Just nine games on the schedule in Big East men’s basketball this week. There’s two women’s games that we’re going to highlight, but they’re going to get folded into one note on the rundown of what’s important to note this week. Trust me, it’ll make sense when we get there.
Tuesday, January 7: Providence Friars at Marquette Golden Eagles (6pm Central, FS1) - Providence has to be the most surprising team as of late in the Big East, or at least the most surprising in a positive manner. The Friars have rattled off three straight top 70 KenPom.com wins after starting off the year 6-6 overall. The last two are their first two in Big East play, including a narrow road win over DePaul on Saturday. They didn’t go home after that one, electing to stay in the Midwest for their back-to-back games on the shore of Lake Michigan. That’s a bit of an extended trip, so we’ll see how they react to it. In Marquette’s case, they’re coming off a win over then-#10 Villanova on Saturday to even out their league record at 1-1. Two weeks ago, we would have said this looks like an easy win for Marquette as far as Big East games go, but now it’s one where the Golden Eagles need to take advantage of playing this one at home.
Tuesday, January 7: #16 Villanova Wildcats at Creighton Bluejays (8pm Central, FS1) - Both teams come into this one with something to prove. Both teams looked kind of bad on Saturday, with Villanova digging themselves into a big hole early against Marquette and Creighton giving up a late 12-2 run to Butler to end up with a 14 point loss. From a Marquette perspective, this is an interesting matchup, since it’s the last two teams that the Golden Eagles played. The Jays trounced Marquette in Omaha before the Golden Eagles beat the Wildcats fairly easily, and this one will be in Nebraska. Is that enough of an advantage for Creighton?
Friday, January 10/Sunday, January 12: #15 DePaul Blue Demons vs Seton Hall Pirates/St. John’s Red Storm (7pm/12pm Central, Big East Digital Network/FS1) - This is the aforementioned women’s basketball contests that I wanted to include. After the results from last weekend, DePaul is the only undefeated team in the league right now, sitting at 3-0 in Big East action. This weekend, they’ll host two of the four teams that are sitting at 3-1 in Seton Hall and St. John’s. It’s a pair of home dates for the Blue Demons thanks to the Big East’s travel partner system, so they’ll be favored to win and extend their lead on the rest of the conference. It’s also a big game for both of their opponents who will want to make a statement about their place in the league as well as the postseason picture.
Friday, January 10: #6 Butler Bulldogs at Providence Friars (8pm Central, FS1) - This is the only game of the week for Butler, who have now moved into the top 10 in the AP poll. They have now won five straight games and have six top 60 KenPom.com wins. They’re pretty good! However, this one will be on the road against the aforementioned Friars who have been playing pretty well since mid-December. Road games are always a little bit harder in Big East play, and the Friars will be pretty fired up to return to Rhode Island not only for a game, but for the first time since they left to play DePaul this past Saturday.
Saturday, January 11: Marquette Golden Eagles at Seton Hall Pirates (3pm Central, CBS Sports Network) - First, there’s the obvious reasons why this one is big. The Pirates were the preseason favorites to win the Big East, but they’ve been through a thing or two this season, including an injury to Sandro Mamulaskeshvili that will keep him out for this game. Given that injury, this is, in theory, a game that Marquette can steal on the road, and getting a chance to steal road games in league play is always important. It’s also a chance to see the 2018-19 Big East Player of the Year face off against the 2019-20 Preseason Big East Play of the Year in Markus Howard and Myles Powell respectively. Oh, and there’s also the fact that this is the first time that these two teams will face off since last year’s Big East semifinal game which was, well, let’s say marred by a near-brawl and leave it at that. I still say that the league office should let this one be played with “call your own fouls” rules. I’d like to see Myles Powell try to start a fight with Theo John again when James Breeding isn’t around to bail him out.
Here’s the full schedule for men’s basketball this week, with all times Central, as always.
Big East MBB Schedule: Week 10
|Tues., January 7||Providence at Marquette||6:00 PM||FS1|
|#16 Villanova at Creighton||8:00 PM||FS1|
|Wed., January 8||St. John's at Georgetown||5:30 PM||FS1|
|Seton Hall at Xavier||7:30 PM||FS1|
|Fri., January 10||#6 Butler at Providence||8:00 PM||FS1|
|Sat., January 11||DePaul at St. John's||11:00 AM||Fox Sports Regional|
|Georgetown at #16 Villanova||11:00 AM||FS1|
|Creighton at Xavier||1:00 PM||Fox|
|Marquette at Seton Hall||3:00 PM||CBS Sports Network|