Monday's release of the Big East schedule has everyone at Big East Coast Bias analyzing and breaking down each team's hopes this season. First off, we will take a look at the most intriguing games on Butler's conference schedule. Robert O'Neill already broke down their nonconference schedule here.
In a way, it is incredibly fitting that Butler opens Big East play by facing Villanova on the road on December 31, because in terms of Butler's most intriguing conference games of the season, that would be number one.
The Bulldogs and Wildcats could not have been more different last season. Butler finished dead last in the conference in scoring at 68.5 points per game, while Villanova finished second behind only Creighton with 78.5 points per game. Villanova is projected by many to be one of the best teams in the conference, while Butler projected to finish somewhere around the middle. It is never easy to go into The Pavilion and pick up a victory as a visiting team, so this will be a tough task for Butler. It also will be a good indication of if they are to be contenders or pretenders in the Big East this season.
Outside of the Villanova road match-up, the Bulldogs have a couple other games that jump off the schedule. They open the home portion of their conference schedule on January 6 against the Providence Friars. This game is intriguing because Providence is very much a team on the rise in the conference this season thanks to a strong recruiting class cemented by four-star prospects Paschal Chukwu, Jalen Lindsey, and Ben Bentil. Providence finished third in the conference in scoring last year and look to be an offensive force once again by adding those three. Chukwu, whom is 7-foot-2 could provide a nightmarish matchup down low for the Bulldogs.
The third most intriguing matchup for the Bulldogs will take place on February 7 against the DePaul Blue Demons. As surprising as it is to be intrigued by DePaul basketball, it is worth remembering that the Demons came to Hinkle Fieldhouse and beat Butler last season. If Brandon Miller's squad wants to make it back to the NCAA Tournament, they need to beat lesser teams in the conference such as DePaul.