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Big East Big Five: Week Nine

Big week of games ahead for the league...

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Xavier vs DePaul David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

We’re not going to put it on the list of the most important games of the week, but the low key important game of the week is on Monday night: St. John’s at Georgetown. Show of hands: Who thinks the Red Storm are perfectly capable of going into the Verizon Center and grabbing their - wait for it - THIRD league win of the year? Oh, look, everyone’s hands are up. Georgetown has lost 10 straight regular season league games, five straight against Big East opponents, 11 of the last 12, and 14 of the last 16. Things are THAT BAD in our nation’s capital, and they DESPERATELY need to beat SJU.

But there’s better games to pay attention to this week, and no, I don’t mean the Hoyas hosting Connecticut on Saturday, either.

Use This Big Five

Tuesday, January 10, 2017: #15 Xavier at #3 Villanova (6pm Central, FS1) - I don’t know for sure that Jay Wright did anything to fire his troops up for their game against Marquette after losing to Butler on Wednesday. We do know that Villanova was not fooling around, though. Now they get a chance to host a 3-0 Musketeers team that’s sitting on top of the Big East standings by themselves? Boy, that’s a one way trip back to Not Fooling Around Town if I’ve ever heard it. Flip side is that Xavier gets a chance to steal a road win off the Wildcats and give themselves a two game lead in the standings, at least over the three-time, three-time, three-time regular season champs.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017: Seton Hall at Marquette (6pm Central, FS1) - I said it before the season started: Marquette is going to have a rough start to the Big East season. It’s safe to say that’s the case here, as the Golden Eagles let a chance to beat Seton Hall slip through their hands and got stomped out by Villanova. With the way the schedule is set up for MU, 2-6 might be the best case scenario for their first eight games, but 3-5 is possible.... as long as they beat the Pirates on Wednesday night. You want to see Marquette in the NCAA tournament? Then they have to win on Wednesday. Simple as that. Meanwhile, Seton Hall would sure love to move to 3-1 in league play, especially with Villanova already holding a loss, and double especially if Xavier falls in the Pavilion on Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017: #12 Butler at #8 Creighton (8pm Central, FS1) - You know who’s standing around cheering for Villanova on Tuesday night? These two teams. If the Wildcats get the W, then this game turns into a tiebreaker game, since both squads are 3-1. Winner gets to stay tied with Xavier and Villanova, loser is looking up at those three in the standings, and maybe even Seton Hall depending on how the early game goes. You know that the Bulldogs are A-OK with being in a tie with Villanova since they can’t do any worse than a season split with the Wildcats. There’s also the fun of getting to see two of the five best players in the league square off in Kelan Martin and Maurice Watson.

The Big East Women’s Basketball Game Of The Week

Tuesday, January 10, 2017: #21 DePaul at St. John’s (6pm Central, Big East Digital Network) - I was actually kind of hoping that picking this game would be more complicated. See, this game is only the GOTW because the Red Storm beat Marquette on Sunday afternoon. The 5-0 Blue Demons visiting 2-2 St. John’s? Not that interesting. Visiting 3-1 St. John’s, with the Red Storm half a game back of second place Creighton? That’s some intrigue. DePaul can continue to expand their lead on the conference with a win and St. John’s can lay claim to being a title contender if they come away with the W.

The Worst American Athletic Conference Game Of The Week

Wednesday, January 11, 2017: Tulane at USF (6pm Central, ESPN3) - Yes, you read that right, ESPN3. The AAC has two, count ‘em, two sub-200 KenPom teams, and you’re looking at them right here. If there’s better way to pick the worst game in a league in any given week, I’d like to hear it. If you want to pick a side here, then you’re looking for South Florida to win in a landslide. Tulane is #291 in the ol’ KenPom rankings, and it would be pretty fun if they get knocked down into the sub-300 area. If you think that’s not possible, well, they started the year at #228, peaked at #215, and are now in total free fall after losing back to back home games against McNeese State and Texas State, with the latter coming in overtime. Boy, the Mike Dunleavy Era is sure going well.