There are three games on the schedule this week that are major highlights in Big East basketball. One of them is obvious based on the current Associated Press top 25 poll, the other two are not..... but you can argue they’re actually bigger games than the rankings one if you look at the Big East standings. Trust me, it makes sense.
Tuesday, January 21: #13 Butler Bulldogs at #9 Villanova Wildcats (6pm Central, CBS Sports Network) - This is the aforementioned highlight of the week that’s obvious because of the AP rankings. I don’t think we need to explain why #13 visiting #9 is a big deal. However, this game did pick up some steam over the past week as Butler lost to Seton Hall and DePaul. That was the first and second loss of the league slate for the Bulldogs after starting off the season 15-1. Visiting the Wildcats at Finneran Pavilion is not a particularly great way to avoid a three game losing streak in Big East play, but that’s what Kamar Baldwin et. al. are going to have to deal with.
Wednesday, January 22: Providence Friars at #10 Seton Hall Pirates (7:30pm Central, FS1) - This is one of the not quite obvious highlights. As things currently are in the Big East standings, though, this game is actually more important than Butler/Villanova. That’s a game between second place and fourth place.... while this is third place visiting first place. Seton Hall remains unbeaten in league play at 6-0, while Providence is 4-2 after losing on the road to Creighton on Saturday. The Friars have had a remarkable turnaround to their season since mid-December, but they’ve now lost two of their last three. Going into Myles Powell’s house and searching for a win won’t be a fun prospect, but Ed Cooley’s team is going to have to try and figure that out if they want to steer things back on track.
Friday, January 24: Villanova Wildcats at #11 DePaul Blue Demons (7pm Central, Big East Digital Network) - As you can probably tell from the ranking next to DePaul’s name as well as the game being broadcast on the BEDN, this is a women’s basketball game. After this past weekend, DePaul is 7-0 in league play. This game against the Wildcats is really the only thing standing between them and a perfect 9-0 mark on their first pass through the league, because lol they’re not losing to Georgetown on Sunday. Villanova is 5-2 and in second place in the Big East right now. That adds a certain level of importance to the game, because if DePaul wins, they will have a three game advantage in the loss column over everyone else in the league. Knocking your magic number to a conference title down to 7 with nine games to play is a pretty solid way to go about things. I’m not particularly very high on Nova’s prospects of winning here, as they’re just 11-7 overall this season, but as the second place team in the league, they’re currently the best shot at knocking off the Blue Demons and adding some drama to the conference race.
Saturday, January 25: #9 Villanova Wildcats at Providence Friars (Noon Central, CBS) - And this is the other not quite obvious highlight. It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that it involves one of the teams from the obvious highlight and Providence, honestly. It’s hard to say exactly what situation either team is going to be in after their games earlier in the week, but any combination of wins and losses is possible. As such, any combination of teams needing to win/looking to keep a streak going is possible as well. For whatever it’s worth to you, Villanova is favored to win both of their games this week according to KenPom.com.
Here’s the full men’s basketball schedule for the week, with all times Central as always.
Big East MBB Schedule: Week 12
|Tues., January 21||#13 Butler at #9 Villanova||6:00 PM||CBS Sports Network|
|St. John's at Marquette||8:00 PM||FS1|
|Wed., January 22||Georgetown at Xavier||5:30 PM||FS1|
|Providence at #10 Seton Hall||7:30 PM||FS1|
|Creighton at DePaul||8:00 PM||CBS Sports Network|
|Fri., January 24||Marquette at #13 Butler||8:00 PM||FS1|
|Sat., January 25||#9 Villanova at Providence||12:00 PM||CBS|
|St. John's at DePaul||1:00 PM||FS1|
|Sun., January 26||Xavier at Creighton||3:00 PM||FS1|