Technically speaking, this Big Five only extends through Sunday, just like every other edition. However, because Sunday is Christmas, this actually covers every game up until the start of league play on December 28th. Because of teams taking a holiday break, this means we only get games through Friday, and as you can tell that this is Tuesday, there weren’t any games worth mentioning on Monday.
(Yes, Marquette had to fight off St. Francis with just 7 scholarship players and DePaul nearly lost to Southeast Effin’ Missouri State. Doesn’t mean these games were worth watching ahead of time.)
Still, we managed to round up a tantalizing plate of games to watch this week, and the best part about it is that we can ignore the fact that Boston College is on the schedule because no one wants to watch that dumpster fire.
Last Week: 5-0
This Season: 17-8
Tuesday, December 20, 2016: #9 Creighton at Arizona State (8pm Central, ESPN2) - It’s a big test for the undefeated Bluejays. This is their second road game of the season, but the first one was in Lincoln against the Huskers. I suspect there was a fair number of blueshirts in the crowd that day, but that might not be the case here. The Sun Devils are looking for something to hang their hat on before Pac12 play starts as they’ve been alternating losses and wins in their last nine games.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016: St. John’s at Syracuse (6pm Central, ESPNU) - 1) Georgetown just won in the Carrier Dome this past weekend. 2) St. John’s beat the Orange in MSG last season. Sure, the Red Storm have struggled this season, including with losses in each of their last two games. Maybe they thread everything together for this trip to Western New York and come away with a win....
Wednesday, December 21, 2016: #13 Butler vs Vermont (6pm Central, Fox Sports Regional Networks) - Did you realize that the Catamounts are #103 in KenPom? I didn’t until putting this article together! Their four losses are all to top 150 teams, and they’ve got two top 125 victories, too! If Vermont ends up winning the America East as projected, this could end up as a sneaky good non-con victory for the Bulldogs, as long as they don’t suffer a letdown after beating Indiana and Cincinnati in their last two.
Also! Including Vermont in the Big Five lets me include this video:
Thursday, December 22, 2016: DePaul vs Wyoming (7:30pm Central, FS1) - This is part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic. The Blue Demons could actually rack up a better game on Friday in the other half of the event as both Missouri State and USC are ranked higher in KenPom than the Cowboys, but such is life. Anyway, a neutral site game against Wyoming (#144) is a great opportunity for DePaul to do something nice for the league after they nearly blew it against SEMO St. on Monday.
Friday, December 23, 2016: Seton Hall vs Rutgers (5:30pm Central, FS1) - Ok, look. Rutgers’ schedule to this point has been absolutely terrible. They have just one KenPom top 180 opponent, and that ended up as a road loss against Miami. It wasn’t a blowout, though, so maybe the 11-1 Scarlet Knights are kind of maybe for real-ish? They’ll travel to The Rock for this one, so we’ll see if Seton Hall can hold serve against their in-state rival.