BIG EAST Basketball Preview: Week 6

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

This week is highlighted by our old friend Syracuse, and the Cincinnati vs. Xavier battle. "Battle" might not be an exaggeration.

The Women's team couldn't overcome the St. Joseph's (PA) Hawks Saturday afternoon, however the Men's team avenged their loss in the evening to stay undefeated! DePaul goes 0-1, and (whatever) so let's look at this week's matchups.

Villanova Wildcats

Sunday 2:30pm vs. La Salle Explorers

Fox Sports 1

The Wildcats look to continue their Big 5 dominance after a full week's rest. The 'Cats did a fabulous job with turnovers against the Hawks, giving the ball up only 5 times. They shoot 72.2% from the line, which is very respectable and could keep them in a close game. However, let's look at the stat I love most: opponent 3-point percentage. La Salle stands at dreadful 29.5% from behind the arc. Is that my only argument? IT'S THE ONLY ARGUMENT I NEED SHAWN! I smell 10-0.

Providence Friars

Nothing

Nothing

No action for the Friars this week. It must be nice to play the Rhode Island Rams on the road, IN YOUR OWN STATE, just to get 12 days off. TWELVE.

Butler Bulldogs

Monday 8:00pm vs. Manchester Spartans

Fox Sports 1

I guess nothing interesting is on TV for Fox Sports 1, because they elected to take this one. Manchester is a Division III team also in Indiana known solely for their History and Political Science programs. They shoot 29.4% from the floor, 19.1% from 3, and 60% from the line. Also, they went 4-21 last year. No. They lose.

Saturday 6:00pm vs. Purdue Boilermakers

Big Ten Network

An actual toss-up here. Purdue ranks in the top 75 in the nation in points/game (79.7) and rebounds/game (39.0). Their backcourt is anchored by brothers Terone Johnson and Ronnie Johnson, leading the team in scoring. Sophomore center A.J. Hammons will be a pest down low, averaging 6.7 rebounds and 4.0 blocks. Butler's backcourt is also commanding. Sophomore Kellen Dunham averages 19.1 points/game, and Khyle Marshall will give the Boilermaker frontcourt a tough time. Out of Purdue's 8 wins, only 1 team was above .500. I think Butler takes this one at home.

Creighton Bluejays

Nothing

Nothing

Can Villanova have one of these periods off?

Georgetown Hoyas

Nothing

Nothing

No team should be able to lose to the Northeastern Huskies and have 10 days off. Then again, maybe they need it.

St. John's Red Storm

Sunday 12:00pm vs. Syracuse Orange

Fox Sports 1

This is a huge test for the Johnnies at home, as well as the toughest. The Orange backcourt has exceptionally as of late with Trevor Cooney and Tyler Ennis. Cooney is leading the way with an effective 48.4% mark from beyond the arc. My feeling is D`Angelo Harrison will not be able to inhibit their fast paced offense, especially when Cooney has the hot hand. I see no upset here. Unfortunately, Michael Carter-Williams is no longer on the team, so no missed free throws in the final seconds!

Xavier Musketeers

Tuesday 7:00pm vs. Evansville Aces

Fox Sports 1

The Aces started the year 5-0, but since then have dropped 3 of 4. Sophomore guard D.J. Balentine is highlighted here, as he averages 24.9 PPG on 47.8% shooting as well as 44.2% from 3. He also converts a satisfactory 89.3% from the charity stripe. This team relates to Creighton in that neutralizing their best player means neutralizing the entire offense. Besides Balentine, no one averages in the double digits, compared to the Musketeers three. Evansville ranks 29th in the nation in FG% at 49.7, however I believe Xavier can limit D.J.'s performance with their own Myles Davis, and Xavier takes one at home.

Saturday 8:00pm vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

Fox Sports 1

I'm looking forward to this. Something like this probably won't happen again, but it's nice to have a rivalry. Both teams have swapped places in the Big East. The Bearcats started the year 7-0 before dropping one to the New Mexico Lobos. Senior guard Sean Kilpatrick is the focus of the offense, leading the team with 19.6 PPG on 49% from the field. He also is 89.2% from the line. Both teams are equally matched; this game is a tossup. I'll leave you all to decide this one in the poll and comments.

Seton Hall Pirates

Tuesday 9:00pm vs. NJIT Highlanders

Fox Sports 1

Remember Seton Hall lost at home to the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights? Anyway, NJIT shouldn't be an issue for this team, however we aren't sure what team will show up. A few years ago, NJIT was regarded as one of the worst programs in the country in terms of competition, but lately they've gotten more skilled. They shoot a cool 73.9% on free throws, and Sophomore Ky Howard impresses me with his contributions across the board: 9.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 53.3% from the field. However, the performance of this team hurt my confidence in them, needing OT to defeat the Lafayette Leopards at home and losing to Central Connecticut St. Seton Hall will take this one, I think. It will be interesting to see if Sterling Gibbs can repeat his stellar performance against Rutgers, after going back to back games without a field goal.

Saturday 4:00pm vs. St. Peter's Peacocks

FOX

While this matchup will be much easier than NJIT, Peacock forward Marvin Dominique kinda scares me. He posts 19.3 PPG and 8.7 RPG, all on 51% shooting. The Hack-a-Shaq defense won't be effective either: he shoots a fantastic 73% on free throws. Patrik Auda is in for a hard time, however he overpowers him in weight and height. Seton Hall will be 2-0 this week. The Prudential Center will be plentiful with NBA scouts in this one, taking notes on Dominique and Fuquan Edwin.

Marquette Golden Eagles

Saturday 3:00pm vs. IUPU-Indianapolis Jaguars

Fox Sports

What a fall Marquette has taken! Started from the top, now we're here. The Golden Eagles look to end their 2-game losing streak against the Jaguars, and with a name like the Jaguars, you should have some luck playing against them. They start out 0-3 on the season and now sit at 3-7. Their stats tell a different story, firing 43.9% in field goals and 75.3% from the line. They only commit 12 turnovers a game, too. However, doing some quality control leads us to believe the level of competition is subpar, so the high-octane play of the Golden Eagles should lead the Jaguars to play at a much faster pace and cough up some more TO's. Marquette gets their first W of the month.

DePaul Blue Demons (in last place and they deserve to be)

Thursday 9:00pm vs. Florida Atlantic Owls

Fox Sports 1

Even I've been impressed with DePaul senior guard Brandon Young's play. 16.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 4.4 APG is a solid addition in each category. A field goal percentage of 53.2 ain't half bad, either! Both teams struggle with assists, however, coming in the bottom 100 in the nation. It'll most likely come down to field goal percentage, and FAU has that stat lost. They also are 0-3 on the road this year. DePaul will win. Can't believe I'm saying that!

Sunday 4:30pm vs. Chicago St. Cougars

Fox Sports 1

I can smell the tension already. DePaul will close out our Big East week with a meeting with in-state rival Chi State. Let's put their lack of talent in perspective. According to ESPN, they rank 191st in the nation in PPG with 72.7. That's their best stat! In other words, they are worse than 191st in the nation in everything else. One player that sticks out to me is junior guard Clarke Rosenberg. He averages 13 PPG on 52% shooting and 47.4% from 3. 81.1% from the charity stripe as well. I think my man Brandon will take care of him. Can you believe this, ladies and gentlemen! I'm picking DePaul TWICE!

Not many games this coming week, per say, but definitely some good ones here.

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