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Big East What To Watch: Week Five

The Battle with the Big 12 takes center stage here for this week’s highlights.

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 24 Div I Men’s Championship - Sweet Sixteen - Baylor v South Carolina
Baylor is the biggest opponent for the week in the Big East.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who’s ready for more Big East/Big 12 Battle action?

Last week, we had four of the games in this year’s series, and the two conferences split the two matchups. Xavier and Providence won for the Big East, while Kansas and Iowa State won for the Big 12. Five more of the games await us this week to decide this year’s series, as we can probably just go ahead and ascribe a victory to TCU in the final contest next week. They’re playing Georgetown for crying out loud.

Let’s dive into this week’s highlights!

Tuesday, December 7: Providence Friars vs Vermont Catamounts (5:30pm Central, FS1) — Don’t tell nobody, but Vermont is a top 100 team right now and the heavy favorite to win the America East. Providence fans seem to getting agitated that they aren’t earning national attention yet with their 8-1 start, which definitely means that the karma fairies could be out in force for this one.

Tuesday, December 7: #6 Villanova Wildcats vs Syracuse Orange (8pm Central, ESPN) — I think we’re supposed to care about this game because RASSUM FRASSUM BIG EAST BASKETBALL THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE PLAYED AT THE GARDEN IN NEW YORK but Villanova seems to be turning on the Roving Death Sphere engines lately, so this could be fun only if you like watching Jim Boeheim get red-faced at how bad his team looks. Which I do.

Tuesday, December 7: Butler Bulldogs at RV Oklahoma Sooners (8pm Central, ESPN2) — I know I should care about all of the Big East’s Major Seven non-conference games but this one feels an awful lot like Porter Moser’s guys taking turns driving the Sooner Schooner back and forth over the Bulldogs.

Wednesday, December 8: #15 Connecticut Huskies at West Virginia Mountaineers (6pm Central, ESPN2) — Yet more RASSUM FRASSUM, but this game will probably be more interesting than Villanova/Syracuse. UConn is dealing with a pair of injuries to Adama Sanogo and Tyrese Martin, while the Mountaineers have won four straight since Marquette rolled them up like a dirty hallway throw rug in the second half down in Charleston. They kind of need a win, and catching the Huskies right now might be good for them.

Wednesday, December 8: Marquette Golden Eagles at Kansas State Wildcats (8pm Central, ESPN2) — Don’t you just love a game where neither side is excited that the game was scheduled in the first place?

Thursday, December 9: #23 Seton Hall Pirates vs #7 Texas Longhorns (5:30pm Central, FS1) — Believe it or not, this is not the by default best game of the week. There’s a game with two teams both ranked better than the Longhorns on Sunday. But more on that later. This is a Big One for Seton Hall, as they went 1-1 against Michigan and Ohio State (both away from The Rock, so that’s fine) and after barely squeaking past Cal, they haven’t been challenged since right up to playing a non-D1 team in their most recent game. UT, on the other hand, hasn’t played anyone of note at all after their trip to Spokane where they got beat by Gonzaga. They need a non-conference win of any note whatsoever, but Seton Hall’s not going to go quietly on them.

Thursday, December 9: RV DePaul Blue Demons at #14 Kentucky Wildcats (6pm Central, SEC Network) — Well, you can’t accuse Doug Bruno and the Blue Demons from ducking anyone in their non-conference schedule, that’s for certain. They travel down to Lexington to face a Wildcats squad that’s more than happy to welcome a challenge seeing as they’re the 3rd best ranked team in the SEC out of the six in the AP poll right now.

Thursday, December 9: #3 Connecticut Huskies at RV Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6pm Central, ESPN2) — Beyond just another road test for his team, this will be a pretty interesting game for Geno Auriemma. Over the past season-plus, the Huskies have gotten used to playing with Paige Bueckers on the floor, and after the injury she suffered in the final minute of their Sunday game against Notre Dame, there’s almost no way she plays in this game. How does that impact what the Huskies do, especially in a road atmosphere in Atlanta?

Friday, December 10: DePaul Blue Demons at Louisville Cardinals (7pm Central, ACC Network) — Okay, look, maybe I’m the only one who cares about this, but I’m looking forward to this game just to watch the reactions from our friends over at Card Chronicle when DePaul keeps this close the entire way.

Saturday, December 11: Creighton Bluejays vs #24 BYU Cougars (11am Central, FS1) — This one is a neutral site game, and it’s being played at The Pentagon in South Dakota. That’s the building that has all the crazy basketball lines drawn on the floor, even though no one is ever going to play according to the rules from 100 years ago. Anyway, Creighton has lost both of their games against KenPom top 100 teams so far this season, while the Cougars are on the lookout for yet another Major Seven win to add to their collection.

