BIG EAST Basketball Preview: Week 2

Al Bello

Referee debates begin to sprout as we enter a week in which all but one day will include BIG EAST action.

Before we take a breather from last week and take a glance at the upcoming schedule, I'd like to share that I was 10-0 in my picks on Friday and Saturday. Thus, before continuing to read, bow down to me you peasants.

(Editor's Note: Okay hotshot, we're officially keeping track)

Now, let's take a look at the Wildcats' next meeting.

Villanova Wildcats

Wednesday, 7:00 pm - CBS Sports Network

Villanova definitely woke up Saturday morning with a "What the hell happened last night?!" mentality. After shooting 16% from 3-land and not taking complete control of their game against Lafayette until under 5 minutes left, the 'Cats certainly have a lot of work to do. Basically, anything involved with 3-pointers needs to be looked at. They next face the Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers. Last season, Mount St. Mary's lost to LIU Brooklyn in the NEC tournament final. Hopefully Jay Wright talks about chucking less 3's and more inside offense, then Villanova should live to see a 2-0 start

Now, let's see our first matchup of the week (TONIGHT!) with Creighton

Monday

Creighton Bluejays

8:00 pm- Fox Sports 1

The 'Jays will welcome in the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos. I challenge you all to read that name again and not laugh. It makes sense, though, with all the Kangaroos in North America; let alone Kansas City. Last season, The 'Roos had half as many wins as syllables in their official team name. Creighton should dominate, with Doug McDermott getting 90 points.

Tuesday

Marquette Golden Eagles

7:00 pm - Fox Sports 1

Remember that school whose basketball team had 0 wins last year? Yep, Grambling State Tigers will face Marquette next. Grambling State lost again, which opens the possibility for "The Last Time Grambling State won a game, ______" jokes. I'll start:

The last time Grambling State won a game, Derrick Rose hadn't torn his ACL.

Well, they last were victorious on March 3rd, 2012. Think of some other ones if you can! In all seriousness though, the school is having some tough times, piling on to the football team strike. Look for Marquette to coast to a two game winning streak to start the season.

Before I go on to discuss Xavier, the other Tuesday evening event, I'd like to draw some attention to Marquette's victory last week against the Southern University Jaguars. Marquette attempted 53 free throws on 34 personal fouls against the Jaguars. The new hand-check rule is proving to be an issue with players, coaches and referees alike. Maybe this will take some time to get used to, but through the first weekend it really is hampering college basketball. Further down I discuss some more games that had similar issues with foul calls. What do you believe will be the outcome of the rule? Positive or negative? Should we let them play out or be quick to the whistle?

Back to our look at the week ahead.

Xavier Musketeers

9:00 pm- Fox Sports 1

The Tennessee Volunteers will travel to Cincinnati to take on Xavier. The 7th seeded Mercer Bears upset the Volunteers in the first round of the NIT to successfully end their 2012-2013 season. To add insult to injury, the Volunteers took a big hit to their starting lineup this offseason when Senior guard Trae Golden transfered to Georgia Tech. The Vols' Jarnell Stokes should be a pest to guard in the front court, but Matt Stainbrook filled in nicely for Travis Taylor (graduation) so Xavier should send Tennessee packing with a loss.

Wednesday

Seton Hall Pirates

7:00 pm - Fox Sports 2

The Kent St. Golden Flashes (Kent State what now?) will enter the Prudential Center coming off a 36 point victory against the Ohio Northern Polar Bears (are schools pulling their nicknames out of a hat????). Looking at the Flashes' roster, many coaches skip a heart beat after reading Blake Vedder's height as 7-4. Luckily for the Pirates, he's a senior who's averaged no more than 5 minutes a game, meaning he must be quite uncoordinated. Kent State made it to the second round of the College Insider Tournament before falling to Loyola MD Greyhounds (we still do not know what the College Insider Tournament is, nor do we want to actually look it up). While Kent State has six players register at 6-8 or taller, I doubt the Golden Flashes come away with the win. Look for the Pirates to steal this one.

This was one of the games I was discussing before with the fouls. My dad attended this game and it lasted almost 3 hours. In total, 73 personal fouls were called. By the first TV timeout in the first half, the Pirates WERE IN THE DOUBLE BONUS. To put this foul number in perspective, their opponent, the Niagara Purple Eagles, scored 72 points. This isn't the only game left to discuss with fouls galore, either.

Georgetown Hoyas

7:00 pm- Fox Sports 1

The Wright State Raiders come in to this game 1-0 while Georgetown will return stateside with a loss to the Oregon Ducks in tow. The Raiders' forward AJ Pacher is coming off a perfect 9-9 shooting game after averaging 5.4 points/game last season. We will look to see if his stellar performance against the Mount St. Joseph Lions can be repeated, but I doubt it. Look for Joshua Smith and Markel Starks to step up with an easier matchup than last weeks'; both teams should move on with 1-1 records.

This is that other game I foreshadowed with the foul issues. Against Oregon, a total of 59 fouls were called. Eight players either had four or 5 personals. If this keeps up, get ready for some no-name walk-ons to enter the court and log some minutes.

