clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Looking back at the top 10 Big East games of the season

New, comments

Here are the Top 10 games of the 2015-16 Big East season.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Big East season was fantastic to say the least, as we saw many close games throughout the regular season and the Big East Tournament.

The icing on the cake was the run by Villanova to National Championship game, where Wildcats junior forward Kris Jenkins created one of the best sports moments in history with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give 'Nova its first title since 1985.

Let's take a look at the Top 10 games in the Big East this year.

10. Providence 71, Butler 68 (January 19, 2016)

Ben Bentil was a force to be reckoned with for Providence this season as he took the role of the leading scorer on the team. Bentil's ability to take over games became key to the Friar's season as he helped take some of the load off of Kris Dunn's shoulders. Bentil showed that against the Butler Bulldogs on January 19 as he scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half.

With the game tied with two minutes to go, Providence went into an extra gear on offense as they kept feeding the ball to Bentil or Dunn and both kept producing. Butler had no answer on the night and ultimately ended up costing the Bulldogs. Kelan Martin had a chance to tie at the end but he missed and Kellen Dunham's desperation heave was off, helping Providence survive another close game, 71-68.

9.  Marquette 75, Butler 69 (January 30, 2016)

Marquette did not have the best year in the Big East but finished off the year strong with some quality wins. In the end they finished seventh in the Big East after spending a lot of time near the bottom. A lot of it was due to the play of Henry Ellenson, the standout freshman who led the Golden Eagles in scoring. He carried MU, and certainly did on January 30 against the Butler Bulldogs.

In that game, Ellenson scored a career-high 32 points and helped Marquette stun the Bulldogs. His tip-in with 28 seconds left finished off the game and put his name on the map for good.

8. Villanova 64, Kansas 59 (Elite Eight)

This was the pivotal game in Villanova's championship run. This was the game where many thought the fun would stop for Jay Wright's team, and where the No. 1 overall seed Kansas Jayhawks would beat the Wildcats. But that would not be the case, as 'Nova stepped up with the best performance we had seen from them at the time.

It wasn't pretty, but they stuck to their gameplan and beat the top-ranked Jayhawks. What was really impressive was 'Nova's execution down the stretch and in the final seconds when Kansas was desperate to foul. Impressive out of timeout plays were drawn up by Jay Wright and like always, Ryan Arcidiacono hit his free throws. Classic Villanova.

7. Providence 50, Creighton 48

Kris Dunn was arguably the best player in the Big East and against Creighton on January 13, he put it all on display.

In a game that saw less a 100 combined points scored, it was Dunn who came up with the game-winning bucket. Maurice Watson Jr. had just tied up the game after a steal from Dunn. The Friars had one last chance to win the game and Dunn had the ball in his hands. Dunn dribbled past his defender and stepped back for a fadeaway. The ball hit the back rim and then appeared to die. Luckily for Providence, the ball dropped right into the basket and they escaped against Creighton in Omaha with a 50-48 win.

6. Butler 78, Cincinnati 76 (December 2, 2015)

Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones have been Butler's most consistent players for the past two years and had a big challenge against the 17th ranked Cincinnati Bearcats on December 2.

Cincy got on Butler early and the Bulldogs trailed most of the game. But thanks to back to back 3's by Dunham late, the Bulldogs were able to take a 76-73 lead. Then Octavius Ellis hit a 3-point play for Cincy and just like that it was all tied up.

The last play was a mad scramble as Butler's ensuing inbounds pass was deflected and rolled around the ground for a while. Then Jones picked it up, ran the length of the court and banked it a runner with 0.3 seconds left as Butler stunned Cincy 78-76.

5. Seton Hall 80, Wichita State 76

Seton Hall was not supposed to win this game according to many fans and experts. They were playing Wichita State, one of the top "mid-major" programs in college basketball. The Shockers had many players back from their Final Four run a few years ago and were expected to be one of the top teams in the country again.

Seton Hall started off their nonconference schedule well as the Pirates were 5-0 at home coming into the game. The first half was exactly like many expected as Wichita State shot lights out from deep and had an eight point lead over The Hall.

But behind Desi Rodriguez, the Pirates were able to storm back and force overtime. With the momentum on their side, the Pirates were able to outscore the Shockers 13-9 in OT, capped off by two free throws by Rodriguez.

It was a huge upset at the time, and many look back as something that would spark Seton Hall's season.

4. Providence 70, USC 69 (NCAA Tournament, Round of 64)

In one of the late games on the first day of the NCAA Tournament's Round of 64, Providence faced USC in Raleigh, North Carolina. And it was certainly one of the best games of the tournament.

It was an 8-9 matchup as Providence faced off against USC with the winner playing UNC in the next round. Both teams battled back and forth but it was USC who led with a few minutes left in the game. But behind the duo of Bentil and Kris Dunn, the Friars were able to keep the game close and found themselves with a chance to win the game with less than five seconds left.

On an inbounds play, USC lost Rodney Bullock who was right underneath the basket. It was a simple pass to Bullock who made the layup to make it 70-69 Friars with 1.5 seconds left. USC's shot was off the mark at the end and the Friars survived to live another day.

3. Seton Hall 69,  Villanova 67 (Big East Championship Game)

Coming into this season with not much experience on the roster and low expectations, many did not pick Seton Hall to play well this season. But when the Pirates shocked Wichita State in overtime early in the season, people began to notice the Pirates.

Led by Isaiah Whitehead and a group of sophomores, The Hall ran through the regular season and ended up as the third seed in the Big East Tournament, a pretty good achievement for a team that everyone thought was too inexperienced to win. Feeding off their regular season success Seton Hall found themselves in the championship game against top dog Villanova.

Seton Hall got big buckets from Whitehead and got a lucky break when Ryan Arcidiacono dropped the ball on the last possession of the game and had his desperation three go off the mark. Seton Hall stunned the world and showed everyone that the Pirates could be a force to be reckoned with.

2. Villanova 95, Oklahoma 51 (Final Four)

Out of the two Final Four games, this was the one everyone was talking about. This was the game everyone wanted to see. You had Villanova, the well balanced team that could get scoring from anywhere versus Buddy Hield, the best scorer in college basketball, and the Oklahoma Sooners.

It wound up not even being close. The game was a good contest through the first half but the floodgates opened up with a 21-4 run by 'Nova and it all went downhill for Oklahoma after that.

In the end it was a 44-point victory by Villanova, the highest in Final Four history. It was a great win for 'Nova and a crushing loss for Oklahoma but it helped the Big East regain the reputation that they knew how to play in the big games. And boy did Villanova show up in this one.

1. Villanova 77, North Carolina 74 (National Championship Game)

This one was the one for all the marbles and it was probably one of the best National Championship games in history, if not the best ever.

This game had it all.

Two back-to-back crazy shots to finish the game with one being a buzzer beater. You couldn't write a better script than this.

It was a tight game from both teams in the first half as North Carolina's hot shooting kept the Tar Heels in the game. But 'Nova started to pull away in the second half and with around five minutes left and a double-digit lead, it looked all but over. But UNC was not done as they stormed back with some clutch shooting including a 3-point jumper to tie the game by Marcus Paige. The 3-pointer, which saw Paige adjust in mid-air during the shot, tied the game up at 74 with less than 10 seconds left.

With the game looking like it would head to overtime, the Wildcats decided to give it one last crack at it. Ryan Arcidiacono caught the inbounds pass and ran past the halfcourt line and dropped behind him to a in stride Kris Jenkins. He stepped into the shot and the ball went through the hoop as the buzzer sounded.

You could watch that over and over again and never get tired of it. At this point, we wonder if 'Nova fans haven't stopped.