BIG EAST Basketball Preview: Week 16

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova's second Wells Fargo game is against the red-hot Red Storm on Saturday, and Creighton-Marquette is our "That used to be a great game" matchup of the week

Same old story. Let's not talk about it. Moving on.

Villanova Wildcats

Tuesday 7:00pm @ Providence Friars

Fox Sports 1

My first thought is to stop Bryce Cotton. However, it seems best to do the exact opposite. Against Georgetown, Cotton dropped 31 points while the bench only had 4, and they still lost TO GEORGETOWN. I have the ultimate respect for Cotton, however he cannot take down a team like Villanova by himself. If Villanova does a good job in the front court and plays just good back court defense, Providence will fall.

Saturday 1:30pm vs. St. John's Red Storm

Fox Sports 1

I bet you know I'm excited for this one. This game will be won in the back court. Jakaar Sampson will go up with JayVaughn Pinkston, and block specialists Daniel Ochefu and Chris Obekpa will be paired up. I'd put Ryan Arcidiacono on D`Angelo Harrison and a lot is already going on here. I know students are excited for this one also, especially with St. John's going on a rampage lately. Ticket demand is high.

Creighton Bluejays

Wednesday 8:00pm @ Marquette Golden Eagles

Fox Sports 1

Apparently there's a switch that flips on in Creighton's mind, and they can shoot over 60% on command. Do that. The only issue is Davante Gardner. Creighton, especially Ethan Wragge, had a difficult time stopping the offense down low, and Wragge could not foul and enforce the "No Easy Baskets" effect. If Gardner can keep that up, he can really cause some issues for the big 3-point shooter, and they'll need Doug McDermott to slide over. He could then get in some foul trouble.

Sunday 5:00pm vs. Seton Hall Pirates

FOX

Lately Fuquan Edwin has not been hitting his shots. With a subpar him, the rest of the team literally cannot function(Must I bring up St. Peter's Peacocks again?).Gene Teague can act like Gardner could, but he's not nearly as skilled at the free throw line (67.1% to Gardner's 77.8%). Just keep shooting those 3's because that student section is on fire!

Xavier Musketeers

Wednesday 7:00pm vs. DePaul Blue Demons

CBS Sports Network

I try and give DePaul respect every week, but they've lost 8 straight and there's no more Cleveland Melvin. Just give it to Matt Stainbrook because there's no one down there.

Saturday 11:30am @ Georgetown Hoyas

Fox Sports 1

The Hoyas dropped a big one in MSG yesterday because they shot poorly from behind the arc; 21.4%. They also had very very very bad foul trouble in all but 1 player having 3 or more fouls. Combine that with less than 40 points from their starters and it's bad news. The Hoyas no doubt have a great back court with Markel Starks and D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera, but Matt Stainbrook and Isaiah Philmore have to execute in the paint to take this one on the road, a place Xavier struggles.

Marquette Golden Eagles

Wednesday 8:00pm vs. Creighton Bluejays

Fox Sports 1

I'll just repeat what I said in the Creighton commentary. FEED to Davante Gardner. Creighton most likely will not go 200% from the floor again, and Villanova was able to at least stay with the Bluejays with the lights out shooting. With less success on Creighton's part, Marquette can gain ground with free throws and "and-one's" and separate themselves from the blue birds.

Saturday 2:00pm @ DePaul Blue Demons

CBS Sports Network

Again, just be yourself. Both of DePaul's games this week are on CBSSN so that as few people as possible can view it.

Providence Friars

Tuesday 7:00pm vs. Villanova Wildcats

Fox Sports 1

Shooting over 60% seems to work really well against the Wildcats. Or hitting 20 3's *cries in corner* but getting into the early lead is what emphasizes the Wildcats' love of the long ball. Against Creighton, Villanova tried to hit those long 3's to quickly climb back into the game, however they weren't falling and in that time Creighton jumped multiple possessions ahead. I know Bryce Cotton has that in him.

Sunday 6:00pm @ Butler Bulldogs

Fox Sports 1

Butler has been very bad at home in the conference with their only win coming in overtime against Marquette almost a month ago. Butler ranks last in PPG and FT% in the conference, and is third worst in the Big East in rebounding. Looks the exact opposite for Bryce Cotton, Kadeem Batts, LaDontae Henton and the entire Friars team. Friars win.

