A bit of housekeeping before we proceed: There will not be a What To Watch next week. There’s only three games for the entire week, all three are on Saturday, and all three are on FS1. They’ll get covered in the Saturday Viewing Guide, as per usual, but that’s it for the entire seven day stretch, due to Christmas. Instead, somewhere in there, we’ll fit in a Where Are We Now? for men’s basketball, even though there are those three final non-conference games to finish up.
As for this week, HOLY CRAP, it is LOADED with Major Seven matchups for the Big East. This might get a little long, because I’m counting 10 of those M7 games amongst the 18 games on the docket for this week. Even with all of those, there’s still a couple of better-than-you-think type of games lurking in the background, too.
Monday, December 16: #2 Connecticut Huskies at #16 DePaul Blue Demons (7pm Central, FS1) - Yep, starting off with a women’s basketball game. It’s the preseason favorite in the Big East this season against the presumptive 2020-21 preseason favorite in the Big East. This will be a conference game next year, so that adds an extra layer of excitement to the proceedings. The Huskies are 8-0 this year with a 92-78 win at Seton Hall already on the books, and they’re coming off an 81-57 home detonation of Notre Dame eight days earlier.
Tuesday, December 17: Providence Friars vs Florida Gators (6pm Central, ESPN2) - This game is coming to us live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn as part of the Basketball Hall Of Fame Invitational, and it’s the second game of a triple-header. I’m bringing this one up because 1) it’s a Major Seven foe, 2) it’s Florida’s third game against the Big East this season with a win over Xavier and a loss to Butler, and 3) it’s the first of two M7 games this week for Providence. If you want to call this 3A you can, but, uh, Providence has no good wins so far this season, and they’ve taken on bad losses to Long Beach State and Charleston. after starting out the year at #30 in KenPom.com, they’re dipped to #75 and appear to be rapidly heading towards the basement in the Big East. They need wins, badly, and this might not be an easy way to get them.
Tuesday, December 17: Creighton Bluejays vs Oklahoma Sooners (7:30pm Central, FS1) - Is Creighton good this year? I’m not 100% sure. I think we all wrote them off a bit after Jacob Epperson’s injury, but they’re still 8-2 on the year with a pair of top 100 KenPom wins. Then again, those wins are against Louisiana Tech and in overtime against a very confusing Texas Tech team. Like Providence, the Bluejays have two Major Seven games this week, so we may learn a lot about what they are this season.
Wednesday, December 18: DePaul Blue Demons at Cleveland State Vikings (6pm Central, ESPN3) - Hey, remember when #RankDePaul was a thing for 15 minutes, and it referred to putting the undefeated Blue Demons into the AP Top 25 and not their awful smell? Yeah, well, that went out the door when they lost at home to Buffalo. They snagged a home win over UIC on Saturday, but now they go on the road to see Cleveland State for some ridiculous reason. I think that this might tell us an awful lot about what the Blue Demons are this season, even if they are favored by 16 on KenPom.com, maybe even because of that.
Thursday, December 19: Seton Hall Pirates vs #7 Maryland Terrapins (6pm Central, FS1) - Well, this one was already downgraded a bit when Sandro Mamukelashvili broke his wrist. Now Myles Powell has a concussion that limited him to 15 first half minutes in SHU’s kind of hilarious loss to Rutgers on Saturday. With four full days between games, it’s hard to say if Powell will be cleared for this game, but it’s also not impossible. Seton Hall desperately needs any kind of a positive win from their non-conference schedule, as their best win is currently on a neutral floor against Iowa State, but they also lost at Iowa State in their very next game. If Powell and Sando are both out, the Pirates may not stand a chance against the Terps.
Friday, December 20: Marquette Golden Eagles vs North Dakota State Bison (8pm Central, FS1) - I know, it doesn’t jump out at you as important. But the Bison are currently projected into a three-way tie for the Summit League regular season title on KenPom.com, and a game back of South Dakota on BartTorvik.com. Either way, they’re a top 200 squad ready to contend for their league’s title, and that’s a quality contest to watch.
