This week in the Big Five, we've got three of the four teams at 3-1 playing the three teams that are 2-2. Quite the nice set up, really. Apologies have to be issued to Providence, the fourth 3-1 team. The Friars are only playing 0-4 Creighton this week, so they get left out of the three men's games. Over on the women's side, the schedule broke nicely in our favor as well, as did the American Athletic Conference schedule to give us a completely atrocious game coming up on Wednesday night.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015: Butler at #21 Seton Hall (6pm Central, Fox Sports 1) - The Pirates continued their impressive season by bouncing back from a road loss to Xavier by going out to Omaha and gutting out a win against Creighton. By the nature of multi-team tiebreakers, Seton Hall finds themselves atop the Big East table as things stand right now, and Kevin Willard would love to keep that momentum going while Isaiah Whitehead is still out with his injury. Meanwhile, over in Indianapolis, the Bulldogs are a slightly surprising 2-2 after stinging St. John's in Carnesecca Arena and taking care of home business against Xavier. A road win over the Pirates would be a significant step forward for a team that was thought to be in turmoil at the start of the season.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015: Georgetown at DePaul (8pm Central, Fox Sports 1) - Ok, we've finally removed the zero from DePaul's loss column in league play, and Villanova did that in a resounding fashion on Saturday. The Blue Demons are undefeated at home in league play, so this should be interesting to see how they respond to the loss. Georgetown got squeaked in overtime against Providence on Saturday because Kris Dunn went supernova on them. DePaul's got guys that can go supernova, too, so the Hoyas are going to have to buckle down to make sure they leave the Allstate Arena with a win.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015: Xavier at #5 Villanova (8pm Central, Fox Sports 1) - After suffering their first loss of the season to Seton Hall back on January 3rd, Villanova has been squishing people. First an 18 point win over St. John's, then a 17 point win over DePaul. Now, I'm not going to pick "Nova by 15+" in this game, but I think it's worth noting that KenPom does have the Wildcats favored by 11, and a 10+ point margin is a big margin for that algorithm. Not working in the Musketeers favor here is that the game will be in The Pavilion. Xavier's won their two home games in league play, getting wins over Georgetown and Seton Hall, but they've lost both of their road games, which were trips to DePaul and Butler.
The Big East Women's Basketball Game of the Week
Friday, January 16, 2015: DePaul at St. John's (10:30am Central, Big East Digital Network) - This was a coin toss this week, as the 4-1 Blue Demons are visiting two of the other three 4-1 teams this weekend. Sorry, Seton Hall, but this game's on the BEDN, and your game isn't. St. John's took what can only be called an annoying loss to Butler over the weekend to keep them from getting back into the top 25, while DePaul responded to an OT loss to Villanova where they lost Megan Rogowski for the season by obliterating Georgetown, Marquette, and Xavier in their next three games. The Blue Demons broke the 100 point barrier for the third and fourth times this season against the Hoyas and Golden Eagles respectively.
The Worst American Athletic Conference Game of the Week
Wednesday, January 14, 2015: Houston at East Carolina (6pm, ESPNU) - Really, I could just make any ECU home game the worst AAC game of that given week, because their gym is a joke. I say all kinds of bad things about the Allstate Arena because it's a dump, but East Carolina is playing Division 1 college basketball in an 8,000 seat glorified high school gymnasium. And yes, I'm still annoyed that their all time record crowd was for their win over Marquette in 2002-03.
While I could just be mean to their building, this is a game between the two AAC teams that are winless through a combined seven games. I'm kind of hoping that ECU wins, because 0-5 Houston is funnier than 0-4 East Carolina. Fun Fact: as of Monday afternoon, the AAC had a worse conference rating on KenPom than both the Atlantic 10 and the WCC.