We’re changing things up for the Big East What To Watch this season!
In the past, we’ve given you notable highlights for the week ahead as governed by the Associated Press poll timing of Monday through Sunday. Those highlights have always included at least one women’s basketball game as part of the rundown. We’ll still be doing that part of the thing, but now we’ll give you the full women’s basketball schedule at the bottom of the page right along with the full men’s basketball schedule! It’s shaping up to be a very interesting league on the women’s side this season with four teams coming off NCAA tournament bids and two more teams coming off Sweet 16 runs in the WNIT. On top of that, UConn has perhaps never been more vulnerable in the last several years after the season ending losses of both Paige Bueckers and Ice Brady.
Get in on the ground floor is what I’m saying.
VERY BIG PROGRAMMING REMINDER: None of the eight men’s basketball games on Monday will be broadcast in their entirety on any television network. FS1 is taking all eight, giving them staggered start times, and doing whiparound coverage all night long. It’ll be like NFL Red Zone with Casey Jacobsen and Bill Raftery running things from the studio. If you want to watch any particular game — say, Marquette/Radford — you have to go through either FoxSports.com or the Fox Sports app.
Onwards to the highlights of the week.....
Monday, November 7: St. John’s Red Storm vs Merrimack Warriors (5:45pm Central, FS1 Whiparound coverage) — The Red Storm start off Mike Anderson’s fourth season in charge with a team projected to win the NEC. Well, okay, Merrimack is projected by KenPom.com to tie with Wagner atop the league standings at 10-6. In the league’s preseason poll, the Warriors picked up six of the nine first place votes, besting Sacred Heart in second place with two votes for the top spot. It’s actually kind of a sneaky good scheduling move, as KP plots Merrimack in at #291 to start the season. On one hand: Heavily favored. On the other hand: Playing a team that’s coming into the year with getting to the NCAA tournament on their minds.
Monday, November 7: #21 Creighton Bluejays at #23 South Dakota State Jackrabbits (7pm Central, GoJacks.com) — This is the best game of the week on either side of the league. Heck, this is actually the best basketball game in the country on Opening Day, as the Bluejays and the Jackrabbits are the only ranked teams opening up against another ranked team, men’s or women’s. Only downside? You’re going to have to hand SDSU a couple of bucks in order to stream this game. Emma Ronsiek and Creighton are coming off the program’s first ever Sweet 16 AND Elite Eight a year ago, while South Dakota State won the WNIT last season. This game is of particular note to Marquette fans, as there’s a chance that the Golden Eagles could see the Jackrabbits in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Tuesday, November 8: Providence Friars vs Rider Broncs (5:30pm Central, FS1) — Hey, I thought the reason we were starting the season on Monday is so that everyone in the country would have the day off on Tuesday so all of their athletes could go vote? I thought that was a whole thing? Why are Providence and Georgetown playing today, not to mention the other eight games going on across the country? Also: Rider is the toughest team that Providence elected to play in their non-conference schedule, so this presents an interesting opening night challenge for the Big East’s reigning regular season champs as they figure out how to deal with losing all five guys from last season’s most used starting lineup.
Thursday, November 10: #21 Creighton Bluejays at RV South Dakota Coyotes (7pm Central, GoYotes.com) — If it was clear that Jim Flanery’s Bluejays had the biggest opening night test in the entire country by playing a ranked team on the road, then they easily have the toughest first two games of the season. On their way back to Omaha, they’ll stop in Vermillion for a contest against a Coyotes squad that’s earning votes in the preseason AP poll. I want to be clear about something: This isn’t Flan losing his mind after bringing back most of his Elite Eight roster. These are both return bouts from home dates at D.J. Sokol Arena a year ago, and Creighton will just be knocking them out on the same road trip. I presume they’ll just be staying up in South Dakota, at least. Does it make sense to play in Brookings on Monday, come home, and then go back to Vermillion for Thursday night? Feels like it doesn’t. Then again, it is only a two hour bus ride to Vermillion from Omaha.
Friday, November 11: #16 Villanova Wildcats at Temple Owls (6pm Central, ESPNU) — Congrats to the Wildcats for signing up for the only road game of the opening week of the season in the league, not to mention what is easily the toughest game of the week in the league! They will open at home against La Salle on Monday before playing “on the road” 20 miles away against the Owls. Temple projects as a middle of the road team in the American this season, but Villanova is only favored by six points per KenPom.com and will be without super freshman Cam Whitmore (hand injury, out for now) and Justin Moore (still out following tearing his Achilles in the NCAA tournament).
