I’m so sorry, finals week. I didn’t mean what I said about you last week.
Turns out that the week AFTER finals week is actually worse for appointment viewing basketball in the Big East. It seems that we have a couple of schools doing finals this week, and thus not playing during the week, which knocks down the strength of the overall week’s schedule. On top of that, it appears that almost no one who is playing wants to tangle with a very quality foe in between finals and Christmas. No bueno, man.
Next week will be great because it will be nothing but league games to chatter about. This week is being carried by the women’s side of the aisle though, as three teams take on ranked foes this week, with one each at home, on the road, and on a neutral floor.
Monday, December 18: Xavier Musketeers vs #16 Missouri Tigers (4pm Central, Streaming provided by Keiser University) - So, this is something called the “West Palm Beach Invitational,” and XU’s women’s team already picked up a win against Furman on Sunday. Here, they get to tangle with the # ranked Tigers in what is clearly the high point of their non-conference schedule. Mizzou has just one loss on the season, a neutral site stumble against Western Kentucky. They’ve won 10 straight since then, and are coming off of a 20 point beatdown of Indiana on Sunday.
Monday, December 18: UT Arlington Mavericks at #25 Creighton Bluejays (8pm Central, FS1) - Ok, look, yes, KenPom has this as an 84% chance of victory for Creighton, so maybe it doesn’t jump off the page at you as a quality game. However, Arlington has won at least 24 games in each of the past two seasons, and they won the Sun Belt regular season title by two games last season. They project as the co-favorites this year, and they’re currently a top 80 KenPom team. This is a pretty quality game for the Jays to schedule, not unlike Marquette and Vermont.
Wednesday, December 20: Marquette Golden Eagles at #2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2pm Central, ACC Network Extra) - The 10-1 Irish women’s team has been pushed by quality teams this season, winning by just 5 on the road against Oregon State, by just 10 on a neutral floor against South Florida, and just nine against DePaul on Sunday. Marquette has shown that they can compete against tippy top teams this season, but the Golden Eagles are without a single notable non-conference win so far this season. Can MU’s need for a signature win counter Notre Dame’s seemingly wrecking ball status?
Wednesday, December 20: Providence Friars vs Houston Cougars (6pm Central, ESPNU) - I’ll admit that this second half of the Holiday Showcase at Mohegan Sun Casino (St. John’s vs Saint Joseph’s is the front half) didn’t immediately shout “HEY THIS SHOULD BE GOOD AND/OR IMPORTANT” at me to start with. Then I realized that KenPom actually favors the Cougars to get the W. Providence has been struggling a bit since Thanksgiving with narrow wins Belmont, Rider, and Stony Brook, and losing to Rhode Island and UMass. Now, the UMass loss looks a bit better with the Minutemen stinging noted Marquette foe Georgia on Saturday, but the Friars are still in a position where they need a quality win to shine up their postseason profile.
Thursday, December 21: #13 Florida State Seminoles at Creighton Bluejays (6pm Central, GoCreighton.com) - We should be making a bigger deal out of the fact that CU women’s hoops is going to be hosting a top 15 ranked team in their barn on Thursday night. This is a massively big deal for the Jays, who have lost in a two possession game twice, and came within nine against an excellent UCLA team, and all of those games were either on the road or on a neutral floor. D.J. Sokol Arena is a hard place for anyone to play, and I’m sure the joint will be jumping when the Seminoles come to town. FSU is coming off a 15 point loss at Texas, so they’ll be fired up to get back in the win column.
Friday, December 22: #9 Xavier Musketeers at Northern Iowa Panthers (8pm Central, CBS Sports Network) - This is a return bout from a home-and-home series started last season in Cincinnati. FUN FACT THAT I FORGOT ABOUT: Xavier beat UNI twice in a seven day span last season after the two teams met in the title game of the Advocare Invitational. The Panthers have wins against SMU, NC State, UNLV, and the aforementioned UT Arlington Squad, so they’re capable against quality teams. They’ve also gotten smashed by North Carolina and Villanova, and they’re coming off an 11 point neutral loss to in-state rival Iowa State. This won’t be a picnic for the Musketeers, especially with Northern Iowa trying to play slower than Wisconsin or Virginia.
Here’s the full rundown for the week for men’s basketball.
Big East Basketball Week 7
|Date||Game||Time (CT)||TV Network|
|Date||Game||Time (CT)||TV Network|
|Mon., Dec. 18||Northern Illinois at Marquette||6:00 PM||FS1|
|UT Arlington at #25 Creighton||8:00 PM||FS1|
|Tues., Dec. 19||Marshall at #9 Xavier||5:30 PM||FS1|
|Morehead State at Butler||7:30 PM||FS1|
|Wed., Dec. 20||St. John's vs Saint Joseph's (Mohegan Sun Arena)||3:30 PM||ESPNU|
|Providence vs Houston (Mohegan Sun Arena)||6:00 PM||ESPNU|
|North Texas at Georgetown||6:00 PM||FS2|
|Wagner at #23 Seton Hall||6:00 PM||FS1|
|USC Upstate at #25 Creighton||8:00 PM||FS1|
|Thurs., Dec. 21||Western Illinois at Butler||6:00 PM||Fox Sports Regional|
|American at Marquette||6:00 PM||FS1|
|Miami (OH) at DePaul||8:00 PM||FS1|
|Fri., Dec. 22||Sacred Heart at Providence||5:30 PM||FS1|
|Hofstra at #1 Villanova||7:30 PM||FS1|
|#9 Xavier at Northern Iowa||8:00 PM||CBS Sports Network|
|Sat., Dec. 23||Alabama A&M at Georgetown||11:00 AM||FS1|
|Manhattan at #23 Seton Hall||11:00 AM||Fox Sports Regional|