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Big East What To Watch: Week 14

We’re fully into February now, and the jostling for conference tournament seeding is in full effect.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 06 Women’s - Tennessee at UConn
Look, it’s a monster week for Connecticut basketball, and there’s going to be a lot of Connecticut mascot pictures on this site as a result.
Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I’d have to dig around in the schedule archives to double check, but given the totality of the circumstances, I’m pretty sure this is the biggest week for UConn basketball since the Huskies returned to their rightful place in the Big East. No matter what the results are, Connecticut fans have to admit that this kind of a week is absolutely why they needed to come back to this league.

Onwards to the highlights, and there are A LOT of them this week.

Tuesday, February 8: #18 Marquette Golden Eagles at #24 Connecticut Huskies (5:30pm Central, FS1) — When these two teams squared off in Milwaukee, it was before the Golden Eagles figured their business out and caught fire. That was also the game that Darryl Morsell missed for MU for COVID reasons while R.J. Cole had a great night for the Huskies, and even with all of that in mind, it was still a one point game with four minutes left and a one possession game with less than three minutes left. Now it moves to the Nutmeg State, and so we wonder what, if anything, will change about the result, as well as UConn needing a win after losing two in a row coming in.

Wednesday, February 9: #25 Xavier Musketeers at Seton Hall Pirates (6pm Central, FS1) — Xavier is one game over .500 in conference play at the moment, while Seton Hall is one game under. Xavier has lost three of their last five including getting clonked in the head at home by DePaul without Javon Freeman-Liberty in the lineup for the Blue Demons. The Pirates are a little better off with two straight wins coming in after losing four of the previous five contests. Both sides need a win in the worst way right now, but only one of them is going to get it.

Wednesday, February 9: Villanova Wildcats at #8 Connecticut Huskies (6pm Central, SNY) — Barring what would be one of the biggest upsets in recent years, we are down to maybe three possible chances for the Huskies to lose a conference game this season. This is one of them. It’s a home game against the team that’s currently in third place, so it’s definitely the least of the three possibilities for Geno Auriemma’s squad to take a tumble before the conference tournament, but it’s definitely miles ahead of other games on their slate as well. I’m bringing this up specifically for a reason which will make sense in a little bit.

Wednesday, February 9: Georgetown Hoyas at DePaul Blue Demons (8pm Central, FS1) — I’m just putting this in here for the car crash value. The Hoyas have lost 11 straight, including each of their first 10 Big East games and have dropped below 200 in KenPom rankings for what I just presume is the first time ever. At 2-9 after beating Xavier in Cincinnati, DePaul is the second worst team in the Big East. Is this where the Hoyas break their streak, or do things somehow actually get worse for them?

Friday, February 11: #24 Connecticut Huskies at #25 Xavier Musketeers (6pm Central, FS1) — You know all that stuff I said about both teams kind of needing a win right now in their games earlier in the week? Yeah, well, what if one and/or both of them lose heading into this one? We could easily have a “loser drops out of the top 25” situation here. Kind of ramps up the drama and tension, doesn’t it? If one or both get a win earlier in the week, then it turns into a chance to start building a positive streak. For the neutral viewer, it’s a win-win.

Friday, February 11: Marquette Golden Eagles at Villanova Wildcats (6pm Central, FloHoops) — As the week starts, the Golden Eagles have a half-game lead in the Big East standings on the Wildcats. Maybe that changes by the time we get to Friday thanks to Villanova visiting UConn earlier in the week, but the fact remains that because of COVID cancelations, every game matters very much when it comes to seeding for the conference tournament. Finishing second or third means you avoid UConn until the title game. Marquette is currently third and Villanova is fourth. Oh, and Megan Duffy has her Golden Eagles on a six game winning streak and looking for revenge for a loss to VU in Milwaukee earlier this year.

Friday, February 11: RV DePaul Blue Demons at #8 Connecticut Huskies (6pm Central, SNY) — Remember when I pointed out the home game against Villanova for Christyn Williams and friends? Yes, well, here’s the second possible shot at a loss for the Huskies left on the calendar, and yes, they’re both in the same week. DePaul is currently in second place in the league behind UConn, and there’s nothing about this one game that’s going to change that since DePaul has three losses already. This one also matters for the seeding race in the Big East, as the Blue Demons are neck-and-neck-and-neck with Marquette and Villanova right now.

Saturday, February 12: DePaul Blue Demons at #11 Providence Friars (5:30pm Central, FS1) — Providence is in first place in the Big East and this is their only game of the week. They spent 20+ minutes on Sunday faffing around against Georgetown before going on a 21-3 run in the second half to turn that one into a laugher. Can they buckle up and take care of this one at home against a DePaul team that definitely wasn’t too afraid of the moment on the road against Xavier last week?

Sunday, February 13: #8 Connecticut Huskies at Marquette Golden Eagles (1:30pm Central, Fox) — And finally, here is the third real chance for Connecticut to possibly lose a game in conference play this season. This one is the only one of the three that’s on the road, so you can argue that it’s the game that’s the most potentially risky for the Huskies. It’s also going to be UConn’s first game at the McGuire Center with fans in attendance since they returned to the league, and yeah, it’s on Fox, big fancy broadcast Fox, too. Most likely no Paige Bueckers in the active lineup, though.

Here’s the men’s basketball schedule for the week! All times Central, of course.

Big East MBB Schedule: Week 14

Date Game Time (CT) Television
Date Game Time (CT) Television
Tuesday, February 8 #18 Marquette at #24 Connecticut 5:30 PM FS1
#15 Villanova at St. John's 7:30 PM FS1
Butler at Creighton 8:00 PM CBS Sports Network
Wednesday, February 9 #25 Xavier at Seton Hall 6:00 PM FS1
Georgetown at DePaul 8:00 PM FS1
Friday, February 11 #24 Connecticut at #25 Xavier 6:00 PM FS1
Saturday, February 12 Creighton at Georgetown 11:00 AM FS1
Seton Hall at #15 Villanova 12:00 PM Fox
#18 Marquette at Butler 3:30 PM FS1
DePaul at #11 Providence 5:30 PM FS1
Sunday, February 13 #24 Connecticut at St. John's 11:00 AM Fox