haven't won in the Carrier Dome since joining the Big East. It'd be a hell of a thing to change that, especially since Syracuse didn't take kindly to getting knocked out of the NCAA Tournament last year. Boy, remember that? That was awesome. Sure would be nice to take Syracuse's #1 ranking away from them on this go-round.