Saturday, December 21: Providence Friars vs Texas Longhorns (1pm Central, Fox) - Remember all that stuff I wrote about Providence earlier? Well, here’s Major Seven game #2 of the week for them. This one is at the Dunk, so that’s an advantage for them. Texas comes in with five straight wins and only one loss — to Georgetown of all teams — on the season. They’ll be fired up for the win, and Providence might really need it after Tuesday night.
Saturday, December 21: #17 Butler Bulldogs vs Purdue Boilermakers (1:30pm Central, Big Ten Network) - This comes to you from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, as it’s Crossroads Classic weekend in Indiana. Butler has just one loss on the season, a narrow 53-52 defeat on the road against a very good Baylor squad, and believe it or not, the Bulldogs appear to be prepared to contend for a Big East title. Purdue appears to be a very good team in terms of efficiency ratings, but they’re also a notably flawed team, with losses to Texas, Marquette, and Florida State on the books. Both sides will want this win in a big way.
Saturday, December 21: Creighton Bluejays at Arizona State Sun Devils (7:30pm Central, Pac-12 Network) - If we don’t learn anything about the Jays earlier in the week, we get another chance here. Arizona State is riding a five game winning streak as you read this, and has only lost to Colorado (in China, and not in a Pac-12 game) and Virginia this season. They’ll host Saint Mary’s in between, and will yet again give Creighton a solid test this week.
Saturday, December 21: St. John’s Red Storm vs #16 Arizona Wildcats (9pm Central, ESPN2) - If you’re like me, then you’re wondering why St. John’s is going to San Francisco to play Arizona. It turns out that it’s the first ever Al Attles Classic. Attles is a longtime Golden State Warriors player, coach, and general manager, which is why this is being played at Golden State’s brand new arena. As for why this game involves St. John’s and Arizona, I have no idea. Anyway, the Wildcats are favored, but this is definitely a neutral court game, so anything could happen. St. John’s has been probably better than expected in Mike Anderson’s first 11 games as head coach, but then again, maybe that’s to be expected because Anderson knows what he’s doing.
Sunday, December 22: Xavier Musketeers at TCU Horned Frogs (4pm Central, ESPN2) - Losing at Wake Forest was probably not the way Xavier wanted to follow up their home win over Cincinnati, but here we are. Now they’ll be down in Fort Worth to see Jamie Dixon and company, although they’ll have a mid-week joust with Western Carolina to break things up. TCU might be ticketed for the back end of the Big 12 this season, but that’s not that much of an indictment of the Horned Frogs, as they’re currently #56 in KenPom. This will be the Musketeers’ non-conference finale before they start off Big East play with a road trip against Villanova, so a win would be pretty important.
Here’s the full schedule for the week, with all times Central, as always.
Big East MBB Schedule: Week 7
|Tues., December 17||Georgetown vs UMBC||5:30 PM||FS1|
|Providence vs Florida (at Barclays Center)||6:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Marquette vs Grambling State||7:00 PM||Fox Sports Regional|
|Creighton vs Oklahoma||7:30 PM||FS1|
|Wed., December 18||Xavier vs Western Carolina||5:30 PM||FS1|
|DePaul at Cleveland State||6:00 PM||ESPN3|
|St. John's vs Albany||7:30 PM||FS1|
|Thurs., December 19||Seton Hall vs #7 Maryland||6:00 PM||FS1|
|Fri., December 20||Marquette vs North Dakota State||8:00 PM||FS1|
|Sat., December 21||#18 Villanova vs #1 Kansas||11:00 AM||Fox|
|Georgetown vs Samford||11:00 AM||FS1|
|Providence vs Texas||1:00 PM||Fox|
|#17 Butler vs Purdue (at Bankers Life Fieldhouse)||1:30 PM||Big Ten Network|
|Creighton at Arizona State||7:30 PM||Pac-12 Network|
|DePaul vs Northwestern||7:30 PM||CBS Sports Network|
|St. John's vs #16 Arizona (at Chase Center)||9:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Sun., December 22||Seton Hall vs Prairie View A&M||3:30 PM||FS1|
|Xavier at TCU||4:00 PM||ESPN2|