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NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Villanova

This Week in the Big East: January 3

Welcome to 2022!

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Happy New Year Big East fans!

You made it! 2022 is here! Much to the chagrin of my girlfriend, my New Year’s resolution was to watch even more Big East basketball.

Creighton and Marquette wasted no time in making it entertaining, titillating us all with their 2OT thriller on New Year’s Day. Seton Hall and Villanova went back and forth after that, and Providence throttled DePaul to give us all a sense of that return to normalcy.

Catch an in-depth analysis on all of last week’s action in our podcast!

Things We Loved Last Week

Alex O’Connell’s heroics

Usually, when a team rallies from a large deficit and takes the lead in overtime, especially at home, the road team doesn’t have the energy to respond. Alex O’Connell, with a little help from Shaka Smart in the form of not fouling up three, was the exception.

Simas Shows Out

Butler’s Simas Lukosius earned freshman of the week honors with a strong performance in their win over DePaul.

Two Big Men, Two Double-doubles

Two different big men for Providence tallied double-doubles this week. Noah Horchler drilled a career high five threes in the win over Seton Hall on Wednesday, finishing with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Then, Justin Minaya followed that up with 12 points and 11 rebounds at DePaul on Saturday.

When I asked Minaya about sharing time with Horchler, his immediate smile says it all.

Ed Cooley, motivational speaker

If Providence coach Ed Cooley ever leaves coaching, he has a bright future as a motivational speaker. Who wasn’t fired up after this?

In the Rankings

Big East Rankings

School BE Record Record AP NET KenPom T-Rank
School BE Record Record AP NET KenPom T-Rank
Villanova 2-1 9-4 19 11 11 11
UConn 1-1 10-3 RV (39) 16 23 33
Xavier 1-1 11-2 22 22 26 17
Providence 3-0 13-1 16 27 40 21
Seton Hall 0-2 9-3 24 28 29 32
Creighton 2-0 10-3 RV (2) 53 48 53
Marquette 0-3 8-6 83 85 110
DePaul 0-2 9-3 88 99 121
St. John's 0-0 8-3 116 83 79
Butler 1-0 8-4 124 104 138
Georgetown 0-0 6-5 161 116 153
Rankings as of 1/3

Stock Rising

Providence Friars: Ed Cooley has the Friars as the top Big East team in the AP poll after consecutive quality wins this week. This is clearly the best Providence team since the Kris Dunn years.

Villanova Wildcats: Against Xavier, it was Eric Dixon. At Seton Hall, Brandon Slater rose to the occasion. Much maligned to start the season, Villanova’s forwards have played much better recently.

Stock Falling

DePaul Blue Demons: The loss at Butler without David Jones is excusable. But an 0-2 start to Big East play is not good, especially when considering that the team trailed 42-14 at one point at home against Providence.

Marquette Golden Eagles: Watching this team, you’d have no idea they haven’t won a game since December 8th. Marquette has four consecutive losses, three of which came at home. This team has shown they can compete with good opponents, but the wins haven’t come as of late.


The Schedule

Big East Schedule

Time Matchup TV
Time Matchup TV
Tuesday, January 4
Postponed #22 Xavier at Georgetown
8:00 PM #24 Seton Hall at Butler CBS Sports Network
9:00 PM #16 Providence at Marquette FOX Sports 1
Wednesday, January 5
6:30 PM DePaul at St. John's FOX Sports 1
8:30 PM Creighton at #19 Villanova FOX Sports 1
Friday, January 7
6:30 PM Marquette at Georgetown FOX Sports 1
8:30 PM #22 Xavier at Butler FOX Sports 1
Saturday, January 8
12:00 PM UConn at #24 Seton Hall FOX
12:00 PM St. John's at #16 Providence FOX Sports 1
2:00 PM #19 Villanova at DePaul FOX Sports 1
ESPN

Georgetown and St. John’s are both currently scheduled to play their first Big East games of the season this week, with St. John’s set to host DePaul on Wednesday and Georgetown to welcome Marquette to the nation’s capital on Friday.

This week could be a challenging one for the Big East’s ranked teams, all of whom have to play on the road. #24 Seton Hall and #16 Providence travel to Butler and Marquette, respectively, on Tuesday night. Both Hinkle Fieldhouse and Fiserv Forum are notoriously tough venues for opponents. Seton Hall and Marquette will both be trying to end losing streaks, while Providence has won eight in a row and Butler opened Big East play with a win last week.

Both ranked teams return home to face unranked opponents in UConn and St. John’s this Saturday. Seton Hall will get a UConn team fresh off a COVID pause. The Friars face a Red Storm team that has given them fits ever since Mike Anderson was hired.

Butler and Marquette will return to action on Friday night. Marquette heads to Georgetown in their conference opener, while Butler hosts another ranked foe. This time, they get a Xavier team that won’t have played since losing to Villanova on December 21st. The Bulldogs struggled before conference play, but this week offers them an opportunity to make some noise.

After St. John’s against DePaul on Wednesday night, #19 Villanova hosts a Creighton team that already defeated them by 20 in Omaha. Will the Wildcats be able to return the favor?

Villanova and DePaul cap the week’s action, meeting in Chicago on Saturday afternoon. Could this road trip be a trap situation for Villanova? They haven’t lost to DePaul since 2008.

BECB Game of the Week

UConn at #24 Seton Hall, 12:00 PM, Saturday, January 8

This is tough to predict considering we have no idea which players will be available for Dan Hurley. The winner of this game will likely be ranked next Monday, so the stakes are high. At full strength, this should be a relatively even matchup. With the unknowns and what should be a highly motivated Seton Hall squad, I’m sticking with the home team.

My prediction: Seton Hall 70, UConn 55.


Stat of the Week

You’re getting two stats for the price of one today, and they both have something in common: 7. That’s how many steals Butler’s Aaron Thompson recorded against DePaul, a career high. It’s also the number of blocks Nick Ongenda had against the Friars on Saturday.

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