Coach Kevin Willard's team will have many interesting games out of conference, but they get even juicier when Big East Conference play commences. The Hall has a number of games that will be getting fans all over the college basketball landscape excited and it all starts on New Year's Eve.
The Pirates start off the conference schedule with their archrivals from Queens as the Pirates host the St. John's Red Storm in the first of a quintuple header on FOX Sports 1. First off, bringing back the five game marathon to ring in the New Year is a stellar idea and should become the norm for the conference. Second of all, this matchup has many storylines.
Obviously, these teams are already rivals and the pride of New York and New Jersey will be on the line as these two teams meet up again. Pirates guard Isaiah Whitehead provides a new dynamic to the rivalry as he spurned St. John's to become a member of the blue and white. Coach Steve Lavin's bunch will be out for payback and the Pirates will try to avenge their two losses to the Red Storm a year ago.
Just four days later the Pirates play their first game of 2015 against the Villanova Wildcats as they meet for the first time since "Step back Sterling," knocked the #3 Wildcats out of the conference tournament last season.
This will be the second straight tough home test for the Pirates who struggled at home during parts of last season. That will be a theme for Coach Willard's team. Can they take care of the tougher teams on the schedule at home? Villanova is probably the best team going into the season as they return almost everyone from last year's team that won the regular season Big East title. The Prudential Center will be rocking if one or both of these teams are ranked going into to this one.
The Xavier Musketeers and Pirates both brought in good recruiting classes over the offseason. After the teams split in two meetings last year with both road teams getting the win, the Pirates will look to take care of Xavier at home this time around. The Musketeers did lose guard Semaj Christon, but still have a formidable team. However, Isaiah Whitehead, if he shoots well, could be the difference in this one.
Georgetown Hoyas coach John Thompson III's team will be much better than a year ago. This year's team has the eighth best recruiting class in the nation. They take on the Pirates who brought in the No. 12 class. This game, if one or both teams are ranked, could be vital in determining seeding for the Big East Tournament for this upcoming season.
The Hoyas will be out for revenge after the Pirates swept the regular season series a year ago for the first time school history. With junior guard D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera coming back, and that new class in our Nation's Capital, as well as in South Orange, this one will be a hot ticket to get.
Last, but certainly not least, the Pirates travel to Providence to take on the Friars as they begin a crucial three-game road trip. This is a rematch of the first conference game last season that saw the Pirates beat the Friars 81-80 in overtime. Providence is the defending Big East champion, and even though they lost Bryce Cotton, this team believes that they will repeat this season. They also believe that they will get revenge on the Pirates for knocking them off at home last year. The Friars were 15-5 at the Dunkin Donuts Center a year ago so it will be a tough task, but this young team by this point in the season will be up for the challenge.
Alright, take a deep breath because that is a lot to take in. Now get excited again! This year's Big East Conference is going to have many great teams which means many great matchups. That also means we are in for a wild ride not only in South Orange, but all over conference landscape.