It was quite the Thanksgiving weekend for the Big East, as I think it's safe to say that every team managed to come out with a bit of a shine to them. Even Butler, Marquette, and DePaul, regarded as the three programs most likely to struggle, had great weekends, including the Bulldogs boosting themselves in to the top 25 of the Associated Press poll.
With the end of the holiday tournaments, you could expect that things might trail off a bit this week. While there isn't a heavy dose of great games, it was still easy to come up with five games to feature as we head into a new week of the season.
Last Week: 4-1
Wednesday, December 3, 2014: #23 Butler at Indiana State (6pm Central, hope you live in Indiana) - I suppose I could have picked the Bulldogs' Saturday game against Northwestern for this one, particularly because it's on FOX. But they're playing this one first, and Butler's coming off a weekend in the Bahamas where they came up with wins against North Carolina and conference mate Georgetown. Yeah, there was a loss to a pretty good Oklahoma team mixed in there, too, but Roosevelt Jones and his teammates still have to prove that they can be a good basketball team on their native soil. That path starts here.
Saturday, December 6, 2014: Marquette vs #2 Wisconsin (11:30am Central, CBS) - I mean, duh. I don't have to explain this, right?
Saturday, December 6, 2014: St. John's at Syracuse (4:15pm Central, ESPN2) - I like that the Orange are keeping the old Big East rivalries alive. Of course, it's also funny that they're 1) playing another New York school and 2) playing them at home. This gives us the opportunity to annoy everyone over at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician by repeating the meme of "Boeheim never leaves the state until after the first of the year." The Red Storm have had a nice start to their season, even with a tight loss to a good Gonzaga team. This will be their first non-home game of the year, because even their tournament event was at Madison Square Garden.
Saturday, December 6, 2014: Xavier vs Alabama (7pm Central, CBS Sports Network) - I was slightly surprised to find out that Alabama was ranked #61 in KenPom at the moment. They don't have anything super terrific on their resume so far this season, other than maybe a win over future MU opponent Arizona State. They project as a 9-9 team in the SEC, so that qualifies as a quality win for the Musketeers. Xavier's reeling a little bit after taking two losses in the Wooden Legacy tournament over the weekend, and this will be a their first chance to work out some of their frustrations.
Sunday, December 7, 2014: Creighton at Nebraska (6pm Central, Big Ten Network) - Ah, the yearly day of panic amongst Jayskers. It's an interesting counterpoint to Saturday's game between Marquette and Wisconsin. It's a strong mantra around these parts that we'd rather be dead than red, but for some reason, that slogan doesn't gain traction with a heavy section of Creighton fans. Very weird. I imagine that there's some Creighton hardliners out there who have gotten very good at responding "YES" when presented with the question "Well, what am I supposed to do, NOT cheer for Nebraska football?" As for the actual basketball game, Nebraska is ascendant under Tim Miles, even if they did lose big to the Jays last year. Meanwhile, in Omaha, it turns out that Greg McDermott might be good at coaching basketball without his kid on the team.