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NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Villanova

This Week in the Big East: 1/11-1/17

What you need to know this week

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week in the Big East

Tuesday, January 5

UConn 65, Marquette 54 - Recap

Wednesday, January 6

Butler 63, Georgetown 55 - Recap

Xavier 69, St. John’s 61

Creighton 89, Seton Hall 53 - Recap

Saturday, January 9

Creighton 97, St. John’s 79 - Recap

Seton Hall 76, DePaul 68

UConn 72, Butler 60 - Recap

Syracuse 74, Georgetown 69 - Recap

Sunday, January 10

Xavier 74, Providence 73 - Recap

Big East Player of the Week

Tyler Polley, Connecticut, F, Sr.

Big East Freshman of the Week

Colby Jones, Xavier, G, Fr.

Big East Honor Roll

Bryce Nze, Butler, F, Sr.

Denzel Mahoney, Creighton, G-F, Sr.

Dawson Garcia, Marquette, F, Fr.

David Duke, Providence, G, Jr.

Jared Rhoden, Seton Hall, F, Jr.

The Schedule

All times Eastern

Monday, January 11

#25 UConn at DePaul, 6:00 P.M, FS1

Tuesday, January 12

Butler at St. John’s, 7:00 P.M, FS1

Providence at Marquette, 9:00 P.M, FS1

Wednesday, January 13

DePaul at Georgetown, 8:30 P.M, FS1

Saturday, January 16

Georgetown at Providence, 12:00 P.M, FS1

Marquette at St. John’s, 2:00 P.M, FS1

Xavier at Seton Hall, 3:30 P.M, CBS Sports

#8 Creighton at Butler, 4:00 P.M, FOX

Villanova is still on pause, and that means their games at Xavier and UConn are off this week’s schedule.

The slate of weekday games is light this week. Monday night features two teams trending in opposite directions. DePaul has dropped three straight, while Big East Player of the Week Tyler Polley and the Huskies have won three in a row and are back in the top 25.

Tuesday night is the only doubleheader of the week. Butler and St. John’s play in the early game. The Red Storm’s lone Big East win came at home, while the Bulldogs have not won on the road all season. Later that night, the Friars head to Marquette to play the Golden Eagles. Providence has dropped the last two in heartbreaking fashion and will be playing on short rest. Marquette, on the other hand, has had a week off since blowing an 18 point lead against UConn. The Friars have struggled at Marquette, posting just a 3-11 record there all-time, but those 3 wins have come in the last 4 meetings in Milwaukee. Steve Wojciechowski’s team has not won a home game in Big East play, but they did beat #9 Wisconsin at home in early December.

DePaul plays for the second time in three days on Wednesday, traveling to Washington, D.C. to take on Georgetown. The Hoyas will be hoping to snap a five game losing streak after losing to Syracuse on Saturday. These two split the series last season, with each team taking the home game.

Saturday will be busy. Providence hosts Georgetown at noon in each team’s second game this week. Marquette and St. John’s follow them up. St. John’s knocked off the Golden Eagles in last year’s regular season finale. Xavier and Seton Hall tip-off later that afternoon, with the Pirates looking to complete a sweep of the Musketeers. Creighton heads to Butler to round out the afternoon. The Bluejays will be looking for their seventh win in Big East play.

Game of the Week

Saturday, January 16

Xavier at Seton Hall, 3:30 P.M, CBS Sports

Although Seton Hall dominated the Musketeers at the Cintas Center just over two weeks prior, I expect this game to be a different contest.

The Pirates took the first meeting 85-68 and had six scorers in double-figures. At the other end, Paul Scruggs, Colby Jones, Nate Johnson, and Adam Kunkel combined to shoot 0-9 from deep. Bryce Aiken was one of those six for Seton Hall, but an ankle injury suffered against Creighton may keep him out of the rematch. Ben Stanley will also miss this one with a torn ACL. He had 12 points for the Musketeers in their first meeting.

Both of these teams have been inconsistent this season, and the first meeting was one of those games where one team is firing on all cylinders and the other can’t get out of the starting block. With no fans, winning on the road should be easier this season, and the Musketeers will be motivated to split the series. Scruggs, Jones, and Johnson have found their stroke again since game one. If they play well, Xavier will be in position to pull off the upset. Still, Mamukelashvili has shown no signs of slowing down, and he can single-handedly take over a game in a way few others can.

I’ve got Seton Hall in a close one. Pirates 77, Musketeers 71.

In the Rankings

Rankings as of January 11

UConn is back in the rankings! After two strong performances in wins over Marquette and Butler, they moved up. The win over Butler came without Player of the Year Candidate James Bouknight, as well. The Huskies are surging.

Villanova stayed put, and Creighton dropped despite two dominant victories. If the Bluejays keep playing like this, however, it will be hard to keep them out of the top five.

Stat of the Week

David Duke is the headliner for Providence, but let’s not let what Nate Watson has done this season go unnoticed. The big man leads the Big East in shooting percentage and offensive rebounds. He’s averaging 18.3 points per game, more than double his average last season. Watson also gets to the line more than five times per game, and he hits over 72 percent of those shots. He’s improved at the line by over 15 percent from last season.

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