This week’s What To Watch is coming at you hot and fresh on Wednesday morning.... because there were no Big East games on Monday or Tuesday. This is largely because six of the league’s teams were in action on Sunday, so they needed the time off anyway. Can’t say I’m complaining, as this ended up working out best for my personal schedule to get this written up for y’all to take stock and schedule out the rest of your week relative to how much basketball you need to put into your eyeballs.
Let’s check out the highlights of (what remains of) the week to come.....
Wednesday, January 30: #10 Marquette Golden Eagles at Butler Bulldogs (5:30pm Central, FS1) - Yep, it’s the first game of the week, and it’s absolutely one of the most important games of the week. First of all, it’s the only game of the week for Marquette, the best Big East team in the AP Poll. That’s pretty important. It’s on the road, and Marquette has had a teensy bit of trouble on the road this season. It’s against Butler, a team that has won five straight against the Golden Eagles, and MU has yet to win at Hinkle Fieldhouse since The Reformation. That’s all of the reasons why it’s a big deal for Marquette, and the Bulldogs could really use a win to help stabilize their season and point them towards the NCAA tournament, too.
Thursday, January 31: Xavier Musketeers at Georgetown Hoyas (7pm Central, CBS Sports Network) - So, uh, part of the weirdness of the league this season is the fact that the eight teams not named Villanova or Marquette are either 3-4 or 3-5. Three squads have four losses and five have five losses. A lot of the games this week are actually between teams opposite sides of that divide, so if you wanted to, you could just expand this whole highlight section out to include every single one of those games. There’s not that much separating those eight teams as we approach the midpoint of the league schedule, and there might not be that much separating them when we get to March, either. I wanted to highlight this one in particular because it’s a home game for the 3-4 Hoyas, and thus they’re favored to win. Big things were not really expected from either side of this contest this season, so if either team can get this win, it could go a long way towards dictating where they end up at the end of the season. You can say that about a lot of games this week, so just think about that over and over as you look at the full schedule.
Saturday, February 2: St. John’s Red Storm at #2 Duke Blue Devils (11am Central, ESPN) - LOOK, EVERYONE! A NON-CONFERENCE GAME! And not just any non-conference game, it’s the return game in the home-and-home set between St. John’s and Duke. I think we all remember Shamorie Ponds’ 33 point explosion against the Blue Devils at the Garden last season, and now the Red Storm have to go to Cameron Indoor Stadium. St. John’s has about as much of a chance to beat Duke as they did last year in terms of KenPom.com’s predictive model, but hey: they did win last year. Can the Red Storm go out and turn their ship and their season around with a massive road win?
Sunday, February 3: #10 Marquette Golden Eagles at DePaul Blue Demons (1pm Central, Big East Digital Network) - This is the only game of the week for Carolyn Kieger’s top 10 squad, and since they’re 9-0 in Big East action, it’s clearly the most important game of the week in the league. DePaul is one of the two teams currently tied for second in the conference at 6-3, so the Golden Eagles can do a major number on their chances of winning the regular season title with a win here. Taking the results of the first half of the league slate into account, this game is one of three serious tests for Marquette in the back end of the calendar, so we’ll know a lot about MU by the time it’s over.
Here’s the full Big East men’s basketball schedule for the week! Enjoy!
Big East What To Watch: Week 13
|Wednesday, Jan. 30||#10 Marquette at Butler||5:30 PM||FS1|
|Providence at Seton Hall||6:00 PM||Fox Sports Regional|
|#14 Villanova at DePaul||7:00 PM||CBS Sports Network|
|St. John's at Creighton||7:30 PM||FS1|
|Thursday, Jan. 31||Xavier at Georgetown||7:00 PM||CBS Sports Network|
|Saturday, Feb. 2||St. John's at #2 Duke||11:00 AM||ESPN|
|Seton Hall at Butler||11:00 AM||FS1|
|Providence at DePaul||1:30 PM||FS1|
|Sunday, Feb. 3||Georgetown at #14 Villanova||11:00 AM||FS1|
|Xavier at Creighton||12:00 PM||Fox Sports Regional|