We skipped out on a Big East Big Five for the first weekend of the basketball season for one very clear reason: Marquette-Vanderbilt was the only truly interesting game. Xavier and DePaul pushed the envelope on that in their narrow wins over Lehigh and Robert Morris respectively, but heading into the weekend, that wasn’t the case.
This week, though, between the Gavitt Games and the 2K Classic, we’ve got a stacked deck of amazing games to watch involving Big East squads. There’s also the Tire Pros Invitational, the Charleston Classic, and the Paradise Jam going on this weekend, but the Big East games that open it (Xavier-Missouri, Villanova-Western Michigan, and Creighton-Washington State) aren’t that great. We’ll probably get some better games down the line in those tourneys, but since they’re not official, we can’t include them in the Big Five.
Let’s get to it!
Monday, November 14: #3 Villanova at #15 Purdue (6pm CT, Big Ten Network) - Hard not to get fired up about a meeting between two ranked teams right at the start of the week, right? The Wildcats thumped Lafayette in their opener and now get a chance to make a statement about their chances to repeat as national champions with a win in West Lafayette. That’s weirdly fitting. The Boilermakers figure to be a Big Ten contender this season and opened their season by running through McNeese State with ease.
Tuesday, November 15: Georgetown vs Maryland (5:30pm CT, FS1) - These two teams played a thriller of a contest last season in College Park, and now they hook it up again in Georgetown’s barn. The general feeling on both teams is that they’re headed in opposite directions this season - Georgetown on the way up, Maryland on the way down - so both sides will have a chance to make a statement with a victory.
Tuesday, November 15: #22 Creighton vs #9 Wisconsin (7:30pm CT, FS1) - I’m not going to openly advocate for you to watch this game. Even if I wasn’t going to be at the Marquette women’s game at the same time, I still wouldn’t watch Wisconsin if I don’t have to watch. However, it would be a massive statement for the Bluejays to get an early season victory over a theoretical Big Ten contender. Memo to Greg McDermott: Let Nigel Hayes shoot three pointers. Trust me, it’ll be fine.
Thursday, November 17: Seton Hall at Iowa (8pm, Big Ten Network) - I think Seton Hall’s going to be very good this season. They’ve put the boots to both of the sub-250 KenPom teams they’ve played this season, and it’s possible that they’re still the same great defensive squad they were last year. This trip to Iowa City will be an excellent test for them as the Hawkeyes figure to be a middle of the pack Big Ten team after losing a number of seniors from last year. A road win over a team that should contend for the NCAA tournament will pay big dividends for the Pirates down the road.
Thursday, November 17: Marquette vs Michigan (2K Classic, 8:30pm, ESPN2) - The Golden Eagles should be 2-0 (knock on wood) as they head to Madison Square Garden for their major event of the non-conference schedule. MU looked incredibly scary in the second half against Vanderbilt, but there’s no way that they can repeat that on a regular basis, right? Right? Michigan struggled ever so slightly with Howard and IUPUI in their on-campus 2K Classic games, ending with winning margins of 18 and 12 points, but they still project as an NCAA tournament team. As of Monday morning, KenPom tags this as a 50% chance to win for both teams.