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Big East What To Watch: Week 2

It’s Gavitt Games Week! Lots of excellent Big East contests going on here.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Semifinals-Michigan State vs Texas Tech Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be honest: We had to fight for reasons to find the matchups in the first week of the season to be interesting.

This week? Not the case! Thanks to the 2019 Gavitt Tipoff Games, we’ve got a stacked up week of games all over the place that could be at the very worst described as “notable.” A lot of them could probably called “pivotal” or “significant.” In fact, we’ve got so many worthwhile games here this week that I can’t even spend time talking about all of them, because otherwise this rundown of the highlights would go on for 2,000 words. That’s all you can really ask for when it comes to non-conference scheduling, to be honest.

Monday, November 11th: DePaul Blue Demons at Iowa Hawkeyes (7pm Central, FS1) - I’m highlighting this game for one reason and one reason only. This will be the first time this season that Dave Leitao will be on the bench for the Blue Demons this season. I bring this up for the following reasons: 1) Dave Leitao was suspended for three games by the NCAA for failure to monitor his program; 2) Dave Leitao has a record of 48-82 in his second stint at DePaul, which means even though DePaul was cheating to land Leitao in hot water, they weren’t even very good at it; and 3) DePaul crammed in a game against the University of Chicago on Wednesday, the day after their opener, to make sure that Leitao would be available to coach this game in Iowa City. By the way: the Hawkeyes are favored by eight according to KenPom.com. Super decision making all around, DePaul!

Tuesday, November 12th: #21 Xavier Musketeers vs Missouri Tigers (6pm Central, CBS Sports Network) - Yes, yes, yes, all of the excitement this week is focused on the Gavitt Games. However, I wanted to point this one out, because Xavier is one of the Big East teams left out of the yearly event with the Big Ten this time around and they went ahead and scheduled themselves a high major opponent to fit right into the same time slot as the Gavitt Games. Nicely done, five House Cup points for XU.

Wednesday, November 13th: #10 Villanova Wildcats at #16 Ohio State Buckeyes (6pm Central, FS1) - By default for reasons that we’ll get into in a moment, this game is now the crown jewel of the Gavitt Tipoff Games. It’s the highest ranked team in the Big East going on the road to face a ranked Big Ten opponent, and there aren’t any other assorted issues that are going to detract from the game that we’re aware of at this point. You can make arguments that other GTG contests are more important or have potentially bigger impact for their participants, but this is the one that deserves the biggest national spotlight heading into the week.

Wednesday, November 13th: Marquette Golden Eagles vs Purdue Boilermakers (8pm Central, FS1) - Okay, so this one doesn’t look as great as it did just three days ago, thanks to Purdue losing at home to Texas on Saturday. As a result, the Boilermakers aren’t ranked any more, and this isn’t quite as much of an opportunity for Marquette to make a statement on a national level. It is, however, still a Purdue squad that’s projected to compete for the Big Ten title according to KenPom.com, and with MU and Purdue both earning AP poll votes this week, a win here for both sides could result in getting into the poll next week if things break right in their direction.

Thursday, November 14th: #12 Seton Hall Pirates vs #1 Michigan State Spartans (7:30pm Central, FS1) - Believe it or not, this is Michigan State’s first ever appearance in the Gavitt Games. For the first few years of the scheduled event, the Spartans were left out of it because they were habitually in the Champions Classic on the Tuesday of the GTG week. However, with the season moving the start day back to a Tuesday and the Champions Classic electing to play on that date, Michigan State is now (at least mostly) available to fulfill their commitment to their schedule participation in the event. Sadly, this game, which was the obvious headliner to the Gavitt Games heading into the season, lost a lot of its luster on Saturday when Myles Powell suffered an ankle injury and it was announced by Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard that Powell would miss more than a game or two. This is SHU’s very next game, so it seems that Powell will miss this one and thus put the Pirates at a major disadvantage against Cassius Winston and the rest of the Spartans. It’s not out of hand to say that as goes Powell, so goes Seton Hall, and if he can’t play, I can’t possibly see how Seton Hall has a chance to knock off Michigan State, even at the Prudential Center.

Sunday, November 17th: Marquette Golden Eagles at Wisconsin Badgers (Noon Central, FS1) - It’s a road game against a high major conference opponent, so that has to be highlighted. Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski is undefeated in the arena that this game will be played in.

Sunday, November 17th: #12 Seton Hall Pirates at Saint Louis Billikens (3pm Central, ESPNU) - Why is this one on here? Two reasons, and we already talked about the first one: Myles Powell probably isn’t going to be available for this game, which adds a certain amount of uncertainty to the proceedings. That uncertainty lends itself to a certain amount of importance when you take into account the other reason why we’re looking at this one: Last year’s game between these two teams. SLU won in Newark, 66-64. Now the home-and-home shifts to The Gateway City and Chaifetz Arena. SLU is projected to be a middle of the pack Atlantic 10 team this season, but they are coming off an NCAA tournament appearance after winning the A10 tourney a year ago. Travis Ford already outdueled Kevin Willard on Willard’s home turf, so can the Billikens use their home court to their advantage this time? How will Seton Hall react if they’re heading into this one if they lose to Michigan State at home earlier in the week?

Here’s the schedule for the week! All times Central, as always.

Big East MBB Schedule: Week 2

Date Game Time (CT) Television
Date Game Time (CT) Television
Mon., November 11 DePaul at Iowa 7:00 PM FS1
Tues., November 12 Creighton at Michigan 5:30 PM FS1
St. John's vs New Hampshire 6:00 PM FS2
#21 Xavier vs Missouri 6:00 PM CBS Sports Network
Butler vs Minnesota 7:30 PM FS1
Wed., November 13 #10 Villanova at #16 Ohio State 6:00 PM FS1
Providence at Northwestern 8:00 PM Big Ten Network
Marquette vs Purdue 8:00 PM FS1
Thurs., November 14 Georgetown vs Penn State 5:30 PM FS1
#12 Seton Hall vs #3 Michigan State 7:30 PM FS1
Fri., November 15 #21 Xavier vs Missouri State 6:00 PM Fox Sports Regional
Sat., November 16 #10 Villanova vs Ohio 11:00 AM FS2
DePaul vs Cornell Noon Fox Sports Regional
Providence vs St. Peter's 1:00 PM FS2
St. John's vs Vermont 3:00 PM FS2
Creighton vs Louisiana Tech 4:00 PM FS2
Butler vs Wofford 7:00 PM FS2
Sun., November 17 Marquette at Wisconsin Noon FS1
#12 Seton Hall at Saint Louis 3:00 PM ESPNU
Georgetown vs Georgia State 6:30 PM FS1