As you’ll see below, this is kind of a lackluster week for the Big East--no marquee matchups and there are only eight games this time around. Here is your weekly look at the standings, the schedule of Big East games, some of the key matchups this week (key matchups might be a stretch), and a continuation of our pick’em contest. This post will be updated later to reflect the new rankings, once they are released this afternoon.
The rules are simple, just pick who you think will win each of the games from this week using this link. We’ll keep a cumulative score of your predictions and release them each week, whoever gets the most number of correct picks at the end of the season wins a prize! You have until the first game tips off on Tuesday night to submit your picks, in order for all of them to count. Any late submissions will result in the picks made for finished games or the ones in progress being forfeited, but the remaining ones after them will count. For scoring and contest purposes, your most recent answer form will be used.
It’s one point for every correct answer and whoever has the most points at the end of the regular season, wins!
There were five perfect submissions, in which all 10 games were correctly predicted. As for the race itself, there’s currently a three-way tie for first between Ryan Bowman, SolarBear, and tpstone.
Here are the standings:
#1 Villanova (18-1, 5-1)
#11 Xavier (18-3, 6-2)
Providence (14-6, 5-2)
#19 Seton Hall (15-5, 5-3)
Creighton (15-5, 5-3)
Marquette (13-6, 4-3)
Butler (14-7, 4-4)
Georgetown (13-6, 3-5)
DePaul (8-11, 1-6)
St. John’s (10-10, 0-8)
Game of the Week: #1 Villanova at Marquette--Sunday, Jan. 28, at 1 p.m. on FOX
Villanova’s previous trip to the BMO Harris Bradley Center didn’t go as well as planned. The Wildcats choked away a late second half lead and eventually the Golden Eagles cameback and stormed the court in celebration. This is the first Big East opponent that Villanova will have seen twice this season. The Wildcats downed the Golden Eagles in their first meeting this year, winning 100-90. It was a high-scoring display that included a 37-point game by sophomore Markus Howard. However, it was Jalen Brunson and Co. that would get the last laugh in the wire-to-wire victory. The Golden Eagles play very well at home, so don’t completely underestimate them. All of their conference wins so far happened at their arena, including a 20-point upset of Seton Hall. Marquette is 3-1 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, with its only loss coming from a closely contested game with Xavier. Villanova has gone out guns blazing, and most recently wrapped up non-conference play undefeated with a blowout of UConn. The Golden Eagles might possibly make this a bit closer than expected at first, but I see the Wildcats eventually pulling away. My Pick: Villanova 88, Marquette 77
...and here’s two more to watch for:
Creighton at St. John’s--Tuesday., Jan. 23, 8:30 p.m. on FS1
The Red Storm is still looking for its first win in conference play. St. John’s has been dealt a series of heartbreakers since Marcus LoVett went down, but Creighton was actually one of the opponents it played well against. Creighton needed a comeback effort and St. John’s only lost by seven at the CenturyLink Center, which is probably one of the tougher places to play within the Big East. The Red Storm might struggle to score, but it’s bound to win eventually right? Creighton lost its first game without Martin Krampelj against Providence last Saturday. Krampelj, a 6-foot-9 redshirt sophomore, led Creighton in rebounding and was also one of its top scorers. Krampelj played well against the staunch St. John’s frontcourt that excels so much on the defensive end. Stepping in his place is Ronnie Harrell Jr., a junior forward that stands at 6-7 and isn’t as polished offensively. It will be interesting to see how a thinner Bluejay frontcourt impacts Creighton, especially going up against a batch of tough big men defenders. If St. John’s doesn’t let Marcus Foster cook from deep again, it’ll have a chance, otherwise it’ll be a tighter game than expected. No Krampelj, but I think Creighton finds a way in a game that might be closer than expected. My Pick: Creighton 79, St. John’s 72
DePaul at Georgetown--Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 8:30 p.m. on FS1
The theme for this game: improvement. It’s not exactly the best in terms of quality, but it probably will be one of the more competitive games this week. Georgetown will have a chance to sweep another opponent in conference play, after beating St. John’s for the second time this season. Granted, DePaul and St. John’s might not make the biggest statement, but it a victory would give Georgetown its fourth Big East win of the season--one step closer to matching last year’s total of five wins. Surpassing that mark would be a slow step forward in the right direction for a Georgetown squad that’s rebuilding under Patrick Ewing’s first year. Looking ahead at the rest of the Hoyas’ schedule, this very well might be their last game where they are the favorites to win, so they have to capitalize on this opportunity, seeing how it only gets more difficult from here. As for DePaul, the Blue Demons have yet to win 10 games in a single season under Dave Leitao. This game, as well as St. John’s later in the year, gives them the best chance to finally reach that mark. In each of the last two years, they’ve fallen short of double figures, hitting nine wins every time. A 10-win season isn’t anything to brag about, but a third-consecutive single-digit win season has to raise some questions about Leitao, if the team is stagnant. Apologies DePaul, but this one’s going to Georgetown. My Pick: Georgetown 75, DePaul 70
Tuesday, January 23
Providence at #1 Villanova, 6:30 p.m. on FS1
Wednesday, January 24
Marquette at #11 Xavier, 6:30 p.m. on FS1
Saturday, January 27
St. John’s at Butler, 2:30 p.m. on FS1
Georgetown at Creighton, 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
Sunday, January 28
Seton Hall at DePaul, 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
Quick picks for the last five games (in order as above):