Things We Loved Last Week
I’m debuting a new section this week. Here you’ll find my personal favorite moments and things I’m thinking about from the last week in the Big East.
Let’s get started.
Seton Hall knocks off #4 Michigan at the Crisler Center
This may be the single most impressive victory of the season by any team in college basketball. Yes, UCLA beat #4 Villanova, but they did it at home. And UCLA was expected to be that good. Seton Hall started the year unranked, although that will certainly change on Monday, and they played with great toughness in an intense road environment. Jared Rhoden lived up to his First Team All-Big East billing on Tuesday night. Not many teams can do down 11 at Michigan and bounce back to win, especially a Michigan team as good as this year’s group is projected to be. The Pirates just put the rest of the Big East on notice.
Xavier Trolls Ohio State Fans by Playing ‘Hail to the Victors,’ then Beats Ohio State to Win Gavitt Tipoff for Big East
Here’s a two-parter. First, Xavier played the alma mater of Michigan, ‘Hail to the Victors,’ while showing Ohio State fans on the scoreboard on Thursday. That’s some high-quality trolling right there. A+.
The Musketeers followed that up by beating Ohio State and ending a 32-game win-streak for the Buckeyes against in-state opponents. Oh, and it gave the Big East their first win of the Gavitt Tipoff Challenge since it’s inception. Hat tip to DePaul for putting the cherry on top by beating Rutgers later that night as well.
Kam Jones Explodes at Charles Classic
Kam Jones, a true freshman who was recruited by Steve Wojciechowski to come to Marquette and stayed after the coaching change, hit back-to-back threes to put the Golden Eagles ahead for good against West Virginia. In the first two games of the Charleston Classic, he’s hit 6 threes and scored 30 points. Not bad for an unheralded true freshman in the spotlight for the first time. We shall watch his career with great interest.
It’s hard to tell which is the bigger story: the Big East winning the Gavitt Games, or the resurgence of the Golden Eagles. Under Shaka Smart, Marquette showed renewed energy this week and posted a 3-0 record. All three victories involved a comeback from down double-digits. All three were upset bids. There’s ten coaches a lot more scared to head out to Fiserv Forum this season than they were a month ago, that’s for sure.
Ed Cooley Finds Out Marquette Beat Illinois
I’ll wrap this up by going back to the start of the week for a wholesome moment. During his post-game press conference after Providence defeated Wisconsin, Ed Cooley was told Marquette had knocked off Illinois earlier in the night. His reaction will certainly put a smile on your face.
Ed Cooley reaction to a 2-0 @BIGEAST start to Gavitt Games is priceless. pic.twitter.com/u8RU6qt24L— Kevin McNamara (@KevinMcNamara33) November 16, 2021
Scores and Recaps
Monday, November 15
Tuesday, November 16
Wednesday, November 17
UConn 93, LIU 40
Indiana 76, St. John’s 74
Thursday, November 18
Providence 69, New Hampshire 58
Rutgers 70, DePaul 73
Friday, November 19
Marquette 82, West Virginia 71
Saturday, November 20
UConn 87, Binghamton 63
Villanova 71, Tennessee 53
St. John’s 87, Fairleigh Dickinson 74
DePaul 84, Western Illinois 80
In the Rankings
Big East Rankings
Marquette Golden Eagles
Marquette went 3-0 this week, beating Illinois, Ole Miss, and West Virginia. Their Kenpom ranking shot up from 95 to 71 since last week. No team’s stock is rising faster than the Golden Eagles.
Seton Hall Pirates
Seton Hall’s win at Michigan launched them to the forefront of the conversation about the second best team in the Big East. Jared Rhoden is the real deal for them, and Bryce Aiken finally seemed to be the guy Seton Hall fans expected last year.
Providence is 4-0 to start the season for the first time since 2015-16, which is also the last time they won in the Gavitt Games. Ed Cooley’s veteran lineup seems poised to avoid some of the early season missteps that have plagued the Friars in recent years.
Butler and St. John’s
These two schools were the only Big East teams to lose in the Gavitt Games, and therefore they find themselves in this spot. All in favor to put their conference membership on probation?
All times Eastern
Sunday, November 21
Norfolk State at Xavier, 12:00, FS1
Villanova vs Purdue, 1:00, ABC
Colorado State vs Creighton, 5:45, ESPN
St. Bonaventure vs Marquette, 7:30, ESPN
Monday, November 22
Creighton vs TBD, TBA, ESPN3
Butler at Houston, 4:30, ESPN2
Ohio State vs Seton Hall, 6:00, FS1
Providence vs Northwestern, 9:30, ESPN+
Tuesday, November 23
Butler vs Texas A&M/Wisconsin, 2:30/5:00, ESPN/ESPN2
Providence vs Georgia/Virginia, 5:00/7:30, ESPN2
St. Francis Brooklyn at St. John’s, 7:00, FS2
Wednesday, November 24
Butler vs TBD, TBA, TBA
UConn vs Auburn, 2:30, ESPN
Seton Hall vs Cal/Florida, 6:00/8:30, FS1
Xavier vs Iowa State, 7:00, ESPNU
Thursday, November 25
UConn vs Michigan State/Loyola-Chicago, 12:00/2:30, ESPN/ESPN2
Georgetown vs San Diego State, 11:30, ESPN2
Friday, November 26
UConn vs TBD, TBA, TBD
Northern Kentucky at DePaul, 5:00, FS2
Georgetown vs TBA, 9:00, TBA
Xavier vs Memphis/Virginia Tech, 7:00/9:30, TBA
Saturday, November 27
Saint Peter’s at Providence, 12:00, FS2
NJIT at St. John’s, 4:00, FS2
SIU Edwardsville at Creighton, 6:00, FS2
Northern Illinois at Marquette, 8:00, FS2
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! With the holiday comes quite a few tournaments this week, and therefore a wonky looking schedule. There’s going to be a lot of quality basketball all week long, but we’ll jump right to the game of the week.
BECB Game of the Week
UConn vs Auburn
Wednesday, 2:30; ESPN
It’s an open competition for the second spot in the Big East this year. Xavier knocked off Ohio State last week. Seton Hall won at Michigan. Marquette went 3-0 against top 60 opponents. The Huskies, on the other hand, have yet to play anyone outside the fourth quadrant. That changes on Wednesday against Auburn. This will be the first big test for Dan Hurley this season, and it comes right before Thanksgiving. This will be one to sit back and enjoy. Let’s get to the predictions.
Matt St. Jean: Auburn is a good team, but they are every bit as unproven as UConn. The Huskies have dominated everyone they’ve played. Give me UConn in this one.
Tommy Godin: This UConn-Auburn game is going to be electric, and is easily the game of the week in the Big East. Both teams will be coming into this matchup looking to notch their first notable win of the season in the first round of the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament this week. UConn’s strength is their versatility and depth which is a good combination for a depleted Auburn roster. I like UConn in what could be the game of the tournament.
Stat of the Week
Javon Freeman-Liberty of DePaul had his second double-double of the season Saturday night. He scored a new career-high with 33 points and added 11 rebounds. That’s a dominant performance that deserves recognition.