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Big East Big Five: Week 11

Some pretty nice games on the schedule, including a brief foray into non-conference action.

Jahlil Okafor is excited about being included in the Big Five this week.
Jahlil Okafor is excited about being included in the Big Five this week.
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Big East Big Five JPEG

Monday, January 19, 2015: #4 Villanova at Georgetown (8pm Central, Fox Sports 1) - It's hard to beat the first place team against one of the three teams just half a game back of them in second place as one of the most important games of the week.  Since losing at Seton Hall, the Wildcats have fired back with three straight conference wins and a demolition of Penn this past weekend.  The Hoyas, on the other hand, have had a pattern of lose, win two, lose, win two thus fan in Big East games.  According to the pattern, they're due for a loss here, but a win would be huge for their season.

Thursday, January 22, 2015: DePaul at #24 Seton Hall (6pm Central, Fox Sports 1) - I'll be honest, I put this in the list BEFORE DePaul rallied back to beat St. John's in overtime yesterday.  Now, it's an even better game.  The Blue Demons (4-2) are currently sitting half a game in front of the Pirates (3-2) after yesterday's win.  Seton Hall has lost two of three now after opening 12-2, including their first home loss of the season back on Tuesday against Butler.  SHU needs to get some momentum again, and punting DePaul in the face right here would be a great way to take that first step back to a winning streak.

Sunday, January 25, 2015: #5 Duke at St. John's (1pm Central, Fox) - Hey, look, kids!  It's a non-conference game outta nowhere!  The Red Storm is reeling at 1-4 in Big East action after getting off to a great start of 11-1 with only a loss to Gonzaga on their record.  Now they can't seem to be able to buy a win, unless your name is Providence, and then they beat you relatively easily.  SJU will have to deal with Marquette on Wednesday before they get to this one.  Duke's got their own issues this season, too.  They were undefeated for the first 14 games of the season, but then got popped in consecutive games by North Carolina State and Miami (FL).  They got the ship righted against Louisville the last time out and will tangle with Pittsburgh tonight before prepping for the Johnnies.

The Big East Women's Basketball Game of the Week

Friday, January 23, 2015: Seton Hall at Villanova (6pm Central, Fox Sports 1) - As was the case with Villanova-Georgetown on the men's side, the right place to start on picking the best game is asking "what's the first place team up to this week?"  Here, the Pirates open their weekend of two road games with a trip to Pennsylvania.  The Wildcats have won seven of eight since getting the lineup they actually want to play on the court with only a loss at a surprising Butler team marring their record over that stretch.  The Pirates have won four straight since suffering their first conference loss at St. John's on January 2nd.

The Worst American Athletic Conference Game of the Week

Saturday, January 24, 2015: Houston at SMU (5pm Central, CBS Sports Network) - Sometimes things don't work out in your favor.  This week in the AAC is one of those times.  With the way the schedule shakes out and the way the current standings look, essentially what's happening this week is that the top half of the AAC is playing teams in the bottom half of the league.  This leads to a lot of games that aren't obviously the worst game on the schedule.  So, we have to find a way to figure this out, right?  I turned to the KenPom.com prediction model.  There is a 97% chance that the Mustangs beat the Cougars here, the highest percent chance of any AAC game this week.  Don't bother watching, y'all.