Last Week in the Big East
Tuesday, January 26
UConn 63, Butler 51
Wednesday, January 27
Creighton 85, Seton Hall 81
Providence 72, Marquette 63
St. John’s 81, DePaul 68
Saturday, January 30
Georgetown 73, Providence 72
Villanova 80, Seton Hall 72
Xavier 68, Butler 55
Creighton 69, DePaul 62
Sunday, January 31
St. John’s 75, Marquette 73
Player of the Week
Marcus Zegarowski, Creighton, G, Jr.
Freshman of the Week
Posh Alexander, St. John’s, G, Fr.
Chudier Bile, Georgetown, F, Fr.
A.J. Reeves, Providence, G, Jr.
Julian Champagnie, St. John’s, F, So.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova, F, So.
Paul Scruggs, Xavier, G, Sr.
All times Eastern
Tuesday, February 2
Butler at Marquette, 5:00 P.M, FS1
Wednesday, February 3
Xavier at DePaul, Postponed
Seton Hall at Providence, 7:00 P.M, FS1
Villanova at St. John’s, 9:00 P.M, CBS Sports
Georgetown at Creighton, 9:00 P.M, FS1
Saturday, February 6
DePaul at Butler, 12:00 P.M, TBA
Seton Hall at UConn, 12:00 P.M, FOX
St. John’s at Providence, 2:00 P.M, FS1
Creighton at Marquette, 5:00 P.M, TBA
Sunday, February 7
Xavier at Villanova, 2:30 P.M, TBA
With the calendar flipping to February, the games get a little bit more meaningful now. The new month opens with Marquette hosting Butler. The Golden Eagles have now dropped three straight, culminating in a home loss to St. John’s on Sunday. Steve Wojciechowski’s team is under .500 and on the wrong side of the bubble. Butler also comes in on a losing streak after dropping both games last week. This is a must-win for both schools
Wednesday night is poised to be a busy one, with three games on the schedule. Providence and Seton Hall face off for the second time this season in the first game. In the first meeting, it was A.J. Reeves that hit a 3-pointer late in overtime to give the Friars the win in an instant classic. Now, the Pirates have dropped four of five, all to Creighton or Villanova. Meanwhile, the Friars knocked off Marquette at home on Wednesday, but gave up a 15-point lead at Georgetown on Saturday. This is an enticing matchup between two teams that could really use a win.
The 9:00 slot features two Big East games. On CBS Sports, the red hot Red Storm host Villanova. Don’t look now, but St. John’s has won four in a row! One win game against Utah Valley, but the other three came on the road against Big East opponents, including then-ranked UConn. Julian Champagnie and Posh Alexander are playing great basketball right now. Mike Anderson’s team could be poised to pull off the upset, but Villanova has yet to lose in Big East play. This may be the most interesting game of the week. Also at 9:00, Georgetown takes on Creighton on FS1. This matchup is less interesting, but Georgetown has played opponents close, and Creighton struggled at times at DePaul. The Hoyas may give the Bluejays a run for their money.
Saturday is another busy day, with four games scheduled. At noon, Butler looks to finish a season sweep of DePaul. Meanwhile, Seton Hall and UConn meet for the first time since 2013 on FOX. The Pirates have not won a game at UConn since 1997, and the Huskies have a 20-2 advantage since that game. This should be an old school Big East battle between Dan Hurley and Kevin Willard, one I am very much looking forward to. Later that afternoon, Providence hosts St. John’s and Marquette hosts Creighton. Depending on how Providence and Marquette do earlier in the week, these games could take on a very urgent tone for both schools.
To round the week out, Villanova and Xavier give us a Super Bowl appetizer. The Musketeers have quietly put together one of the better defenses in the Big East, but will it be enough to slow down Villanova’s vaunted attack? Find out Sunday afternoon!
Edited to reflect Xavier-DePaul being postponed due to positive test within the Xavier program.
Game of the Week
Wednesday, February 3
Seton Hall at Providence
After the first meeting between these two, this was an easy pick. KenPom ranked that one as the 19th most exciting game in college basketball this season, and it certainly had me on the edge of my seat. Now, the stakes are even higher. Seton Hall is looking for a bounce back win after struggling against the top of the Big East. Getting swept by Providence would not help their seeding prospects next month. For the Friars, the margin of error on the season has gotten as slim as ever after the loss to Georgetown. Two wins over the Pirates would help their resume quite a bit.
I’m going to pick the Friars, but I expect it will be close. Ed Cooley teams tend to play well later in the season, so I think they’ll come out firing. Providence 76, Seton Hall 71 is my prediction.
In the Rankings
Not a lot of changes here. Villanova stays at 3, and Creighton moves up from 17 to 15. UConn and Xavier stay in the receiving votes section.
Stat of the Week
KenPom defines “close games” as ones with a final margin of victory of less then 4 points or that go to overtime. Of the 51 Big East games played this season, 13 have met these criteria. Providence accounts for a whopping 6 of them, posting a 3-3 record in those games. The Friars are 3-0 in overtime and 0-3 in regulation in close games.