Let’s play a fun game I like to call “I’m not even sure this schedule is accurate right now.”
On Friday, Xavier announced a pause to men’s basketball team activities due to a positive COVID-19 test in the program. They immediately postponed their next two games, which included a game that should have been on this week’s schedule on Tuesday. Xavier’s still scheduled to play two games this week: One on Friday at DePaul and one on Sunday at home against Marquette. I don’t want to come across as a Negative Norman here, but I’m not entirely sure how the Musketeers are playing either of those games, even with new lesser restrictions from the CDC regarding isolation/quarantine.
UPDATE: I was right! The preceding paragraph was written on Sunday, BEFORE the league announced that Xavier/DePaul was off. However, DePaul/Providence is ON for Thursday.
DePaul will not open its season Friday against Xavier. Instead, the Blue Demons will open Thursday at Providence, after COVID-19 issues within Xavier's program forced a postponement. DePaul is the lone power-conference team not to play a game yet in 2020-21.— Brian Hamilton (@_Brian_Hamilton) December 14, 2020
Same goes for Connecticut, which is on a pause as well. They started that on December 6, but their game at home against Creighton Bluejays this week on the 20th is still slated to go. That would be literally the first day possible for UConn based on guidelines from their own state health department and the fact that they haven’t postponed it quite yet. They might be able to return to practice today, the 14th, but who knows?
So, that’s three of the 11 games scheduled for this week that are very much up in the air right now. They probably won’t be the only ones, because that’s just how this is going to be.
Oh, and by the way? DePaul still hasn’t played a single game this season. They have one game scheduled this week right now, and that’s
Friday’s game against Xavier Thursday’s game at Providence, thanks to the schedule change.
Well, okay, let’s talk about the highlights of the week.
UPDATE: Villanova/Virginia is OFF. As I update this, it’s been about 14 hours since CBS’ Matt Norlander reported the change, and there isn’t a new opponent yet. That’s not surprising since most of those 14 hours were overnight.
Can confirm this.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) December 15, 2020
Virginia is out. The search is on to get Villanova a team to replace UVA, according to a source. UVA has been on COVID pause as of late; intention was to return in time to play this game, but the Cavs will not be able to swing that. https://t.co/b71S8H08sw
Monday, December 14: Marquette Golden Eagles at #9 Creighton Bluejays (8pm Central, FS1) — The Golden Eagles come off their “well, it was a good basketball game, but we have many questions” loss to UCLA on Friday night and head straight to Omaha for the Big East opener for both teams. Marquette has had problems pop up in two of their three high major games so far this season, but they also beat a top five ranked team in their third one. Creighton hasn’t played as tough of a schedule as Marquette so far, but the Jays were projected to be better than MU in the first place and nearly beat Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse last week. We’ve seen more than our fair share of wild outcomes in these MU/CU games since The Reformation, so fingers crossed that we get a good one here.
Saturday, December 19: Butler Bulldogs vs RV Indiana Hoosiers (10:30am Central, FS1) — Butler is 1-0 on the season after a 66-62 struggle at home against Western Michigan on the first day of the season. They have not played since, and now their first game back into it will be against their in-state rivals. The Hoosiers are a confounding team so far this season, easily beating Providence and Stanford on a neutral court in the Maui Invitational, but getting blitzed by Texas in the middle of those two games. Last week, they went to Florida State and forced a very good Seminoles team into overtime before eventually falling. It’s a big spot for Butler to come up with a big win.
Saturday, December 19: #7 Villanova Wildcats vs #17 Virginia Cavaliers (7pm Central, Fox) — This is the only game scheduled this week between two ranked foes, and it comes to us in the non-conference variety as Jay Wright and Tony Bennett wanted to make sure that they got this game in this year. The Wildcats just bounced back from trailing by 18 on the road against Georgetown on Friday in their most recent contest, and that came after they posted what might be the best win of the season in college basketball by going into Austin and dropping Texas like third period French. KenPom.com has the Wildcats favored in this one against a Cavaliers squad that hasn’t played since needing overtime to beat Kent State at home on December 4th. Virginia has been all over the map with their three-point shooting this season, and if you can’t hit shots against Villanova, you’re probably in a lot of trouble.
Here’s the Big East men’s basketball schedule as we know it on Monday morning. Cross your fingers, even more than usual.
Big East MBB Schedule: Week 4
|Mon., Dec. 14||Marquette at #9 Creighton||8:00 PM||FS1|
|Wed., Dec. 16||Butler at #7 Villanova||6:00 PM||FS1|
|Thurs., Dec. 17||#9 Creighton at St. John's||6:00 PM||FS1|
|Seton Hall at Marquette||8:00 PM||FS1|
|DePaul at Providence||6:00 PM||FS1|
|Fri., Dec. 18|
|Sat., Dec. 19||Butler vs RV Indiana (at Bankers Life Fieldhouse)||10:30 AM||FS1|
|Sun., Dec. 20||#9 Creighton at RV Connecticut||11:00 AM||FS1|
|Marquette at RV Xavier||1:00 PM||FS1|
|Providence at Seton Hall||3:30 PM||FS1|
|Georgetown at St. John's||5:30 PM||FS1|