Okay, so look. There’s a Big East men’s basketball game on Monday night, so you’re seeing this on Monday morning, before the AP Poll comes out. I’m publishing this with the rankings from last week’s poll for the time being, and then once the poll is out, it will get updated with the new ones. I presume that all five Big East teams will stay ranked in the new poll, although Butler is a big question mark after that hilariously awful loss to Georgetown on Saturday. In any case, let’s dive in and look at the highlights across the league slate this week.
Tuesday, February 18: #15 Creighton Bluejays at #19 Marquette Golden Eagles (7:30pm Central, FS1) - Heading into the week, Creighton is alone in second place in the league at 9-4. Marquette sits... I don’t know how to calculate this. MU is 7-5, so two back in the win column and one back in the loss column. Marquette will be looking for revenge from their Big East opening awful loss to the Jays down in Omaha back on New Year’s Day, not to mention bouncing back from losing narrowly to Villanova in their only game last week after falling behind by 18. Creighton, on the other hand, smashed DePaul into little bits on Saturday to run their winning streak to three games as well as seven of the last eight. That’s pretty, pretty, pretty good. It’s probably not going to be a picnic for either side, so at least the Golden Eagles have the home court advantage in this one.
Wednesday, February 19: #21 Butler Bulldogs at #16 Seton Hall Pirates (5:30pm Central, FS1) - The Pirates have lost two in a row and three of their last five after a 16-4 start to the season and eight straight wins in Big East play. Oh, and Kevin Willard went on the radio after getting plowed right out of the gate by Providence on Saturday and talked about how his players are being Mopey Mikes about their playing time on a squad that used to be ranked in the top 10. The Bulldogs are 7-6 in conference play after going 12-1 in non-con action, with the only loss coming just barely by one point to the current #1 team in the country. Butler has lost three of their last five games, including an absolute embarrassment on Saturday where Georgetown played six guys and needed three of them to play 40 minutes due to injuries. Oh, and this game was at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Long story short, both sides desperately need a win here to snap themselves out of a funk, but only one side will get said win. By the way: Myles Powell is shooting 31% from behind the arc on the year, 25.6% in Big East games, and 22.4% in Seton Hall’s last seven contests. He’s, uh, actively bad right now.
Saturday, February 22: #19 Marquette Golden Eagles at Providence Friars (11am Central, Fox) - The Golden Eagles lost to Providence at home earlier this season, so returning the favor at The Dunk would be a very advantageous thing for Markus Howard and Friends to do. Meanwhile, the Friars breathed life into their postseason picture by absolutely stomping down Seton Hall on Saturday (don’t let the final score fool you, the Friars had a 28-3 run in the first 11 minutes), although an NCAA tournament bid is prrrrrrobably? out of the question right now. You know what would help answer that question? Beating a very good Marquette team for the second time this season. Oh, and it’s Marquette/Providence, so something dumb is probably going to happen.
Saturday, February 22: #12 Villanova Wildcats at Xavier Musketeers (1:30pm Central, Fox) - Xavier is currently 16-9 overall, 5-7 in league play, and as of Sunday night, sitting nine spots clear of the cutline on BracketMatrix.com. That seems pretty good for the Musketeers, who had a three game winning streak snapped back on Wednesday on the road against Butler. They’ll visit St. John’s on Monday night before this game, which may or may not led more importance to this contest in general. Villanova figured out a way to hold on to beat Marquette back on Wednesday to snap a three game losing streak and then shelled Temple to win the Big 5 title on Sunday.
Sunday, February 23: #21 Butler Bulldogs at #15 Creighton Bluejays (3pm Central, FS1) - I have no idea what will happen to either of these squads in their respective games against ranked teams earlier in the week. What I do know is that when two ranked teams face off, this is a big deal. I’m presuming that Butler stays ranked, but hey, maybe AP voters hate LaVall Jordan’s ridiculous late game fouling strategy that has nothing to do with actually managing to win and thus they won’t vote for BU at all. No matter what happens earlier in the week to both squads, this one is going to carry a lot of weight. Butler might need this week to get back above .500 in the league. Creighton might be looking to 1) stay as close to and/or get out in front of leader Seton Hall or B) bounce back from a tenacious encounter in Milwaukee to stay within shouting distance of the Pirates. For whatever it’s worth, Butler won the first meeting between the two sides in Indianapolis, 71-57.
Here’s the full men’s basketball schedule for the week, with all times Central as always.
Big East MBB Schedule: Week 16
|Mon., February 17||Xavier at St. John's||5:30 PM||FS1|
|Tues., February 18||#15 Creighton at #19 Marquette||7:30 PM||FS1|
|Wed., February 19||#21 Butler at #16 Seton Hall||5:30 PM||FS1|
|Providence at Georgetown||7:30 PM||FS1|
|#12 Villanova at DePaul||8:00 PM||CBS Sports Network|
|Sat., February 22||#19 Marquette at Providence||11:00 AM||Fox|
|#12 Villanova at Xavier||1:30 PM||Fox|
|Georgetown at DePaul||8:00 PM||FS1|
|Sun., February 23||St. John's at #16 Seton Hall||1:00 PM||CBS|
|#21 Butler at #15 Creighton||3:00 PM||FS1|