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Big East What To Watch: Week Three

A much quieter week than last week, that’s for sure, but it’s also the start of league play!

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Kansas Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

We had a very busy week last week, but now we have a very slow week this week. I would have wagered that finals have an impact on this, but it’s not like there’s a total slowdown across the league, either. I know Marquette is in the middle of a split Finals Week right now as you read this, but I don’t know what everyone else is doing for their schedules.

In any case, we’re getting the start to Big East play later this week. The 20 game league calendar is scheduled to get started on Friday, but we’ve already lost one game due to coronavirus reasons, and there’s a second one that is still on, but I’m not entirely sure why it’s not getting dropped yet.

I guess that’s why we include this disclaimer: As always for the 2020-21 season, all of this is subject to change from the moment that you’re reading it to the next. If you see an update slide through, then be sure to let us know on Twitter — @AnonymousEagle — or drop a note into the AE inbox at anon.eagle@gmail.com!

UPDATES: DePaul at Seton Hall is OFF. St. John’s will replace DePaul in that game and face the Pirates in the exact same time slot on the exact same television network, as the Johnnies were supposed to face off with Connecticut, but the Huskies had to reschedule that game. Same goes for Sunday’s game between Georgetown and UConn, with the Johnnies now traveling to D.C. to face the Hoyas on Sunday night. Xavier at Providence is OFF.

Tuesday, December 8: #8 Creighton Bluejays at #5 Kansas Jayhawks (4pm Central, ESPN) — What’s not to like about two top 10 teams colliding at Allen Fieldhouse?? The Bluejays have had a relatively easy time of things through three games against a triumvirate of squads that aren’t on the same level as Creighton is this year. This will be CU’s first time away from the CHI in Omaha, so it’s a big first test and a big first road trip for Marcus Zegarowski and friends. Kansas is undefeated since falling by 12 to Gonzaga in their opener, and that includes easily handing a decent St. Joe’s squad, knocking off Kentucky by three, decimating a non-D1 team, and needing to overcome trailing 61-58 to North Dakota State with four minutes left on Saturday. Seems like it’s a good time to mention that Creighton beat NDSU in their opener by 11, and that was after the Bison closed the game on a 14-2 run over the final five minutes.

Wednesday, December 9: Providence Friars at TCU Horned Frogs (4pm Central, ESPNU) — Uh, so should we be worried about the Friars? This will be their final high major test before Big East play starts, and they’ve lost their first two. It was neutral court contests with Indiana (lost by 21) and Alabama (lost by 17) previously, and this one is a road game down in Fort Worth against our old friend Jamie Dixon and his squad. PC also didn’t do particularly well against a pretty good Davidson squad (won by 1, definitely could have lost after leading 27-8) and they were tied at the half with Fairleigh Dickinson in their most recent game before winning by 12. David Duke is the only guy on the team that you have to respect as a shooter from outside the arc as Providence is shooting just 20.7% on threes. A.J. Reeves is a hilariously awful 4-for-25 so far this season. TCU started off Big 12 play on Sunday with a loss to Oklahoma, which 1) was the their first loss of the season and 2) gives us a nice transition to.......

Wednesday, December 9: Xavier Musketeers vs Oklahoma Sooners (7pm Central, FS1) — After knocking off Cincinnati in the Crosstown Shootout over the weekend, Xavier is now 6-0 on the season. The only downside to their stellar start to the year is that they’ve barely moved in the KenPom.com rankings as a result of it. They started the year at #65 in the country and they were #63 before beating the Bearcats and #58 afterwards. They’re winning, but not doing it in a particularly effective or memorable fashion. I suppose the cliche about “rather be lucky than good” applies to a certain extent here. This will be their toughest test of the season, as the Sooners are #25 in KenPom after beating TCU on Sunday.

Friday, December 11: DePaul Blue Demons at Seton Hall Pirates (3:30pm Central, CBS Sports Network) — Okay, so this one goes in because it is supposed to be the first league contest in Big East men’s basketball this season. However, DePaul had their game against Iowa State on Sunday spiked not all that long before tipoff due to COVID-19 issues with the Blue Demons. I have no idea what that means for this game, but right now, DePaul seems to believe that they can be in New Jersey to play on Friday afternoon. DePaul has yet to play a game at all this season, while Seton Hall is 2-3 after gutting out an overtime victory at Penn State on Sunday night. The Pirates get a tune up on Tuesday against Wagner before hosting the Blue Demons.

Friday, December 11: Marquette Golden Eagles at UCLA Bruins (8:30pm Central, Pac-12 Network) — This game definitely loomed larger on the schedule back before UCLA decided to open the season by losing in hilariously poor fashion on the road to San Diego State and then going to three overtimes two days later against Pepperdine on a neutral floor. So long, preseason top 25 ranking, and in fact, the Bruins are down to just a single 25th place vote in the newest poll. Mick Cronin’s guys beat down Cal in their most recent game/first Pac-12 game of the year on Sunday, and they’ll host San Diego in the Toreros’ season debut on Wednesday before MU comes to town. The Golden Eagles are coming off a win against then-#4 Wisconsin on Saturday and will host Green Bay on Tuesday before heading to Pauley Pavilion to make a serious statement about their season.

Saturday, December 12: #3 Connecticut Huskies vs UMass Lowell River Hawks (12pm Central, SNY) — Yep, it’s a women’s basketball entry! Believe it or not, the Huskies have not actually played a game yet this season. They’ve had three games cancelled so far this season, so I pity the poor River Hawks for all the pent up frustration that Paige Bueckers et. al. are going to take out on UMass Lowell on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, December 13: Connecticut Huskies at Georgetown Hoyas (6:30pm Central, FS1) — It’s Connecticut’s first conference game since returning to the Big East! It’s not supposed to be though and it still might not be. Connecticut had to dump their game on Saturday against NC State for COVID reasons, and that is postponing their Friday night contest against St. John’s, too. I’m not quite sure how they can’t play on Friday but they can play on Sunday especially since the Sunday game requires traveling, but there you go. UConn is 3-0 on the season after gutting out a win over USC up at Mohegan Sun back on December 3rd and earning votes in the AP top 25. Georgetown lost to Navy and gave up a 13-2 run with less than nine minutes left to blow a lead against then-#11 West Virginia in the past week. They’re.... let’s say struggling so far this year.

Here’s the full Big East men’s basketball schedule for the week!

Big East MBB Schedule: Week Three

Date Game Time (CT) Television
Date Game Time (CT) Television
Tues., Dec. 8 Seton Hall vs Wagner 4:00 PM FS1
#9 Creighton at #5 Kansas 4:00 PM ESPN
Georgetown vs Coppin State 6:00 PM FS1
Marquette vs Green Bay 8:00 PM FS1
Wed., Dec. 9 Providence at TCU 4:00 PM ESPNU
Xavier vs Oklahoma 7:00 PM FS1
Fri., Dec. 11 DePaul at Seton Hall 3:30 PM CBS Sports Network
St. John's at Seton Hall 3:30 PM CBS Sports Network
#9 Villanova at Georgetown 6:00 PM FS1
#9 Creighton vs Nebraska 6:00 PM Big Ten Network
Marquette at UCLA 8:30 PM Pac-12 Network
Sat., Dec. 12 Xavier at Providence 5:30 PM FS2
Sun., Dec. 13 Connecticut at Georgetown 6:30 PM FS1
St. John's at Georgetown 6:30 PM FS1