Big East to release hoops schedule next week

USA TODAY Sports

The Big East has confirmed that a conference schedule for men's basketball should be released next week.

A report from ESPN's Andy Katz this morning confirms that the new Big East Conference will release its round-robin conference schedule to the public sometime next week. There are still issues to be worked out, however, as there always have been when many of the league's schools play games in leased facilities.

Villanova uses the Wells Fargo Center to host between three and five bigger draws. Even more challenging, Georgetown, St. John's, Marquette, Seton Hall and DePaul are all co-tenants in NBA or NHL arenas,  and Providence has other tenants at the Dunkin Donuts Center to share time with. Butler, Creighton and Xavier  are the only teams in the new league who have scheduling flexibility, since they play all of their games in on-campus arenas.

The league is expected to announce a five-game New Years Eve basketball marathon, where each team will be paired up and play a game on Fox Sports 1. That event was previously announced in a late-June press release, with St. John's travelling to Xavier to kick things off at noon. Villanova is expected to travel to Butler's historic Hinckle Fieldhouse for a 7:30pm game. The other match-ups announced were: Seton Hall at Providence, 2:30 p.m. ET; DePaul at Georgetown, 5 p.m. ET; and Marquette at Creighton, 10 p.m. ET.

The ESPN report also notes that the Big East plans to assign each team a "protected rival" that they will play annually in the final game of the season. There is no indication of what those rivalry assignments will be, but it will be nearly impossible to make every fanbase satisfied with that arrangement.

None of the schools have yet been informed of their permanent rivalry assignments yet.

UPDATE - 8/29 (6:00pm): New Big East media relations chief John Paquette has clarified to VUhoops that the end-of-season rivalry games will change from year-to-year. So, even if Villanova closes the 2013-14 season with Seton Hall this year, they could be scheduled for Georgetown next season.

"[T]hat does not mean every team will have one rival -- or the same rival -- on the last day of the season," Paquette explained.

In effect, the Big East has only decided to make the last day of the regular season a rivalry for each school. Which rival a school will play, however, can change on a yearly basis.

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