Friday, November 11: RV Villanova Wildcats at #24 Princeton Tigers (6pm Central, ESPN+) — We’re not done with the league’s women’s teams throwing themselves into the fire to start the year, nor with Nova’s teams doing the same! Not only are the Wildcats and Big East Preseason Player of the Year Maddy Siegrist playing their first seven games on the road this season, but for this second game of the year, they’ll be tangling with the nationally ranked Tigers. Princeton went 25-5 last year and upset #6 seed Kentucky in the NCAA tournament and were tied with #3 seed Indiana with 30 seconds left before bowing out to the Hoosiers in the second round.
Friday, November 11: RV Xavier Musketeers vs Montana Grizzlies (7pm Central, FS2) — Sean Miller’s second game in charge in Cincinnati will involve hosting a team projected as a co-favorite in the Big Sky Conference. Both the Grizzlies and their cross-state rivals Montana State are aimed at a 12-6 record in league play according to KenPom.com, and KP’s math has Montana as a top 200 team in the country this season. The Musketeers are heavily favored, but if they goof off for 36 minutes like they did in their exhibition game against Kentucky Wesleyan, they can’t expect the Grizzlies to let them close the game on a 15-0 run to win by double digits.
Here’s the full men’s basketball schedule for the week!
Big East MBB Schedule: Week 1
|Monday, November 7||Butler vs New Orleans||5:30 PM||FS1 Whiparound|
|#16 Villanova vs La Salle||5:30 PM||FS1 Whiparound|
|St. John's vs Merrimack||5:45 PM||FS1 Whiparound|
|RV Xavier vs Morgan State||6:30 PM||FS1 Whiparound|
|RV UConn vs Stonehill||6:30 PM||FS1 Whiparound|
|DePaul vs Loyola-Maryland||6:45 PM||FS1 Whiparound|
|Marquette vs Radford||7:30 PM||FS1 Whiparound|
|#9 Creighton vs St. Thomas||7:30 PM||FS1 Whiparound|
|Tuesday, November 8||Providence vs Rider||5:30 PM||FS1|
|Georgetown vs Coppin State||7:30 PM||FS1|
|Wednesday, November 9||Seton Hall vs Monmouth||7:00 PM||FS1|
|Thursday, November 10||Marquette vs Central Michigan||7:00 PM||FS2|
|#9 Creighton vs North Dakota||8:00 PM||FS1|
|Friday, November 11||RV Connecticut vs Boston University||5:00 PM||FS2|
|#16 Villanova at Temple||6:00 PM||ESPNU|
|RV Xavier vs Montana||7:00 PM||FS2|
|DePaul vs Western Illinois||9:00 PM||FS2|
|Saturday, November 12||Georgetown vs Green Bay||10:00 AM||Local Only|
|Seton Hall vs Saint Peter's||11:00 AM||FS2|
|St. John's vs Lafayette||5:00 PM||FS2|
|Providence vs Northeastern||7:00 PM||FS2|
And here’s the full women’s basketball schedule!
Big East WBB Schedule: Week 1
|Monday, November 7||Marquette vs Fairleigh Dickinson||Noon||FloSports|
|St. John's vs Monmouth||Noon||FloSports|
|Georgetown vs Salem||1:00 PM||FloSports|
|RV Villanova at Marist||6:00 PM||ESPN3|
|Providence vs Dayton||6:00 PM||FloSports|
|Seton Hall vs Saint Peter's||6:00 PM||FloSports|
|Xavier at Miami (OH)||6:00 PM||ESPN3|
|#21 Creighton at #23 South Dakota State||7:00 PM||GoJacks.com|
|Wednesday, November 9||Butler vs Chicago State||6:00 PM||FloSports|
|RV DePaul vs American||7:00 PM||FloSports|
|Thursday, November 10||Xavier vs Detroit Mercy||6:00 PM||FloSports|
|#6 UConn vs Northeastern||6:00 PM||SNY|
|#21 Creighton at RV South Dakota||7:00 PM||GoYotes.com|
|Friday, November 11||St. John's vs St. Francis (NY)||6:00 PM||FloSports|
|RV Villanova at #24 Princeton||6:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Seton Hall at Rutgers||6:00 PM||BTN+|
|Providence vs Stonehill||6:00 PM||FloSports|
|Marquette vs Holy Cross||7:00 PM||FloSports|
|Saturday, November 12||RV DePaul at Northern Illinois||1:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Georgetown at Temple||1:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Sunday, November 13||Butler vs IUPUI||1:00 PM||FloSports|
|Marquette vs Milwaukee||2:00 PM||FloSports|
|Xavier vs St. Francis (PA)||5:00 PM||FloSports|