With the start of Big East play, we flip the script on the Big Five going forward. Because there’s only 10 or so games a week, we’ll give you the three best games of the week instead of trying to convince you that half the games in the league are the best thing you’ll see. We’ll tack on the Game Of The Week for Big East women’s basketball, and then, to get to a fifth game, we’ll make fun of the American Athletic Conference for their worst game of the week. Is it fair to pick on a mid-major conference like that? Maybe not, but Marquette and their six compatriots aren’t stuck in that hellhole, so I really don’t care.
The Big East finished non-conference play with a record of 21-9 in Big Five games after going 4-1 in the final week. Thanks for nothing, DePaul.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016: Providence at #17 Xavier (6pm Central, Fox Sports Regional Networks/Fox Sports Go) - There’s kind of a theme to the Big Five games this week, and that theme is “Show me something.” The Friars seemed to be assembling a nice little non-con record with two KenPom top 100 wins..... and then they lost to “lost every ACC game last year & lost to Nicholls State and Hartford this year” Boston College. NOT GREAT, ED COOLEY. The Musketeers suffered losses in their only two road non-conference games, but bounced back with wins in their next three games. Getting off on a good foot at Cintas Center in league play will be a bit of a boost for them.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016: Georgetown at Marquette (7:30pm Central, FS1) - “Show me something” week continues as the two biggest question marks in the league at the start of the season clash in the first league game for both sides. The Hoyas opened the season 2-4 with a loss to Arkansas State at home, but have reeled off six straight including a road win over Syracuse. The Golden Eagles have a perfectly acceptable non-conference record, but their fans are looking for something more than perfectly acceptable from Steve Wojciechowski in season 3. Both teams have postseason hopes in mind, and they’ll both need this win to get there.
Saturday, December 31, 2016: #1 Villanova at #10 Creighton (12pm Central, FS1) - GET READY FOR BASKETS! This game pits two of the five best effective field goal percentage teams in the country against each other, and if the Bluejays get off to a hot streak (they’re the best three point shooting team in the country), this could turn an ugly flashback to The Ethan Wragge Game for the Wildcats. As if this one needed more hype, we might (and honestly, really should, sorry/not sorry Seton Hall, definitely not sorry DePaul) get a clash between two unbeaten teams on the first Saturday of league play.
The Big East Women’s Basketball Game Of The Week
Wednesday, December 28, 2016: DePaul at Georgetown (1pm, Big East Digital Network/Fox Sports Go) - The favorite to win the league goes on the road to D.C. to kick off league play, and they get what might be the most surprising team in the conference to start things off this year. The Hoyas are 8-2, and while their wins are largely against a collection of teams that won’t knock your socks off, their only two losses are against two RPI top 20 foes. We’ll get a feel for whether or not the Hoyas are for real when they open things up with the Blue Demons on Wednesday, followed up immediately with Marquette rolling into town on Friday.
The Worst American Athletic Conference Game Of The Week
Wednesday, December 28, 2016: USF at East Carolina (6pm Central, ESPN News) - I was very tempted to go with the UCF/Tulane game on the same night, because it appears that the AAC has a contract with ASN to carry some of their games this year because they can’t get on an actual ESPN network any more. That is HILARIOUS, but not as hilarious as the AAC opening up play with a game in East Carolina’s garbage heap of a gym. It doesn’t help that this game is being contested between two of the three sub-KenPom 150 teams in the league. RELATED: Get ready to make fun of USF/Tulane twice this season.