Are we having fun yet so far, Big East basketball fans? We’re more than halfway through the league slate, and the big stories and jostling for spots in the standings are just stacking up left, right, and center. That’s for both men’s basketball and women’s basketball, so buckle up and let’s dive on in to see what’s on tap this week.
Wednesday, February 12: Xavier Musketeers at #19 Butler Bulldogs (5:30pm Central, CBS Sports Network) - Since losing to Marquette in double overtime on January 29, Xavier has rattled off three straight wins, including a major road W over Seton Hall in their very next game. They’re still underwater in the Big East standings right now, but thanks to a solid non-conference performance, the collective wisdom of BracketMatrix.com has them still in the NCAA tournament field as of Monday morning, although just barely. Going to Hinkle Fieldhouse and scoring another significant victory would go a long way towards keeping Travis Steele’s team in the conversation. Meanwhile, on the other side of things,
Fouly McFoulface LaVall Jordan’s Butler squad is starting to have as much trouble negotiating Big East play as their bus did attempting to leave Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon. After going 12-1 in non-con play with the loss to the team that’s currently ranked #1 in the country (by only one point on the road!), Kamar Baldwin and friends are now 6-5 in Big East play after losing to Marquette. They almost need this win more than Xavier does.
Wednesday, February 12: #23 Creighton Bluejays at #10 Seton Hall Pirates (5:30pm Central, FS1) - The Bluejays are 7-4 in the Big East and part of a three-way tie for second place in the conference. They’ve won five of the last six, with only a road trip to Providence as the slip up in there. This is their first tangle with Seton Hall of the season, so it’s an excellent opportunity for Marcus Zegarowski et. al. to firmly establish themselves as a postseason contender and maaaaaybe just maybe damage Seton Hall’s shot at the Big East regular season title. That’s the big kicker for Myles Powell and company in this one, as they have a three game lead in the standings with seven games to play.
Wednesday, February 12: #18 Marquette Golden Eagles at #15 Villanova Wildcats (7:30pm Central, FS1) - My goodness, what a doubleheader FS1 lucked into on Wednesday night. These games have been locked in place for this day since September, so it’s just random chance that all four squads on FS1 are ranked and also in the top four spots in the league standings. Marquette and Villanova are the other two teams in the three-way tie for second place with Creighton right now, so both of them will have a chance to be alone in second place with a win and a Creighton loss in the early game. The Golden Eagles are riding high with wins in six of their last seven, while Villanova has lost three straight, including two at home to — SURPRISE — Creighton and Seton Hall. Oh, and, by the way: Markus Howard is 22 points away from breaking the Big East’s all-time league games scoring record, and he averages 27.4 per game this season and 28.5 in Big East games. Seems important.
Friday, February 14: Butler Bulldogs at #13 DePaul Blue Demons (7pm Central, Big East Digital Network) - We’ve got two women’s basketball games to highlight this week, and both involve Butler. The Bulldogs are currently 9-3 in league play and sit alone in second place in the standings. On Friday night, they’ll be in Chicago to tangle with first place DePaul. The Blue Demons have suffered just one league loss so far, so it’s not like first place is on the line here. However, this is a prime opportunity for the Bulldogs to yank themselves closer to Kelly Campbell’s squad and try to insert themselves into the conversation for that top spot in the conference tournament.
Saturday, February 15: Georgetown Hoyas at #19 Butler Bulldogs (1:30pm Central, Fox) - Hey, congratulations, Butler! No matter what happened to you on Wednesday night, your reward for that outcome is getting to host Georgetown! The Hoyas are in Bracket Matrix’s “Next Four Out” grouping as of Monday morning, and they’re coming off a thrilling comeback home victory over DePaul this past Saturday where they had just seven players see action, and one of them was George Muresan who played only two minutes. That’s a scrappy bunch of dudes who are going to be hungry for another win to keep themselves alive for an NCAA bid AND they’re going to have a week off to get healthy, too!
Sunday, February 16: Butler Bulldogs at Marquette Golden Eagles (2pm Central, Big East Digital Network) - This is the aforementioned other women’s game of the week we wanted to mention here. Friday is a big spot for the Bulldogs, but you can easily argue that this game is more important to them in terms of the league standings. First year head coach Megan Duffy has her squad at 9-4 in the standings right now, just a half-game behind Butler. Kristin Spolyar and the Bulldogs will not be favored to win at DePaul on Friday, but Butler can still salvage a quality weekend by beating the Golden Eagles, just like they did at Hinkle Fieldhouse earlier this season. That would give Butler some breathing room in the standings. Of course, Selena Lott and the Golden Eagles would like nothing more than to go 2-0 this weekend and wrap up their second revenge win from their first trip through the league after they knocked off Creighton at the McGuire Center on February 2nd. Not only would that even the season series between the two, but it would also provide Marquette the advantage for second place as the league slate starts to wind towards a conclusion.
Here’s the full men’s basketball schedule for the week, with all times Central as always.
Big East MBB Schedule: Week 15
|Wed., February 12
|Xavier at #19 Butler
|CBS Sports Network
|#23 Creighton at #10 Seton Hall
|Providence at St. John's
|CBS Sports Network
|#18 Marquette at #15 Villanova
|Sat., February 15
|Georgetown at #19 Butler
|DePaul at #23 Creighton
|#10 Seton Hall at Providence
|CBS Sports Network
|Sun., February 16
|#15 Villanova at Temple