Let's split last week up into two parts: before Thursday and after Thursday.
Before: The Big East started the season 37-2.
After: The Big East lost seven more games.
So while the hot start is over, the last week gave us a lot of positives. D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera hit a game-winning shot over the Florida Gators. Alex Barlow lead Butler past the North Carolina Tar Heels. And, oh yeah, Villanova beat VCU and Michigan on back-to-back nights in Brooklyn. Let's see if the Big East can keep the momentum and national attention going this week.
NOTE: We've decided to change the format of the preview this week. The table lays out each game by day, and sorted additionally by time. After the table is a "Game of the Day" for Monday-Sunday (or Tuesday-Sunday since there is no game Monday).
|Tuesday||7:00pm||Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers||Seton Hall Piirates|
|Tuesday||7:00pm||Niagara Purple Eagles||St. John's Red Storm||Fox Sports 1|
|Tuesday||9:00pm||Northern Illinois Huskies||DePaul Blue Demons||Fox Sports 1|
|Wednesday||7:05pm||Butler Bulldogs||Indiana State Sycamores|
|Wednesday||8:00pm||Creighton Bluejays||Tulsa Golden Hurricanes||WatchESPN|
|Wednesday||8:30pm||Villanova Wildcats||La Salle Explorers||CBS Sports Network|
|Thursday||8:00pm||DePaul Blue Demons||Chicago State Cougars|
|Friday||7:00pm||Providence Friars||Boston College Eagles||WatchESPN|
|Saturday||12:00pm||Rutgers Scarlet Knights||Seton Hall Pirates|
|Saturday||12:30pm||Wisconsin Badgers||Marquette Golden Eagles||CBS|
|Saturday||1:00pm||Saint Joseph's Hawks||Villanova Wildcats||Fox Sports 1|
|Saturday||4:30pm||Northwestern Wildcats||Butler Bulldogs||FOX|
|Saturday||5:15pm||St. John's Red Storm||Syracuse Orange||ESPN2|
|Saturday||8:00pm||Alabama Crimson Tide||Xavier Musketeers||CBS Sports Network|
|Sunday||12:00pm||Towson Tigers||Georgetown Hoyas||Fox Sports 1|
|Sunday||2:00pm||Milwaukee Panthers||DePaul Blue Demons||Fox Sports 1|
|Sunday||7:00pm||Creighton Bluejays||Nebraska Cornhuskers||BTN|
Game of the Day
Mount St. Mary's vs. Seton Hall
SHU and Villanova are the only undefeated Big East teams remaining. The Mountaineers are in the bottom 15 in the country in points, rebounds and assists. The Pirates SHOULD continue their winning streak, though questions are bound to arise about the level of competition they are playing.
Villanova vs. La Salle
This is the first of four Big 5 games this season. The Explorers played relatively close to Virginia and Vanderbilt this past week, but their earlier close wins over Quinnipiac and Colgate put doubt in our minds as to whether they can hang with the 'Cats. Wright does not take any Big 5 matchup lightly, but he can probably take it easy here.
St. John's vs. Syracuse
This is a very important out-of-conference game for both schools. The Johnnies only loss came in a close game against Gonzaga, while Syracuse dropped to unranked California even with a quasi-home court advantage in New York City. The Orange then inched past Iowa. Syracuse has the all-important Carrier Dome atmosphere to help them, but a tough SJU team will come to play. This matchup will be all about St. John's guard play against the impressive frontline of the Orange.
Creighton vs. Nebraska
This in-state rivalry will surely be a treat. Nebraska struggles with assists at 11.8 APG, while Creighton excels in that category with 14.4 per game. Nebraska does have a strength in rebounding, at least more so than the Bluejays. Those two stats should guide the pace of the game, and if Creighton can't figure out a way to handle Terran Petteway, the Cornhuskers could be in line for the upset over their in-state rivals.