Feast Week is over, but the high quality games are still stacking up like cordwood in the Big East. It’s almost too bad that we couldn’t redistribute these around a bit to use during Finals Week. These were the five clear cut best games of the week, but there’s still some interesting matchups elsewhere: Xavier/North Dakota State, Villanova/St. Joseph’s, Creighton/Akron, and Georgetown/Elon. Hey, don’t laugh, Elon is a top 125 KenPom team right now, and it is completely within the Hoyas’ ability to completely flub that game.
Last Week: 3-2 (thanks for nothing, Seton Hall & St. John’s)
This Season: 6-4
Monday, November 28: #18 Butler at Utah (8pm Central, Pac12 Networks) - Hey, wasn’t Marquette supposed to play Utah this season? Someone go ask Jon Rothstein what’s up with that. Anyway, the Bulldogs play their first true road game of the season in this one after starting off 6-0 with two top 50 KenPom wins: at home vs Northwestern and Arizona on a neutral floor. The Utes project as a middle of the road Pac-12 team this season and opened their season with two non-D1 games and two low major opponents. Might be ready and raring for a fight, might get blown off the court by the opposition upgrade.
Saturday, December 3: #7 Xavier at #9 Baylor (2:30pm Central, ESPN2) - Who doesn’t like seeing two top ten teams square off? Much like Butler, this will be the first true away game for the Musketeers, and both squads have an early week game to get through to make sure they’re both undefeated when this one tips off. The Bears are 6-0 with four - count ‘em, four - top 50 KenPom wins.
Saturday, December 3: Providence vs #21 Rhode Island (3:30pm Central, Fox Sports Regional Networks) - No joke: I put this one on the list just because of the rivalry game status, then I realized that the Rams are ranked. They were #23 a week ago, so that one’s on me. People expected PC to drop back this year without Dunn and Bentil, but they’re 2-2 against KenPom top 100 teams already. Admittedly, the losses are both to top 25 teams, but hey, it’s still something. Rhody is a favorite in the A-10 this season, and they only have a 10 point loss to Duke blemishing their record at this point. Friars caught a break with this game being at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center this year, but can they turn it into a W?
Saturday, December 3: DePaul at Northwestern (6pm Central, Big Ten Network) - And now, the battle between this year’s residents of the Rosemont Horizon and next year’s residents. It’s apparently “go on the road” week in the Big East, as this is yet another first road game of the year. Last year’s Blue Demons/Wildcats game was a thriller, with DePaul blowing a six point lead with five minutes to play before NU won it in overtime. It’s the second of two big home games this week for Northwestern, so maybe DePaul catches the Wildcats in a lull after the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Sunday, December 4: Marquette at Georgia (3pm Central, ESPNU) - Like I said: apparently it’s “go on the road” week. This might actually be the in-season debut of the navy unis that made their first appearance at Marquette Madness, since the Golden Eagles are making their first official road trip of the season. Both Marquette and Georgia are desperate for quality wins at this point in their non-conference slates, as both teams clanked their first two opportunities at one. Georgia has an 10 point loss at Clemson and a 11 point semi-road loss to Kansas on their record already.