THE GOOD NEWS: Games start on Tuesday, so there’s 17 games to mention here in our inaugural edition of What To Watch instead of maaaaaaaaybe 12 if someone gets overzealous and plays on Friday AND Sunday.
BAD NEWS: Most of the games are absolute nonsense buy games. Outside of Providence playing in the Veterans Classic, the best KenPom preseason ranking on the opening week of games is East Tennessee State. Second best is Miam (OH), third best is Bowling Green. Those are the only three preseason rankings better than #200. Not great.
Things will get much, much better next week when we get the Gavitt Tipoff Games to shine up the apple a bit.
Here’s what amounts to the highlights of the week:
Tuesday, November 6: UMBC at Marquette (8pm Central, FS1) - First, it’s the season premiere for everyone’s favorite #16 seed. That’s pretty interesting. Second, it’s Marquette’s first official game at Fiserv Forum, the new downtown Milwaukee arena. All the bells and whistles are going to be going full bore, so we’ll see what the whole deal is there.
Wednesday, November 7: Bethune-Cookman at DePaul (6:30pm Central, FS1) - Look, I’m not trying to convince you that the team projected as second best in the MEAC is going to make for an interesting and watchable game with DePaul here. The part of this that interests me is that Bethune-Cookman, noted Florida school, is playing DePaul on Wednesday and playing Marquette on Saturday. 1) There’s no way they’re going home in between, right? 2) I feel like this is some weird dare by the universe. “Hey, we’re gonna give y’all in Milwaukee a baseline to beat! CAN Y’ALL BEAT THE WILDCATS BY MORE THAN DEPAUL DID??”
Friday, November 9: Providence vs Wichita State (5pm Central, CBS Sports Network) - This is literally the best game of the week, and it involves a team that starts the year outside the top 70 in KenPom (#72, to be precise) and projects to finish fifth in the American Athletic Conference. That would be the self-same AAC that is so sorry, it caused me to change the format of this weekly article. Seems not fantastic, but it is what it is.
Friday, November 9: Bowling Green at St. John’s (5:30pm Central, FS2) - I don’t have a real reason to be excited about this game. However, it involves Bowling Green, which gives me an excuse to embed this video.
Saturday, November 10: Quinnipiac at #9 Villanova (7pm Central, FS2) - It’s a very small thing, but QU head coach Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy played for Jay Wright and was then an assistant coach for Wright. This is his first game against Villanova since taking the job up in Connecticut before the 2017-18 season.
Here’s the full schedule for the week. LET’S GET TO IT!
Big East What To Watch: Week 1
|Tues., Nov. 6||Siena at Providence||5:30 PM||Fox Sports Regional|
|Loyola-MD at St. John's||5:30 PM||Fox Sports Regional|
|Wagner at Seton Hall||5:30 PM||FS2|
|Morgan State at #9 Villanova||6:00 PM||FS1|
|IUPUI at Xavier||7:30 PM||FS2|
|Western Illinois at Creighton||7:30 PM||Fox Sports Regional|
|Maryland-Eastern Shore at Georgetown||7:30 PM||Fox Sports Regional|
|UMBC at Marquette||8:00 PM||FS1|
|Wed., Nov. 7||Bethune-Cookman at DePaul||6:30 PM||FS1|
|Fri., Nov. 9||Providence vs Wichita State (at Naval Academy)||5:00 PM||CBS Sports Network|
|Bowling Green at St. John's||5:30 PM||FS2|
|Sat., Nov. 10||Evansville at Xavier||3:00 PM||Fox Sports Regional|
|Bethune-Cookman at Marquette||3:00 PM||FS2|
|Central Connecticut at Georgetown||5:00 PM||FS2|
|Miami (OH) at Butler||6:00 PM||Fox Sports Regional|
|Quinnipiac at Villanova||7:00 PM||FS2|
|Sun., Nov. 11||East Tennesse State at Creighton||12:30 PM||FS1|