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Big East Big Five: Week 16

Two weeks left in the regular season for men's hoops, and only 1 week left for the women...

LaDontae Henton and the Friars get a chance to solidify their Top 25 ranking on Tuesday against #6 Villanova.
LaDontae Henton and the Friars get a chance to solidify their Top 25 ranking on Tuesday against #6 Villanova.
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Big East Big Five JPEG

Monday, February 23, 2015: Xavier at St. John's (7pm Central, Fox Sports 1) - This is the first of two games involving the Red Storm this week, as they're the team that's drifting closest to the fringe of the NCAA tournament.  SB Nation's most recent bracketology effort has them two spots in from the First Four in Dayton.  That doesn't take the win on Saturday over Seton Hall into account, but they still need wins to stay alive.  They get two great chances to prove they belong in the field this week, and both games will be in New York, too.  Xavier's not without their issues, too.  They're a natural 11 seed pushed down to a 12 in that bracketology, and only half a game in front of the Johnnies in the Big East standings at 8-7.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015: #25 Providence at #6 Villanova (6pm Central, Fox Sports 1) - There's not a lot at stake in this game other than pride and potential Big East tournament seeding, and that second thing is only on the line for the Friars.  PC is part of a three team pack that's three losses back of the Wildcats in the standings, so Villanova is very much in control and a loss here wouldn't hurt them all that much.  Of course, there is an outside chance at a one seed for VU, so they'd love to snag that.  Providence needs to find some separation in the Big East standings to get themselves an advantageous situation as they look to win a second straight Big East tournament, and you know that they're not going to want to drop back out of the Associated Press Top 25 after getting in for the first time since back in November.

Saturday, February 28, 2015: Georgetown at St. John's (11am Central, CBS) - And of course, this is the other game for the Red Storm.  If they get through their contest with the Musketeers, they still have to deal with the Hoyas coming to town on Saturday.  Georgetown missed being ranked in the AP top 25 by just 15 points behind the #25 Friars, so they'll be motivated to snag that big win.  The Hoyas have won three straight, including a 79-57 thrashing of these self same Johnnies back on February 17th, which should give them confidence for this game.

The Big East Women's Basketball Game Of The Week

Sunday, March 1, 2015: Seton Hall at Butler (12pm Central, Big East Digital Network) - This game might determine the #1 seed in the Big East tournament.  The Pirates are currently a half game back of DePaul in the standings, but they play two games this week while the Blue Demons only host Marquette on Sunday, and if they end up in a tie, Seton Hall holds the tiebreakers.  In theory, Seton Hall should be able to get through Xavier on Friday night, thus leaving this game against the third place Bulldogs to potentially determine who gets that top seed.  But, Seton Hall left Milwaukee with a loss to last place Marquette, so all things are possible, really.  Butler's only role here will be as spoiler, as they're three games back in the loss column.  They have their own spot in the tournament seedings to protect, as they're currently locked in a three way tie for third place with St. John's and Villanova, but they currently hold the tiebreakers in that cluster.

The Worst American Athletic Conference Game Of The Week

Sunday, March 1, 2015: South Florida at Houston (2pm Central, ESPN3) - Ah, the gifts from the AAC.  USF and Houston have separated themselves from the pack... or, more honestly, the pack has separated themselves from the Bulls and the Cougars.  The two teams have a combined three wins in AAC play this season, and one of those wins is when USF beat Houston in Tampa back on February 17th, while the three teams tied for third worst team in the league has managed five wins each.  The closest thing I can claim that makes this worth watching is that Houston blew a six point halftime lead in the first matchup before losing by 2.