Saturday, December 11: Georgetown Hoyas vs Syracuse Orange (11am Central, Fox) — Why on earth is this game on Fox? I’m only mentioning it because Syracuse is in the ACC. The entire Big East is better off if no one looks at Georgetown for the rest of the year, and their attendance numbers back that up. I do not envy John Fanta, who has been forced to go to this game and do the Big East Shoot Around digital show from D.C. Y’all are very mean for voting him into that.

Saturday, December 11: #3 Connecticut Huskies vs RV UCLA Bruins (Noon Central, ABC) — I know it wasn’t an option for the poll, but I think Fanta should have gone to this event. This is the front end of an all-UConn doubleheader at the Prudential Center in New Jersey, and why wouldn’t you want to take the opportunity to highlight both Huskies squads? Anyway, all that stuff I said earlier about Paige Bueckers goes again here, although I presume that The Rock will have many more UConn fans than UCLA fans.

Saturday, December 11: Marquette Golden Eagles vs #4 UCLA Bruins (8:30pm Central, FS2) — It’s the second time this season that Marquette will be hosting a team that entered the season with legitimate national championship ideas in their head. I think it’s safe to say that Mick Cronin and the Bruins will be better prepared than Illinois was, but hey: Weirder things have happened in this sport!

Saturday, December 11: #15 Connecticut Huskies vs RV St. Bonaventure Bonnies (2:30pm Central, ESPN2) — Here’s the other half of the UConn MBB/WBB doubleheader at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. Why UConn on both ends? I dunno. Anyway, this one looked a lot better back on Thanksgiving Day, back before the Bonnies lost to Northern Iowa and struggled with Coppin State AND lost Kyle Lofton for the time being to an ankle injury. UConn has their own issues too, as mentioned above, but that just might make SBU hungrier for a second win over a Big East team.

Saturday, December 11: Xavier Musketeers vs Cincinnati Bearcats (7:30pm Central, FS1) — Do I need to go into long detail about why this game is important and great? #ZipEmUp

Sunday, December 12: Villanova Wildcats vs #23 Oregon State Beavers (1pm Central, FloSports) — Yep, the top 25 ranked Beavers come into the Finn to see what Denise Dillon and the Wildcats have in store for them. It, uh, might not be much, as VU is already 3-5 this season after opening up Big East play with back-to-back losses on the road against Providence and Creighton, but Dillon’s gameplan is designed to be high efficiency, and if the shots are falling, they can beat anyone.

Sunday, December 12: #6 Villanova Wildcats at #2 Baylor Bears (2pm Central, ABC) — Yep, this is the aforementioned game with two better ranked teams. Clearly the game of the week in the Big East with two top 10 teams banging heads. We already talked about Villanova’s activation of their full potential, but they’ve lost twice already when facing a national contender this season. What will happen when they go down to Texas for a third?

Sunday, December 12: #23 Seton Hall Pirates vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6:30pm Central, FS1) — Back-to-back days with big time non-conference rivalry games in the Big East! This one isn’t quite as fun as XU/UC, but that has more to do with the long time history of Rutgers being not so great.... and it sadly seems that Steve Pikiell’s squad is slipping back towards that direction with losses to Lafayette and UMass already this season.

Here’s the full men’s basketball schedule for the week!

Big East MBB Schedule: Week 5

Date Game Time (CT) Television
Date Game Time (CT) Television
Tuesday, December 7 Providence vs Vermont 5:30 PM FS1
DePaul vs Duquesne 7:30 PM FS1
#6 Villanova at Syracuse 8:00 PM ESPN
Butler at RV Oklahoma 8:00 PM ESPN2
Wednesday, December 8 RV Xavier vs Ball State 5:30 PM FS1
#15 Connecticut at West Virginia 6:00 PM ESPN2
Georgetown vs UMBC 7:30 PM FS1
Marquette at Kansas State 8:00 PM ESPN2
Thursday, December 9 #23 Seton Hall vs #7 Texas 5:30 PM FS1
St. John's vs Monmouth 7:30 PM FS1
Friday, December 10 DePaul at Louisville 7:00 PM ACC Network
Saturday, December 11 Creighton vs #24 BYU (@ The Pentagon) 11:00 AM FS1
Georgetown vs Syracuse 11:00 AM Fox
Providence vs Central Connecticut State 1:00 PM FS1
#15 Connecticut vs RV St. Bonaventure (@ Prudential Center) 2:30 PM ESPN2
Butler vs Eastern Illinois 3:00 PM FS1
RV Xavier vs Cincinnati 7:30 PM FS1
Marquette vs #4 UCLA 8:30 PM FS2
Sunday, December 12 St. John's vs Colgate 11:00 AM FS1
#6 Villanova at #2 Baylor 2:00 PM ABC
#23 Seton Hall vs Rutgers 6:30 PM FS1