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2014-15 Schedule Analysis: Providence

Now that the Big East schedule has been announced I'll take a look at how Providence's conference slate stacks up.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Last season was a magical one for Friars fans. Bryce Cotton essentially carried Providence to a Big East Tournament Championship with some help from his friends down the stretch of the season. Cotton has since graduated, along with key big man Kadeem Batts, but the Friars have reloaded with a lot of young talent infusing to their roster for the 2014-15 season.

Here is what those new look Friars will face in conference play this year:

Date Day Time Opponent Location TV
12/31/14 Wednesday 7:30pm Creighton Dunkin' Donuts Center Fox Sports 1
1/3/15 Saturday 2:00pm Marquette BMO Harris Bradley Center Fox Sports Network
1/6/15 Tuesday 9:00pm Butler Hinkle Fieldhouse CBS Sports Network
1/10/15 Saturday 12:00pm Georgetown Dunkin' Donuts Center Fox Sports 1
1/14/15 Wednesday 7:00pm St. John's Dunkin' Donuts Center Fox Sports 1
1/17/15 Saturday 7:30pm Creighton CenturyLink Center Fox Sports 1
1/22/15 Thursday 7:00pm Xavier Dunkin' Donuts Center Fox Sports 1
1/27/15 Tuesday 9:00pm DePaul Dunkin' Donuts Center Fox Sports 1
1/31/15 Saturday 12:00pm St. John's Madison Square Garden Fox
2/4/15 Wednesday 9:00pm Georgetown Verizon Center CBS Sports Network
2/7/15 Saturday 1:00pm Xavier Cintas Center Fox Sports 1
2/11/15 Wednesday 8:00pm Villanova Dunkin' Donuts Center Fox Sports 1
2/14/15 Saturday 4:00pm Seton Hall Dunkin' Donuts Center Fox Sports Network
2/18/15 Wednesday 9:00pm DePaul Allstate Arena CBS Sports Network
2/24/15 Tuesday 7:00pm Villanova Wells Fargo Center Fox Sports 1
3/1/15 Sunday 3:30pm Marquette Dunkin' Donuts Center Fox Sports 1
3/4/15 Wednesday 7:00pm Seton Hall Prudential Center Fox Sports 1
3/7/15 Saturday 12:00pm Butler Dunkin' Donuts Center Fox Sports Network

First, let me say that I am a fan of the New Year's Eve Tip-Off idea for the conference season. I think it's an interesting idea that is somewhat unique in college basketball. Pitting Creighton and Providence against each other as a rematch of last season's tournament Finals presents an opportunity for revenge. I don't think Creighton will take that one though. After the NYE opener, the first road contest in conference play offers a chance for the Friars to welcome Steve Wojciechowski to the Big East by exercising some demons that have haunted them during the Buzz Williams era in Milwaukee (and I'm not talking about the bat!).

The road trip continues as Providence will take an early trip to historic Hinkle Fieldhouse to take on a Butler squad that should be improved as they are still attempting to bring their roster up to Big East talent levels. After the two game road trip the Friars return home to the Dunk for two classic Big East matchups against the Georgetown Hoyas and St. John's Red Storm. Next is a quick trip to Omaha to finish the series with Creighton and then home for two against a talented Xavier team and what should be a marginally improved DePaul team that will have rising sophomores Billy Garrett Jr. and Tommy Hamilton.

What follows the first eight conference games is what will likely be the toughest stretch on the Friars' schedule this season. For starters is a trip to Madison Square Garden to take on St. John's. This game will be cool for Friar fans because it's the first time they have played the Johnnies at MSG in a few cycles and this game will be one of the eight that the Big East will have on FOX this season. January 31st is also roughly about the time last year's St. John's team started to put it all together and play up to their talent.

After the trip to MSG the Friars head down to DC to take on Georgetown at the Verizon Center. The Hoyas should be better this year as they will have big man Josh Smith back from an academic issue and they are adding some very talented freshmen to the mix. Next up is a continuation of the road trip, as Providence will head to the Cintas Center to take on the Xavier Musketeers. The final game of this gauntlet is a matchup against the preseason favorite Villanova Wildcats at the Dunk. This game against Villanova at home comes only 13 days before the Friars will have to trip down to Philadelphia to take on the Wildcats again at the Wells Fargo Center.

The final six games are not anything too difficult aside from at Villanova, so Providence should have a chance to finish strong heading to the Big East Tournament where they will look to defend their title.