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Big East Big Five: Opening Weekend Edition


According to the caption attached to this picture, this is the Western Michigan mascot. Presumably the horse, not the rider.
According to the caption attached to this picture, this is the Western Michigan mascot. Presumably the horse, not the rider.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

It's time for our old favorite, the Big East Big Five!

We're going to give you the five best games that involve a Big East team every single week of the season.  Just because this "week" consists of just three days doesn't mean we're going to slack off and not give you a Big Five!  Plus: With the Gavitt Games kicking off next week, we're loaded up with marquee matchups next week so doing a 10 day Big Five would just be silly.

Let's get to it!

Big East Big Five JPEG

Friday, November 13, 2015: Belmont at Marquette (8pm Central, Fox Sports Net affiliates) - Can you do better than a game that could swing at least one NCAA tournament bid on the opening day of the season?  If Belmont wins, this game could turn into their insurance policy against getting upset in the Ohio Valley tournament in March, and if things work out that way, some poor bubble team is getting shoved off the table.  Meanwhile, Marquette needs the win to counterbalance the dumpster fire that is the buy game section of their schedule in order to aim themselves towards the NCAA tournament.  Added bonus: Henry Ellenson makes his collegiate debut.

Friday, November 13, 2015: Miami (OH) at Xavier (8pm Central, Fox Sports 2) - Ok, I really don't have a reason to put this game on here.  Here's some reasons that I'm kind of half-inventing, though.  1) #MACtion 2) The two schools are only 34 miles apart as the crow drives 3) The Red Hawks are a top 175 team in KenPom's preseason rankings, so that's never a bad thing when it comes to the ol' non-conference scheduling.

Saturday, November 14, 2015: Harvard at Providence (7pm Central, Fox Sports Net affiliates) - The Crimson are on a four year NCAA tournament appearance streak, so they're no joke.  Plus: this will be everyone's first look at Kris Dunn this year, as the Friar point guard takes aim at winning national player of the year honors.  This will actually be Harvard's second game of the season as they open with The Cambridge Derby against crosstown rivals MIT.  I think it's delightful that the Crimson play MIT.

Saturday, November 14, 2015: Western Michigan at DePaul (8pm Central, Fox Sports Net affiliates) - The Grover Cleveland of DePaul returns to the sideline in this game as the Second Dave Leitao Era begins.  Let's just hope that Leitao doesn't have to suffer through his very own version of the Panic of 1893.  (Didn't expect history references when you clicked on this article, did you?)  Another #MACtion representative in the Big Five this week, WMU is a top 125 preseason KenPom team, and this game carries the best Thrill Score (the KenPom metric for most watchable) for all of Saturday's contests.

Saturday, November 14, 2015: Texas Southern at Creighton (8:30pm Central, Fox Sports 2) - I spent a lot of time since the Marquette schedule was announced badmouthing the SWAC because MU is playing two SWAC teams.  Generally speaking, when you're constructing a non-conference schedule, you don't want the SWAC on it, and you definitely don't want the SWAC on it twice.  We'll make an exception for the Jays here, as the Tigers have made it to the NCAA tournament each of the last three seasons and even pulled off wins at Michigan State and at Kansas State last season.