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Big East Standings, Schedule, and Pick’em Contest (Week of 1/29)

NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Seton Hall vs Villanova Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

This week, Villanova has two Big East teams that it has yet to play against this season—Seton Hall and Creighton. Aside from that, there are a couple of other interesting Big East games going on as well. Here is your weekly look at the standings, the schedule of Big East games, some of the key matchups this week, 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 get your picks in, 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.

(Edit: It’s been brought to my attention that the pick’em form didn’t have Providence vs. Marquette. Since a lot of people have already submitted their picks, I’d rather not force everyone to re-do it, so everyone’s getting gifted with a free +1 for this week.)

It’s one point for every correct answer and whoever has the most points at the end of the regular season, wins!

Here is a complete scoreboard and everyone’s picks from last week.

There were nine perfect submissions, in which all eight games were correctly predicted. As for the race itself, Ryan Bowman, SolarBear, and tpstone lead the pack for the second-straight week with a three-way tie at the top.

Here are the standings:

#1 Villanova (20-1, 7-1)
#8 Xavier (19-3, 7-2)
Creighton (17-5, 7-3)
Seton Hall (16-5, 5-3)
Providence (14-7, 5-3)
Butler (15-7, 5-4)
Marquette (13-8, 4-5)
Georgetown (13-8, 3-7)
DePaul (9-12, 2-7)
St. John’s (10-12, 0-10)

Game of the Week: Seton Hall at #1 Villanova--Sunday, Feb. 4, at 12 p.m. on FOX

It’ll be a loaded Super Bowl Sunday, with Seton Hall-Villanova tipping off the festivities with their first meeting this season. Seton Hall has been the thorn on Villanova’s side since conference realignment. Last season was actually the first time the Wildcats were able to go through the year without a loss to the Pirates since the formation of the “new” Big East. This is one of those games where you can almost throw the records out the window, since the Pirates seem to always turn on a switch whenever they play Villanova. Forget the fact that they lost three of their last five games, they’ve had this one circled since last March--even more so when the series goes to Jersey--so expect them to come ready. Desi Rodriguez and Angel Delgado lead a ‘Core Four’ dynamic as the team’s best players, with Myles Powell right behind after taking a big jump this season. Khadeen Carrington’s numbers have dipped, especially scoring-wise, but he remains a tough defender and one of Kevin Willard’s favorites. However, Villanova sees the Seton Hall quartet and raises them one more. The Wildcats’ starting five all average in double figures, with Jalen Brunson leading the way. I can see this being another signature performance for the National Player of the Year contender, but I’ll be really interested in the matchup in the paint. The young, 5-star high school recruit talent in Omari Spellman vs. the dynamic double-double machine in Angel Delgado--a battle of youth vs. experience. It would be a great test for Spellman, who should expect a lot of action coming his way. The Pirates score 55.1 percent of their points from inside the arc. Seton Hall has gotten some big road wins, especially in non-conference play, but unfortunately it won’t be getting one here. My Pick: Villanova 87, Seton Hall 78

....and here’s two more to watch for:

Providence at Marquette--Saturday, Feb. 3, at 2:30 p.m. on FS1

The last time these two teams squared off, it was a thriller that ended in overtime and a monstrous 52-point game by Marquette’s Markus Howard, who drained 11 threes in the early January meeting. Providence had an answer for everyone else in a Golden Eagles, but couldn’t contain Howard, who carried them for the win. The Friars will have a shot to get even on the road at one of the more underrated home court advantages in the conference. The Golden Eagles play well at home, even in their close losses to Xavier and Villanova. Providence isn’t that great on the road, holding a 2-4 record. However, it does have one of the better 3-point defenses in the country, holding opponents to just 31.1 percent from deep (23rd in the country). The Golden Eagles have the two top scorers in the Big East, with Howard and Andrew Rowsey--the only players who average at least 20 points per game in the conference. I don’t think Howard has another 52-point, lights out game, but the Golden Eagles are likely to walk away with the win and a regular season sweep of Providence. My Pick: Marquette 79, Providence 72

Creighton at #1 Villanova--Thursday, Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. on FS1

The Wildcats get to play another Big East opponent that they have yet to see this season. So far this season, Creighton has done pretty well for itself. It did take a tough loss in losing Martin Krampelj to a season-ending injury, leaving them with a much thinner frontcourt. The Bluejays dropped the first game without him, but bounced back with back-to-back wins after that. Marcus Foster leads one of the better offenses around college basketball and enters this showdown after dropping four-straight 20-point games. Aside from Foster, Khyri Thomas has been the game-changer, now that his scoring has caught up with his defensive prowess--a leap similar to the one Mikal Bridges has taken this season. He’s become a more complete player and leads a Bluejay defense that has locked opponents down from deep. Bluejay opponents have kept their opponents to shooting just 31.0 percent from long range (19th in the country). For Villanova, it’ll be facing yet another fast-paced team that will fly up and down the court. A softened Creighton frontcourt might mean a great game inside for Eric Paschall and an Omari Spellman that’s looking to rebound after disappearing in the Marquette game. This might be one of those games where ‘Nova starts off slow, but then hits a series of threes and shots to get the ball rolling before it can’t be stopped. My Pick: Villanova 83, Creighton 70

The rest of the Big East games this week:

Tuesday, January 30
#8 Xavier at St. John’s, 8:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Wednesday, January 31
Providence at Seton Hall, 7 p.m. on FS1
Butler at Marquette, 9 p.m. on FS1

Saturday, February 3
#4 Duke at St. John’s, 12 p.m. on FOX
DePaul at Butler, 12 p.m. on FS1
Georgetown at #8 Xavier, 6 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Quick picks for the last six games (in order as above):

Seton Hall
St. John’s