With just a couple weeks to go before we turn our calendars to 2016, we here at Big East Coast Bias thought it would be nice to give you our list of the seven best Big East games on the schedule for the rest of 2015.
Marquette vs. Wisconsin, December 12
Our list kicks off with the first of two rivalry games set for this weekend. Marquette heads to the Kohl Center for an afternoon showdown with their in-state foes in a rivalry that could really use a name.
Since 2002, this rivalry has been closer than most people realize. Wisconsin currently holds a 8-6 edge, but they've also won the last two match-ups with a team that eventually went to the Final Four each year.
This should be an incredibly interesting match-up due to the fact that both of these teams look incredibly different than they did .
For Wisconsin, Sam Dekker, Frank Kaminsky, and Josh Gasser have all departed, while Marquette's welcomed top-10 recruit Henry Ellenson, and had Luke Fischer emerge as one of the country's premier big men.
Since their 1-2 start to the season, Marquette's rattled off six straight wins. A win on Saturday would do wonder for their resume come March.
Cincinnati vs. Xavier, December 12
The second of the two Big East rivalry games on Saturday, this game is huge. Xavier comes in at 9-0, ranked 12th in the nation. Cincinnati comes in at 8-1, ranked 23rd in the nation.
This is the first time the Crosstown Shootout has been played at Cintas Center since the infamous brawl four years ago.
It's not possible to overstate how big this game is, both for the teams, and the city of Cincinnati. This might be the biggest edition ever, as both teams are ranked in the AP Top 25 for just the second time in Shootout history (1994).
Xavier would tie their school record for best start to a season if they are able to move to 10-0.
Villanova vs. Virginia, December 19
December 19 is, arguably, the biggest day of the year for college basketball. This game is a primary reason why. The big knock on Villanova in the NCAA Tournament last season was that they weren't "battle-tested enough".
There's not many better ways to get "battle-tested" than going to John Paul Jones Arena to face a top 10 Virginia Cavilers team. This game will be a must-watch.
Per KenPom, both of these teams have top 20 offenses and top 5 defenses. Both are, right now, at least, in the top 10 overall. Virginia holds the top spot, while Villanova is tenth.
Wichita State vs. Seton Hall, December 19
Wichita State struggled early in the season as they were hit with a rash of injuries. But Fred VanVleet has returned to the Shockers and former Kansas transfer Connor Frankamp recently made his debut for Gregg Marshall's club. The Shockers make the trip to Newark to take on the Pirates, completing the back-end of a home-and-home series. Last year, Wichita State took care of business and took The Hall to the proverbial woodshed. It should be intriguing to see what happens this time around in Newark, to say the least.
Butler vs. Purdue, December 19
A true contrast of great offense and great defense will occur in Indianapolis on December 19 when the Purdue Boilermakers take on the Butler Bulldogs as part of the 2015 Crossroads Classic. Led by A.J. Hammons and freshman Caleb Swanigan, Purdue has one of the best defensive frontcourts in the country in nearly every single metric. Hammons has been a force defensively coming off of a stellar 2014 season. The 'Dawgs, meanwhile, boast a great offense led by Kellen Dunham and current 6th Man of the Year contender Kelan Martin. You won't find many better nonconference matchups this season than when the 'Dawgs and Boilermakers meet on the 19th.
Xavier vs. Villanova, December 31
The BIG EAST has been led by two squads this season: the Musketeers and Wildcats, and it's only fitting that they'll meet to open league play on New Year's Eve. This has the making of an instant classic with two contrasting styles of play, two terrific head coaches, and talent all over the court. Buckle up for this one, folks. It's gonna be a good one.
Providence vs. Butler, December 31
While Xavier vs. Villanova has the spotlight on New Year's Eve, Kris Dunn and Providence make their lone trip to the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse on the season.
Dunn had 25 points last season in Providence's victory over Butler in Indianapolis. The Bulldogs certainly will have revenge on their mind in this matchup of Top 25 teams.
All in all, this is a battle of two teams with a very good guard each (Dunn and Kellen Dunham) and a very good big man each in Ben Bentil and Roosevelt Jones.
The Bulldogs and Friars may just end up giving us the best game of the day on New Year's Eve.