After a long wait, the entire Big East schedule has been released. Let's take a quick look at the 10 (Plus 1) Best Non Conference Games involving the Big East. These are in date order
The first test in the Steve Wojciechowski era at Marquette is a trip to Columbus for the second half of their home and home with the Buckeyes. Last year the Buckeyes went to Milwaukee and pounded the Golden Eagles in the Bradley Center. Classic revenge game for Marquette and very early test for the rookie Head Coach.
With Doug McDermott gone, a new era begins in the great city of Omaha for the Bluejas. An early season test against an Oklahoma team that is expected to finish in the top 4 in the Big 12 Conference will be a doozy. Coach Greg McDermott & Co. will have their hands full in a game that will dictate how the first season without Mr. McBuckets goes.
Villanova Wildcats at the Legends Classic (November 24, 25; Brooklyn, New York)
The defending regular season champions will have a big chance to impress early in what may be the best early season tournament out there this year. The Wildcats will open up against Shaka Smart and the VCU Rams on November 24. Following that up, Villanova will either play Michigan or Oregon in the Consolation or Championship. Regardless of the second matchup, Villanova is going to have an early chance to catch the eyes of everyone as both Michigan and Oregon are expected to be in the Top 25 at the start of the season.
Both Butler and Georgetown open the Battle 4 Atlantis with games that they will be big underdogs in. The Bulldogs open with the North Carolina Tar Heels and Georgetown opens with the Florida Gators, a team that was No. 1 in the country for the majority of the 2013-2014 season. If both teams lose their opening games, Georgetown will most likely play UAB in the loser's bracket while Butler will either draw Oklahoma or UCLA. The Battle 4 Atlantis is going to be quite the test for these two teams.
St. John's Red Storm in the NIT Preseason Tip Off (November 26 & 28; New York, New York)
St. John's will basically be getting two quality nonconference home games in this "tournament." The Johnnies open up with the defending NIT Champion Minnesota Golden Gophers, which will be a welcome test for the Red Storm. If St. John's wins against the Gophers, they will likely play Gonzaga, the team that eliminated St. John's from the NCAA Tournament in 2011. These two games will be a good gauge to see how far the Johnnies have come after last year's disappointing campaign.
This is a massive test for the defending Big East Tournament champions as the Friars get to go to Rupp Arena to play last year's National Runner Up in Kentucky. Bryce Cotton is gone for the Friars and honestly if the Friars can keep this one close for 35 minutes, Ed Cooley should be very pleased with his team.
Wisconsin Badgers at Marquette Golden Eagles (December 6; Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Another Big Ten test for Marquette, as the Badgers head south to Milwaukee for these teams' yearly matchup. Frank Kaminsky took the nation by storm last year as Wisconsin marched all the way to the Final Four before losing to Aaron Harrison's deep 3-pointer. Once again, first year coach Steve Wojciechowski, and his team, will have their hands full to beat this Big Ten team.
St. John's Red Storm at Syracuse Orange (December 6; Syracuse, New York)
Old Big East foes square off in the Carrier Dome as the Johnnies will likely be massive underdogs against Syracuse. Last year the Orange went to Madison Square Garden and won 68-63 as they were right of the midst of their long winning streak to begin the season.
Creighton Bluejays at Nebraska Cornhuskers (December 7; Lincoln, Nebraska)
The battle of Nebraska takes plays in Lincoln as Creighton travels to take on their in-state rival. Nebraska was one of college basketball's biggest surprises last year as they made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in over 15 years. Head coach Tim Miles has "Nebrasketball" heading in the right direction, and this will be a good nonconference test for the Bluejays as they had their struggles on the road last season.
Kansas Jayhawks at Georgetown Hoyas (December 10; Washington, D.C.)
Last year, the Hoyas went to the Phog and got absolutely smacked by the Jayhawks. The Hoyas now will get a crack at KU in "The Phone Booth" this time around in this early December matchup. Kansas looks very different from last year without Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins but this Jayhawks team is still incredibly deep and talented. This will be quite the tough test for JTIII and crew.
Syracuse Orange at Villanova Wildcats (December 20; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Oh, the classic bonus game! Two old rivals square off for the second straight season as Villanova meets Syracuse in Philadelphia in December. Last year, these two met in the Carrier Dome and Villanova hopped out to a 17-point lead in the first half, only to blow the lead and lose by double digits. The Wells Fargo Center should be hopping for this one, as this will be Villanova's final test before heading into the Big East schedule.