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NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Villanova

This Week in the Big East: 12/28-1/3

What you need to know this week

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Schedule

All times Eastern

Wednesday, December 30

Butler at Providence, 5:00 PM, FS1

Seton Hall at #22 Xavier, 7:00 PM, FS1

DePaul at UConn, 9:00 PM, CBS Sports

Saturday, January 2

DePaul at St. John’s, 12:00 PM, FS1

#13 Creighton at Providence, 12:00 PM, FOX

Butler at Seton Hall, 4:30 PM, FS1

Marquette at Georgetown, 7:30 PM, CBS Sports

2021 is around the corner, and with it comes a packed Big East lineup. Ten of the conference’s eleven programs will be in action this week, with Vilanova sidelined after head coach Jay Wright and another staff member tested positive for COVID-19. With that said, let’s take a look at the slate of games this week!

Providence hosts Butler in the early game on Wednesday. These two faced off last Wednesday, with Butler coming out on top 70-64. The Friars are coming off a dramatic 2OT win over DePaul. After that, Seton Hall travels to the Cintas Center, where Xavier has not lost this season. The late slot has UConn hosting DePaul. The Huskies and Blue Demons will be battling for their first Big East win this season. Wednesday was supposed to feature Villanova hosting St. John’s and Creighton traveling to Georgetown as well, but the teams all agreed to postpone in favor of rest for the holidays.

Saturday features Big East action all day long. At noon, Creighton at Providence will be nationally televised on FOX, while DePaul and St. John’s play on FS1. Seton Hall hosts Butler at 4:30, and Marquette travels to Georgetown in the late slot to round out a busy day of basketball. Xavier was scheduled to host Villanova as well, but that game has been postponed due to COVID complications.

Providence against Creighton at noon on Saturday is my most anticipated game of the week. This one has huge upset potential. The Friars won their last five games against ranked opponents last season, including a beatdown of the Bluejays at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in early February. These two also combined for one of the most exciting games of last season in Omaha. David Duke scored 36 for Providence, but Marcus Zegarowksi got the last word, hitting the go-ahead three-pointer with 2.7 seconds remaining to give Creighton the win. Those two will go at it again in what should be a great battle from Alumni Hall.


In the Polls

Risers

Villanova Wildcats (#5 to #4)

Creighton Bluejays (#13 to #11)

Fallers

Xavier Musketeers (#22 to RV)

Villanova didn’t play last week, which helps them. Iowa’s loss gives room for the Wildcats to move up. Creighton is also on the rise, with their win over Xavier moving them to just outside the top ten. The Musketeers, meanwhile, dropped back out of the top 25 because of that loss and now sit at 26.


Stat of the Week

Villanova is 351st out of 357 teams in adjusted tempo, and yet the Wildcats have scored at least 80 in six of their nine games. Their turnover percentage of 11.6% is first nationally and the best since KenPom started tracking the statistic in 2002. That’s remarkable efficiency.

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