First time since The Reformation that the Big East has been atop the Associated Press poll, and the first time ever that Villanova has been ranked #1 in the country. That's quite exciting for those of us who have been beating the "Don't Call It A Comeback" drum. Of course, that's going to play a part in how we figure out this week's most exciting games.....
Tuesday, February 9, 2016: #5 Xavier at Creighton (7pm Central, CBS Sports Network) - Creighton's part of a three way tie for fourth place in the league right now. That tie is at 6-5, believe it or not, so pretty much every team in that pile desparately needs to find their way out of it if they have an NCAA tournament berth on their minds. Unfortunately for the Jays, they just snapped a three game losing streak by beating DePaul on Saturday and now they turn around to host the Musketeers. Xavier has won five straight since losing at home to Georgetown for just their second black mark of the season. They're riding high and very clearly jostling amongst the top teams in the rest of the country for a number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. In fact, their biggest rival for that #1 seed is.....
Tuesday, February 9, 2016: #1 Villanova at DePaul (7:30pm Central, FS1) - Well, we told you all about the Wildcats making a bit of history at the top of the page. So, obviously, the very next game for the Wildcats is going to get slotted into the Big Five. Let's see y'all respond to your historic perch, even if it is a roadie against DePaul. The Blue Demons are showing signs of life with a road win over Marquette and a home win over Providence in their last five contests. It's not the craziest thing ever to think that they could stun VU here, even if KenPom gives Nova a 90% chance of victory. Oh, and Daniel Ochefu is healthy and expected to play in this game.
Saturday, February 13, 2016: Georgetown at Providence (11am Central, Fox) - Remember when I mentioned that Creighton was in a three way tie? Here's the other two teams. Shout out to the fates for providing us with an easy choice for this week's Big Five. Providence has lost three of four, and while you can't really fault them for losing at home to Xavier or Villanova, that road loss to DePaul was a shocker. Georgetown has lost three straight and five of seven right now, and they're predicted by KenPom to finish 9-9 in league action. Two teams with postseason aspirations that are desperate for a W? That sounds like some good watching to me.
The Big East Women's Basketball Game Of The Week
Friday, February 12, 2016: Xavier at #23 DePaul (7pm Central, Big East Digital Network) - The Musketeers keep hanging around the top of the the Big East standings. They're 8-4 right now, tied for second place behind 10-2 DePaul. With six games left to play, it's completely reasonable to think that Xavier could figure out a way to overtake the Blue Demons for first place by the end of the season. That thought process probably hinges on pulling off the upset in Chicago on Friday night, though. At the very least, it's the very best thing that XU can do for their hopes of a regular season title or even a share of that title. They're going to have to do better than the 70-53 loss they had down in Cincinnati against DePaul earlier this season.
The Worst American Athletic Conference Game Of The Week
Wednesday, February 10, 2016: Tulane at East Carolina (5:15pm Central, ESPN News) - Look, this game was going to be the worst AAC game regardless of anything else. The two teams are a combined 3-18 in league play this season, and that's an easy choice for Worst. (Aside: It's weird that South Florida has 12 league games finished while everyone else is on 10 or 11, right?) But when I saw that they're playing at 5:15pm on ESPN News? OH MAN, that's just hysterical. There might some really solid reason for this timing, but it screams that the AAC and ESPN have agreed to just bury the game where no one will ever have to see it.