St. John's Red Storm

Tuesday 9:00pm vs. Butler Bulldogs

Fox Sports 1

Butler just does not simply have the strength in the front court to stop Obekpa and Sampson. Obekpa could have 5 blocks on Kameron Woods alone, and he should teach the Big East's leading rebounder a lesson or 2. The last time these two met in Indiana, the win by St. John's was a shocker. Now, St. John's has proven themselves winning 8 of their last 9. St. John's will take it in NYC.

Saturday 1:30 @ Villanova Wildcats

Fox Sports 1

I assume James Bell will be on D`Angelo Harrison or Rysheed Jordan. However, if he's placed on a forward, utilize that matchup. It was most likely a fluke, but Bell was pretty bad at defense in the paint on Sunday. If not, they still need to go inside. Obekpa is terrible at free throws, but getting the fouls to rack up on Ochefu and Pinkston will be crucial down the road.

Georgetown Hoyas

Thursday 9:00pm @ Seton Hall Pirates

CBS Sports Network

Seton Hall stole on in DC last time, so can G'Town tie up the series? Not if the Hoyas repeat their performance from Sunday night. The Hoyas were in awful foul trouble, having Jabril Trawick to foul out in 23 minutes and six other players have 3 or 4 fouls. With the backup backups in, Fuquan can be subpar and put up 25, with Brian Oliver getting no defensive pressure at all. Seton Hall can take this one if the Hoyas play stupid again. Hence, don't be a Casual Hoya.

Saturday 11:30am vs. Xavier Musketeers

Fox Sports 1

Xavier's 2-4 road record in conference play doesn't bode well, but that absence of Joshua Smith does. I think Georgetown's good back court can at least neutralize Semaj Christon, however it's all in their offense. If the guards can't lead the way- such as Jabril fouling out while coming off the bench- this game won't be pretty for the Hoyas. I like Jabril coming off the bench, however he needs to perform more.

Seton Hall Pirates

Thursday 9:00pm vs. Georgetown Hoyas

CBS Sports Network

Again, guards guards guards. Fuquan, Sterling Gibbs and Oliver. Starks, Smith-Rivera, Trawick. It will come down to that. SHU has Teague and Patrik Auda for further assistance, however if the guards don't deliver in this one, the Hoyas and Pirates will split the series 1 a-piece.

Sunday 5:00pm @ Creighton Bluejays

FOX

I want to think the Pirates can steal this one- I really do- but I just can't. The images that were put in my mind on Sunday.... they will never leave. Creighton is a number 1 seed in my mind right now. (Just kidding).

Butler Bulldogs

Tuesday 9:00pm @ St. John's

Fox Sports 1

St. John's only two home losses are to a then-scary Providence, and yours truly. While in last place, Butler STILL plays some pretty close games! They have the pieces but fall flat at the end. The inconsistency of Kellen Dunham stand out. He goes for 16 points against Creighton in a close match, yet goes 1-10 for only 2 points vs. Xavier? He needs to be on point if Butler wants a chance on the road.

Sunday 6:00pm vs. Providence Friars

Fox Sports 1

I'm sticking with the "Bryce vs. all" defensive plan. Even for Butler, they have enough weapons to stay close in games- they stayed close to Creighton! However, the Bulldogs need to finish them as well. They can set themselves up as long as they want, but if they do not follow through, there is no point.

DePaul Blue Demons

Wednesday 7:00pm @ Xavier Musketeers

CBS Sports Network

DePaul has good guards in Brandon Young and Billy Garrett Jr., but combined they are no match for Semaj Christon. Just don't forget that 2 is greater than 1, so if one of those 2 can hold on to Semaj, DePaul will have its slightest glimmer of hope.

Saturday 2:00pm vs. Marquette Golden Eagles

CBS Sports Network

I'm supposed to explain how DePaul can stop Marquette, but I just can't. Davante Gardner would easily defeat Cleveland Melvin, and his absence just symbolizes the lack of power this school has.

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