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Big East What To Watch: Week Five

Christmas slows down the number of games this week, but it’s Big East basketball and that’s never a bad time.

Big East Tournament First Round: Xavier vs DePaul
DePaul gets the picture here because we’re crossing our fingers that they get to play their first game this week.
Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images

There are only seven Big East men’s basketball games scheduled for this week. Two of them are non-conference games against Directional Illinois Schools. The other five are conference matchups. The Big East is taking off from Christmas Eve on Thursday all the way through Saturday and returns to action on Sunday with one afternoon date. Six of the seven games this week are before the holiday shutdown and five of them are on Wednesday.

Such is the nature of college basketball here in the still inexplicably ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what jumps off the page in Schedule Town this week.

Tuesday, December 22: #3 Connecticut Huskies at RV Villanova Wildcats (6pm Central, SNY/FoxSports.com) — Yep, this is a women’s basketball game! Yeah, we’re early in the league schedule, but there are just four undefeated teams left in league action. As you can guess, UConn and Nova are two of them. (Marquette and DePaul are the other two. btw.) Making this one even better is the fact that both teams are undefeated on the season, with UConn at 4-0 and Villanova at 7-0. Someone is walking away from this one with their first loss of the season. We should probably point out that Connecticut has not lost a conference game since the last time they lost a Big East game, back on March 4, 2013. A side note: Tuesday is the only day of games for women’s basketball this week, as they will pick things back up after Christmas on December 30th.

Wednesday, December 23: #22 Xavier Musketeers at #13 Creighton Bluejays (2pm Central, FS1) — The new AP poll put both teams into the rankings, but even just from a Marquette-oriented perspective, this is a fascinating game. The Golden Eagles knocked off the then-top 10 ranked Bluejays back last Monday and then ended up taking a loss ever so slightly to the Musketeers on Sunday afternoon. Xavier is still undefeated this season and 1-0 and on top of the Big East standings after beating the Golden Eagles. Creighton is coming off an overtime victory on the road against UConn where they got absolutely torched by James Bouknight for 45 minutes.

Wednesday, December 23: #5 Villanova Wildcats at Marquette Golden Eagles (6pm Central, FS1) — Okay, yes, this doesn’t seem like a tremendous contest at face value with the 7-1 and 2-0 in league play Wildcats bringing their top 10 ranking to Milwaukee to face the 5-4 overall and 1-2 in the conference Golden Eagles. BUUUUUUUT we can’t ignore that Marquette has already beaten two teams that were ranked in the top 10 at the time AND the fact that Villanova has lost in each of their last two trips to the Cream City and three of the last four. Makes you wonder what Steve Wojciechowski has figured out about Jay Wright, eh?

Wednesday, December 23: DePaul Blue Demons vs Western Illinois Leathernecks (8pm Central, FS1) — This is one of the aforementioned non-conference games on the slate this week, but this one is particularly notable. As I type this on Monday morning, we are 58 hours away from tipoff for what is scheduled to be DePaul’s first game of the season. They have nine games listed on their schedule page as having not been played for whatever reason and in fact, as of Wednesday, this was not the scheduled game for this day. DePaul was supposed to be hosting Connecticut here, but because the Blue Demons are still inside the 14 day window from their most recent COVID-19 halt in activity, the Huskies were told by their state department of health that they can not visit Chicago. So, this game, originally scheduled for November 25th, the first day of the season, has been swapped in. Will this one finally get played? WHO KNOWS? If it’s not, then Sunday at Providence will be DePaul’s first game of the year. Probably. At this point, there’s a non-zero chance DePaul doesn’t play a game until the calendar says 2021 at the top.

Here’s the full Big East men’s basketball schedule for the week. As always, these dates and times are subject to change for a variety of reasons. If you see a schedule change that’s not listed here, send an email to anon.eagle@gmail.com or a tweet to @AnonymousEagle!

Big East MBB Schedule: Week Five

Date Game Time (CT) Television
Date Game Time (CT) Television
Mon., Dec. 21 Butler vs Southern Illinois 6:30 PM FS1
Wed., Dec. 23 Xavier at Creighton 2:00 PM FS1
Georgetown at Seton Hall 4:00 PM FS1
Providence at Butler 5:00 PM CBS Sports Network
Villanova at Marquette 6:00 PM FS1
DePaul vs Western Illinois 8:00 PM FS1
Sun., Dec. 27 DePaul at Providence 3:30 PM FS1