This qualifies as big news around these parts, since the Wildcats had gone over a year since losing a game to a Big East opponent. They're still in first place, but they don't have a two game buffer any more, just one lone game in the standings separates them and a four way tie for second place. That's basically like Luke Skywalker standing at the edge of the plank above the Sarlacc, the obvious focal point of the piece standing above a pit filled with ravenous monsters waiting to eat them alive.
To put it another way, things are getting lively in the Big East, and those four teams in that tie for second are playing each other this week. What a time to be alive.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016: Creighton at Georgetown (5:30pm Central, FS1) - Creighton beat Butler on Saturday. The Bluejays are 5-2 in Big East play and currently sit in a four way tie for second place in the league. Creighton. The team picked to finish ninth in the Big East. Those guys. They get their first return bout of the season as they head to Washington, D.C., to tangle with the Hoyas. CU won the first one in Omaha by 13, and with the Hoyas stuck in Connecticut due to snow as recently as Monday morning, this thing could almost turn into a neutral site game as far as atmosphere goes. Georgetown is in that tie with Creighton, but they're coming off a loss to Connecticut over the weekend, which was really not the best way to follow up the road win over Xavier.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016: #7 Xavier at #10 Providence (7:30pm Central, FS1) - Providence has gone from losing at home to Marquette and Seton Hall in a 12 day stretch to winning at Villanova in overtime in a snow delayed game. I throw that last bit in there because getting your schedule thrown off late can really screw with athletes. These teams are the other two teams in the four way tie for second place, so when you get a chance to break out of a pack like that, you have to take it. After this game, Xavier heads to the bottom of the Big East standings for a roadie against DePaul and then home contests against St. John's and Marquette. Not only would a win over PC be a nice boost for the Musketeers, but it'd be a nice insurance policy for those next three games.
Sunday, January 31, 2016: #6 Villanova at St. John's (11am Central, Fox) - I know, I know, I know, I know. Why the hell is St. John's involved in anything close to the best game of the week when they've lost nine straight games to Big East opponents and 10 straight games this season? Well, it's entirely because of Villanova. The Wildcats lost to Providence on Sunday for their first loss to a Big East opponent in over a year. They're off all this week and this trip to Madison Square Garden will be their first game since that loss. Let's see what these dudes are made of on the road against a Red Storm team that desperately needs a win of any kind at this point.
The Big East Women's Basketball Game Of The Week
Sunday, January 31, 2016: St. John's at #23 DePaul (12pm Central, FS2) - When second place visits first place, it gets to be Game Of The Week. I like it when these things work out so easily like this. Seton Hall heading to DePaul was a very close second place this week, which is the kind of thing that works in your favor when both traveling partners are good teams. I'm not particularly looking forward towards the day when Carolyn Kieger has things chugging along in Milwaukee and I then have to pick between the match ups between DePaul/Marquette and Seton Hall/St. John's twice a season. Anyway, I'm rooting for the Blue Demons in this game, because it's good for the league to have a team in the top 25, and DePaul is the only Big East squad that's even getting votes.
The Worst American Athletic Conference Game Of The Week
Wednesday, January 27, 2016: USF at Tulane (7pm Central, ESPN3) - Well, now everyone's got one league win. South Florida went to Houston last week and stunned the Cougars to snap a nine game losing streak and a nine game losing streak against AAC foes. Meanwhile, East Carolina - yes, THAT East Carolina - went to Memphis - yes, THAT Memphis - and stung the Tigers for their first league win of the season. Now, because of that, I have to put effort in to figure out which of the AAC teams should get the hook each week. Thankfully, two of the teams with just one league win play each other this week in this game. I'm completely convinced that USF is going to #BuildOnThis and take the win from the Green Wave.