Providence Friars

7:00 pm- Fox Sports 2

The Brown Bears (now THIS NAME makes sense!) enter the Dunkin Donuts Center matching the Friars' 1-0 record. Senior Bears guard Sean McGonagill dropped 22 points last week against the Binghamton Bearcats, but look for Friar's Bryce Cotton to at least neutralize the Ivy-Leaguer's stat line and lead the Friars to their first 2-0 start this millennium. Keep an eye on LaDontae Henton of Providence, too.

What's that? You want to hear more stories about the abundance of foul calls? Fine then! Last week, against the Boston College Eagles, three members of each team fouled out, with the Friar's 3 being in the starting lineup. Only 55 fouls called, though, so no big deal!

DePaul Blue Demons

9:00 pm

Get ready for THIS stat: DePaul has as many losses as the Kentucky Wildcats. You didn't misread that. A team whose starting 5 consists of Top 10 recruits has lost the same amount of losses as a team who hasn't had more than three conference wins since 2008. DePaul will put their undefeated record on the line against Conference USA's Southern Miss Golden Eagles. I would usually pick against the Blue Demons here, but seeing as how good they rebounded last week, put another win on the board for them, even though they padded those rebounding stats against against Grambling State (did I mention they haven't won a game in a while?). More good news for Blue Demons fans: Kentucky is playing number 2 ranked Michigan State Spartans, so that stat could stay put for a little while longer!

Thursday

No games. Take a breather. You deserve it. Maybe watch the Colts take on the Titans on Thurs... never mind. Just rest so that you surge through the weekends' exciting matchups.

Friday

St. John's Red Storm

6:00 pm- Fox Sports 2

The Wagner Seahawks travel to the City That Never Sleeps coming off of a loss to Penn State. While they've only played one game this season, one stat sticks out like a sore thumb for the 'Hawks- 29.9%. That was their field goal percentage last week. The Red Storm will only prove to be tougher against Wagner- the Johnnies will get win number 1.

Xavier Musketeers

8:00 pm- Fox Sports 2

The Musketeer's second game of the week is again at home, this time vs. Morehead State Eagles. The last Big East opponent Morehead State faced was the West Virginia Mountaineers, where they lost by 35 at home. Look for the talent level in the Big East be a shock to the Eagles' system, with Xavier taking 2 wins this calendar week.

Saturday

Marquette Golden Eagles

1:00 pm

With the matchup of the week, the Golden Eagles will open its doors to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Each of these teams lost in the Elite 8 of the March Madness Tournament. The Buckeyes' starters averaged over 7 rebounds each in their first game of the year, and this defense will play a large role seeing as Marquette was outrebounded by Southern in their respective first game. Watch Ohio State's LaQuinton Ross go crazy in this matchup as Marquette will fail to create an early upset. My first non-Big East pick this calendar week.

DePaul Blue Demons

2:00 pm

The Blue Demon's third home game of the year will come facing Wright State. The Raiders will have come off of a loss (we presume) to the Hoyas on the road as well, so a tired squad would be taking the court Saturday evening. Don't look now, but DePaul will start undefeated throughout its first three home games.

Seton Hall Pirates

3:00 pm

The Pirates' first away game will be at Mercer. The Bears first game of the 2013-2014 season ended in just a 3-point loss to the Texas Longhorns. Seton Hall had a laundry list of injuries last season, so there are still some mis-communication amongst the starters. Mercer will leave victorious.

Providence Friars

4:00 pm

The Friars will match up against the Marist Red Foxes for their second games of the week. Marist has started the year 0-2 and is losing by an average of over 20 points a game. What does the Fox say? 0-3.

Creighton BlueJays

7:00pm

The BlueJays will face a familar foe for Villanovans in the St. Joseph's Hawks. St. Jo's impressively had two players score 20+ points in their first game at the University of Vermont, but the only team that can stop Doug McDermott is Duke, so he can easily equal any point total for Hawks put forth. The Bluejays fly back home with a win on their back.

Butler Bulldogs

8:00 pm- Fox Sports 2

The Princeton Tigers come to Indiana looking for their second win of the year. Butler's first win came off of an outstanding 54.3% shooting, even with a 4-17 mark from outside the arc. Though the opponent was the Lamar Cardinals, a shooting performance like that does not go unnoticed. The poor 3 point output means many baskets in the paint. Not a chance the Ivy League can stop that paint presence - the Bulldogs will stay undefeated before welcoming Vanderbilt Commodores.

Sunday

Villanova Wildcats

5:00- Fox Sports 1

What a way to end a Big East week! The Towson Tigers come to the Pavilion with what will be three games under their belt. In the first game of the year, the Tigers annihilated the Navy Midshipmen by 27. Good news for the Wildcats: Towson only shot 25% from three-land if you take away Four McGlynn's 5-7 performance (just to clarify, his name is FOUR). Look for Villanova to start off the year 3-0, especially if they win the rebound battle.

Get used to this, folks. We have A LOT OF GAMES going on, each and every week! Now that these games are spread out over the course of 6 days, there's no excuse not to watch! Enjoy!

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