What an opening week for the Big East! Things went mostly as planned (more on you later, Georgetown) with the conference skating through their opponents with ease until Friday night. First, New Hampshire gave Marquette a scare with an 11-1 run to take the lead late, but the Golden Eagles bounced back quickly to take that one. Then, in the late-night start, UCLA tied things up against Villanova with less than a minute in this top five battle. The Bruins ran away with it in the extra period to hand the conference its first loss of the season.
UConn started a Sunday loaded with action by thoroughly dominating Coppin State. Then, the wheels really fell off as Georgetown got handled at home in their opener against Dartmouth. The Hoyas put together 21-1 and 10-0 runs to come back from an early 16-point deficit, but the Big Green pulled away late for their first win since leap day in 2020.
Butler also gave us this highlight to cap the week.
BECB Player of the Week
New this year, the staff at BECB will be voting on a player of the week every week!
This week’s winner: Justin Moore, G, Villanova.
Moore opened the season with a 27 point performance against Mount St. Mary’s, knocking down six shots from deep and adding seven assists as well. Then, against UCLA, Moore scored 14 points and provided a spark for the Wildcats when they trailed early.
Moore received 3 votes, which was able to pull him into victory. Others who received votes include:
~ Adama Sanogo (UConn)
~ Darryl Morsell (Marquette)
~ Nate Watson (Providence)
~ Posh Alexander (St. John’s)
~ Tyrese Samuel (Seton Hall)
Big East Standings
Here’s where things stand after the first week of action.
Big East Rankings
With the polls updating tomorrow, it will be interesting to see the reaction to Villanova’s loss. A road overtime loss to the #2 team in the country shouldn’t hurt them that much. Other than that, there shouldn’t be too many changes from the voters.
Both Xavier and Georgetown dropped at least ten spots in Kenpom’s rankings. The latter makes sense with a loss to Dartmouth, but the former is eye-opening after the Musketeers started the season 2-0. I guess only beating Niagara by three will do that to you.
Providence and DePaul are the risers of the week. the Friars jumped from 85 to 75 after a second-half rout of Sacred Heart on Thursday night. Meanwhile, Tony Stubblefield started his career with the Blue Demons in style with two convincing wins.
All times Eastern
Monday, November 15
Illinois at Marquette, 7:00, FS1
Providence at Wisconsin, 9:00, FS1
Tuesday, November 16
Howard at Villanova, 6:30, FS2
Creighton at Nebraska, 7:00, FS1
American at Georgetown, 8:30, FS2
Seton Hall at Michigan, 9:00, FS1
Wednesday, November 17
Long Island University at UConn, 6:30, FS2
Michigan State at Butler, 7:00, FS1
St. John’s at Indiana, 9:00, FS1
Thursday, November 18
Ohio State at Xavier, 6:30, FS1
New Hampshire at Providence, 6:30, FS2
Marquette vs Ole Miss, 7:00, ESPN2
Rutgers at DePaul, 8:30, FS1
Friday, November 19
Creighton vs Brown, 3:15, ESPN3
Siena at Georgetown, 6:30, FS2
Marquette vs Elon/West Virginia, 7:00/9:00, ESPN2/U
Saturday, November 20
Binghamton at UConn, 12:00, FS2
Villanova at Tennessee, 1:00, ESPNEWS
Creighton vs Bradley/Colorado State, 4:15, ESPN3*
Fairleigh Dickinson at St. John’s, 6:00, FS2
Western Illinois at DePaul, 8:00, FS2
*Creighton will play Saturday at 4:15 with a win on Friday and Sunday at 6:45 with a loss
It’s a jam-packed week in the Big East. While there are quite a few buy games on the schedule, this week marks the return of the Gavitt Tipoff Games. The two conferences will play a doubleheader on FS1 from Monday through Thursday.
This Big Ten-Big East challenge opens with Marquette and Illinois facing off Monday night. Providence and Wisconsin get the late game that night. On Tuesday, it’s Creighton at Nebraska first in the in-state matchup followed by Seton Hall at Michigan. Wednesday features Butler hosting Michigan State followed by St. John’s at Indiana. Finally, the series wraps up Thursday night with another in-state matchup between Ohio State and Xavier, plus DePaul hosting Rutgers.
Outside of the Gavitt Games, three Big East teams will play in multi-team events this week. Marquette is in the Shriner’s Childrens Charleston Classic played in, you guessed it, Charleston, SC. The Golden Eagles will play three games in this event, starting against Ole Miss this Thursday and followed by games on Friday and Sunday. Creighton will also play in a three-game event, this one being Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands. They’ll play Friday against Brown, then either Saturday with a win or Sunday with a loss, before finishing the event on Monday. Villanova will play just a two-game tournament at Mohegan Sun in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic. They get Tennessee on Saturday afternoon and either UNC or Purdue on Sunday.
Game of the Week
As selected by BECB’s staff, Villanova against Tennessee was the clear favorite. Villanova is 3-1 all-time against the Volunteers, including an 85-76 victory in the 2017 Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals. The Wildcats would go on to win that tournament by knocking off Northern Iowa.
Matt St. Jean: I have a hard time seeing Jay Wright’s team not bouncing back from the loss against UCLA. Tennessee is a formidable opponent, but I’m taking Villanova in this one. Villanova 75, Tennessee 70.
Chris Novak: Nova really had no problem shooting from the perimeter after they got going against UCLA. They shot over 45 percent on 24 attempts, with two more makes than their opponent. Their big issue against the Bruins was in the paint on both ends. They shot under 40 percent and allowed over 50 percent of 2-pointers to be made by the adversary. The good (?) news is that Tennessee struggled inside against UT Martin. They shot under 45 percent and allowed the Skyhawks to shoot over 54 percent. That feels like the area where this game will be won. This is a neutral-site affair between two of the best 15 teams or so in the country. I think Villanova picks up a close win. Maybe to the tune of 71-68.
Robert O’Neill: Despite their loss to UCLA, Nova showed why they’re one of the nation’s best teams this season. Tennessee’s Kennedy Chandler is excellent, but I think at the end of the day, Nova just has more depth and experience than the Vols. Plus, Villanova fans generally show up when the team is at Mohegan Sun, so they’ll have that advantage as well.
Stat of the Week
You’re getting a two-for-one this week. St. John’s and Butler stand at the far ends of the spectrum when it comes to tempo. Mike Anderson and the Red Storm are the sixth fastest team in college basketball so far this season. LaVall Jordon likes to take things slow, and his Butler Bulldogs are the fourth slowest team in the country.