If we stuck to the normal Monday afternoon schedule for the Big Five, we’d miss at least two games of the week, maybe even three depending on availability after the Associated Press publishes the Top 25 poll. If you think we’re gonna wait and miss the opportunity to use a game between two top 15 teams at the moment, you are sorely mistaken.
We’ve also got a big time showdown in the women’s hoops side of the league, plus a total nightmare of a game over in the discarded league of jerks known as the AAC.
Let’s hit it!
Monday, January 16, 2017: Marquette at #12 Butler (11am Central, FS1) - I’ll admit that I was not expecting this to be in the list this week when I sat down to write this. But the rest of the week (outside of the next game we’ll talk about) has a bunch of top end teams in the Big East squaring up with the back half of the conference. Villanova-Providence? Eh. Butler-DePaul? Eh. You see my point. Marquette actually has two games that could fit into the category of “hey, what happens if the Golden Eagles win this game?” this week, but this is the first one of the week, so we’ll go with this one. Plus, I’m much more encouraged about the idea of MU being able to snipe a victory from a not-quite-ready Bulldogs squad at this early on a Monday as opposed to a regular Saturday afternoon start against Creighton.
Monday, January 16, 2017: #8 Creighton at #15 Xavier (1pm Central, FS1) - BEST GAME OF THE WEEK! And it’s going to happen before dinner time on Monday. That’s almost a waste of a great game. Creighton’s going to be looking to stay even with Villanova at one loss in league play, while Xavier’s going to be trying to drag the Jays down into the stack up of two loss squads after either Butler or Marquette already dropped to three Ls in the first game of the day. You can’t help but filter things through a Marquette lens around here, and did you realize that there’s an outside chance MU could be kind-of tied for first place by the end of the day on Monday? It’s true!
Sunday, January 22, 2017: St. John’s at Seton Hall (11am Central, FS1) - The Pirates lost to Providence on Saturday. They’ve lost two in a row now, and while both were road games and they weren’t favored in either of them, they were both winnable games for The Hall and head coach Kevin Willard was quite upset with his team’s effort after the loss to Providence. They have to go to The Pavilion to see #3 Villanova on Monday night in a rematch of last year’s Big East title game, and that might not/probably won’t go well for them. That’ll set up St. John’s coming to The Rock to face a Seton Hall squad on a three game slide and sure, Seton Hall’s favored, but St. John’s has been frisky at worst this season. I think the Red Storm could win in Newark, and boy, what would that mean for the Pirates’ postseason future if that happens?
The Big East Women’s Basketball Game Of The Week
Saturday, January 21, 2017: Marquette at #21 DePaul (7pm Central, Big East Digital Network) - If St. John’s had beaten Villanova on Sunday, we might have been able to make an argument for the Red Storm facing off with second place Creighton on Friday. That didn’t happen, though, so we’re going to focus on Saturday’s game in Chicago, which happens to be the only game of the week for first place DePaul. They’re the last of the travel partners to square off this season, and it’s a pretty big game for both teams. Marquette’s looking to make a statement that they have a shot at winning this league and bolster an already fairly solid NCAA tournament profile. DePaul finds themselves in position to essentially eliminate Marquette from challenging for the regular season title by handing the Golden Eagles their third loss. At 8-0, DePaul’s already beaten everyone in the league except for MU, and that seems unlikely to change on their second pass through the league.
The Worst American Athletic Conference Game Of The Week
Saturday, January 21, 2017: #22 Cincinnati at Tulane (3pm Central, CBS Sports Network) - Sometimes the AAC presents a week where it’s a little bit hard to point at a game and laugh. When you get a lot of teams in the middle-ish section of the conference tangling with each other, it’s not particularly easy to go “boy, that game blows.” That’s when we turn our attention to a ridiculous mismatch, and shoutout to Tulane for providing it for us this week. The Green Wave might not be in last place in the league right now, and they might not be projected to finish there. HOWEVER, Cincinnati has a 95% chance of winning this game. It’s in New Orleans. Tulane is #278 in KenPom at the moment, Cincinnati is #19. The Bearcats should SHRED this squad on their own floor to the point where it should look like a buy game except it’s not being played at First Third Bank Arena. That sounds like an awful game, and somehow, this pile of garbage is actually going to be on CBS Sports Network.