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BIG EAST Basketball Preview: Week 14

No more out-of-conference play means we're back to the usual grind

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What a week for the Big East! By that I mean wow we're inconsistent. Seton Hall loses at home vs. Butler, but then defeats Xavier on the road. Georgetown overcomes Michigan State after I embarrassingly shoved that matchup aside. Creighton needs a last second 3 from Doug McDermott to win against St. John's at home. And Providence struggles with both of their seemingly easy matchups. Let's see if we can get back on track in any way.

Villanova Wildcats

Monday 7:00pm vs. Xavier Musketeers

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Remember kids, practice your free throws. On Saturday, Xavier converted on under 60% of those in a shocking home loss to the Pirates. Seton Hall also limited the Musketeers to 7 bench points. More so, they drew a plenty of fouls. Once Villanova does that- drives by Pinkston and Hilliard always work- Xavier is toast.

Friday 7:00pm vs. Seton Hall Pirates

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You may already be aware at the bias I have towards SHU, growing up a Pirates fan. However, while I always think they can win, they do a great job at shooting themselves in the foot. Against Butler, they missed 3 straight transition layups along with the front end of a 1-1. JayVaughn Pinkston and Daniel Ochefu should take care of Gene Teague, but the perimeter D is key against Fuquan Edwin. If they both hold, this one is in the bag. Watch out for Fuquan's steals too.

Creighton Bluejays

Friday 9:00pm vs. DePaul Blue Demons

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Usually I'd just say "No" but after last week's Michigan State Spartan game vs. Georgetown, I'll go in depth with this one. Cleveland Melvin was suspended last week for violating a team rule, and Charles McKinney is out with an ankle injury. Without these two, the defense takes a tremendous hit and Creighton will pull up from 3/4 court and make those threes.

Providence Friars

Tuesday 7:00pm vs. St. John's Red Storm

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Against Marquette, Providence struggled to shoot 33%, however at DePaul they excelled at 53%. Which team will show up? They are last in the Big East in FG%, but if they can creep above 40%, their stellar FT% can carry them to a win.

Saturday 3:00pm @ Xavier Musketeers

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Xavier looks to avenge their road loss on January 25th to this Friars team. Both of these teams struggle with inconsistency lately, but which one will show up? The sub 40% shooting Friars or the FT% anemic Musketeers? Xavier needs to get into a groove fast in order to avoid going 0-2 to the Rhode Island natives.

Xavier Musketeers

Monday 7:00pm @ Villanova Wildcats

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Villanova's paint defense has been good as of recently, but the offensive rebounding woes against the Temple Owls may leave a bad taste in your mouth. Semaj Christon and Stainbrook are obvious centerpieces, but key rebounders Justin Martin and James Farr need big games to have a chance at the Wildcats.

Saturday 3:00pm vs. Providence Friars

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Against the Pirates, Xavier caught a little Villanova fever by going 2-14 from beyong the arc. There's a reason Matt Stainbrook practices woodshop, and it's to strengthen himself to muscle his way through the paint. Tire this team out, and Bryce Cotton will have to take matters into his own hands. He's good, but not "beat Xavier by myself" good.

Seton Hall Pirates

Friday 7:00pm @ Villanova Wildcats

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Brian Oliver did not make the trip to Xavier because of a coach's decision, and he is the leading regular 3-point shooter for this team. If his suspension keeps him off the court until this next game, the Pirates will need extra help from Edwin. Patrik Auda is also a wild card for this team, both drawing fouls and shooting 3's like a Darrun Hilliard-type. If Edwin has an off game, however, it's as if he isn't playing, and the Fuquan-less team lost to the St. Peter's Peacocks.

Marquette Golden Eagles

Tuesday 9:00pm vs. Butler Bulldogs

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In the win vs. Providence, they forced the Friars to shoot 17 threes, only making 2. Against St. John's however, they allowed 8-20. Butler shoots 33% on the year from beyond the arc, which is bad. Having a strong inside defense, focusing on Davante Gardner, will make Butler take those long shots, and statistically speaking, they'll miss a few of them.

St. John's Red Storm

Tuesday 7:00pm @ Providence Friars

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D`Angelo Harrison is doing a fantastic job picking up this team, however he's taking on a lot of responsibility. Jakaar Sampson and Chris Obekpa can handle Providence's weaker front court with ease, and that'll open the floor for Harrison to go nuts.

Sunday 7:00pm vs. Creighton Bluejays

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We all know Creighton has a great guard play, and a good offense from beyond the arc in general. St. John's needs to use those same forwards and centers to draw some fouls on the forwards like Ethan Wragge and Doug McDermott. With them on the bench, especially Doug, a win is not far away.

Georgetown Hoyas

Monday 9:00pm @ DePaul Blue Demons

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Coming off a win against number 7 Michigan State puts this Hoyas team back in the spotlight. They limited the Spartans to under 40% shooting, and Jabril Trawick is getting his minutes back after missing time with a broken jaw. It's still up in the air if Cleveland Melvin is returning for this one, but the back court of D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Markel Starks needs to out duel DePaul's, as this is how they stayed so close to Villanova.

Saturday 1:00pm vs. Butler Bulldogs

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Once again, Butler is the worst 3-point shooting team in the nation. If the back court can again seal off the paint, Butler will have to fire up those shots, and they will not be able to win like that.

Butler Bulldogs

Tuesday 9:00pm @ Marquette Golden Eagles

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I've been calling for a good game by Elijah Brown off the bench, and against SHU he had 12 points to aid in the win on the road. It all lies in the hands of Kellen Dunham. An obvious underdog in this one, he has to make this shots from all around to stay in it. He shoots under 40% from all over the field, so it's not the best odds, however that's the key; get hot early and stay that way.

Saturday 1:00pm @ Georgetown Hoyas

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This game will fall in the hands of Khyle Marshall. With Joshua Smith still absent, the front court has a weakness still so if Butler can attack that, they can again obtain an upset win on the road.

DePaul Blue Demons

Monday 9:00pm vs. Georgetown Hoyas

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If Cleveland Melvin returns, he'll be a great piece for his drives and foul draws. I don't believe Mikael Hopkins can stop him that easily. If Brandon Young and Billy Garrett Jr. also play their part, they can remind Georgetown of who they really are.

Friday 9:00pm @ Creighton Bluejays

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Cleveland Melvin needs to be back by this time if DePaul wants any chance of winning here. Garrett Jr. and Young need to play the best perimeter defense of the season to slow down this face paced Creighton team as well. The Bluejays are number 1 in the country in assists per game, so there's another piece to worry about; ball movement.