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Big East Standings, Schedule, and Pick’em Contest (Week of 1/8)

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

With the fall of Duke and Michigan State, Villanova has found itself back on top of college basketball with the No. 1 ranking. The Wildcats will now gear up for an exciting top-10 matchup with the Xavier Musketeers at the Wells Fargo Center later this week.

In the meantime, 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.

The rules are simple, just pick who 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, 6:30 p.m. ET 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 games 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!

Here is the complete scoreboard and everyone’s picks so far.

A look at the standings entering this week:

#13 Seton Hall (14-2, 3-0)
#10 Xavier (15-2, 3-1)
#25 Creighton (13-3, 3-1)
#1 Villanova (14-1, 2-1)
Butler (12-5, 2-2)
Marquette (11-5, 2-2)
Providence (11-6, 2-2)
Georgetown (11-4, 1-3)
DePaul (8-8, 1-3)
St. John’s (10-6, 0-4)

The games to watch for:

Game of the Week: #10 Xavier at #1 Villanova--Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 8 p.m. on FS1

My feelings on this game have gone back-and-forth over the last few days. The Wildcats enter Wednesday night after a bounce-back victory over the Marquette Golden Eagles, in which they dropped a 100 points. Jalen Brunson is looking like one of the best point guards in college basketball out there, and he just seems to be getting better and better. Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and Eric Paschall have been playing well as of late, adding more to the main cast of ‘Cats. The question continues about Villanova’s defense, which hasn’t looked the best in its first three Big East games of the season (giving up an average of 92 points over this time span). Something has changed on that end of the court since the Gonzaga game, and it’s not for the better. As for the Musketeers, they’ve looked underwhelming as of late. They seem to also be having their fair share of problems executing. Putting the Providence loss aside, they haven’t even looked that great over the last month. Since blowing out Colorado on Dec. 6, the Musketeers have found themselves in close calls against East Tennessee State, Marshall, Marquette, and DePaul--beating those teams by no more than four points. They also had wins against Northern Iowa and Butler, who looked competitive. Trevon Bluiett is a game-changer and has shown the ability to carry a team when needed. He’s averaging just under 20 a game, and has a nice supporting cast with him, like the infamous J.P. Macura, as well as Kerem Kanter (Enes’ brother) and Quentin Goodin--who have been playing well as of late. The Friars caught the Musketeers sleepwalking last Saturday, and that bitter taste of defeat will help add to the already burning fire to beat ‘Nova. Despite not looking like its absolute best since mid-December, Xavier remains towards the top statistically. A solid all-around team, the Musketeers are ranked 13th in offensive efficiency--according to KenPom. This is one slot higher than the offensive-minded Marquette Golden Eagles, and the difference between Xavier and Marquette is that the Musketeers actually try on defense--therefore...My Pick: Xavier 89, Villanova 85

And here’s two more...

Georgetown at St. John’s--Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 6:30 p.m. on FS1

This game has an old school feel to it, with former Big East foes and now head coaches Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin leading their alma maters in this showdown at Madison Square Garden. With conference play underway, Georgetown enters Tuesday night 1-3, although it hasn’t looked too badly so far. It did blow a nice lead over Butler and ultimately lost in double-overtime, and it remained competitive against Marquette. Regardless of how questionable Georgetown might be and whether or not the Hoyas are finally getting exposed for a soft Big East schedule--Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson are legit. Govan is a double-double machine, and he and Derrickson are a great frontcourt tandem. Ewing, being a Hall of Fame center himself, has helped elevate these guys since coming in. At least the Hoyas do have one Big East win under their belts, unlike St. John’s, which is entering with a four-game losing streak, with one of those being an embarrassing beatdown by DePaul. The Red Storm has collapsed without Marcus LoVett, who remains sidelined with injury. It is 1-5 against KenPom Top 100 teams without the sophomore guard and Shamorie Ponds partner in crime. Combine that with rebounding woes and a defense that hasn’t looked as good as it once did, I think the disappointment continues for the Red Storm. My pick: Georgetown 79, St. John’s 71.

Butler at #25 Creighton--Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 8:30 p.m. on FS1

Since upsetting then-ranked No. 1 Villanova, the Butler Bulldogs got an unfortunate case of buzzkill soon after. They weren’t able to sustain that momentum, falling in back-to-back games against ranked opponents such as the Xavier Musketeers and the Seton Hall Pirates. They will look to bounce back on the road against the Creighton Bluejays, a team that is welcoming their first formidable opponent at the CenturyLink Center this season. Creighton has looked good so far in Big East play, winning three straight since dropping its opener against Seton Hall. It’s a battle of contrasting styles, as Butler leans towards slowing things down, while the Bluejays like to push the pace and run an up-tempo, high-power attack. There’s so much to be said for Creighton’s scoring machine Marcus Foster and two-way guard Khyri Thomas, who has evolved offensively, but it’s sophomore Martin Krampelj that’s really stood out so far. He’s been an excellent complementary piece for Foster and Thomas, averaging 15.5 points and 10.0 rebounds through four Big East games thus far--all while shooting 61.9 percent on the floor. For Butler, this is a team that needs to slow things down, generate turnovers, and try to not get burned as much from deep. The Bulldogs are allowing opponents to shoot 37.7 percent from deep (290th in the country.) Putting all that aside, Butler goes as far as the help Kelan Martin and Kamar Baldwin are able to get. In the key upset over Villanova, Paul Jorgensen really stepped up. Since then, he’s quieted down. Martin and Baldwin are talented, but it’s the emergence of a third player that will push them over the edge. Unfortunately, that third player isn’t coming on Tuesday night. My Pick: Creighton 85, Butler 76

The rest of the Big East games this week:

Tuesday, January 9
#13 Seton Hall at Marquette, 9 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Friday, January 12
Marquette at Butler, 6:30 p.m. on FS1
Providence at DePaul, 8:30 p.m. on FS1

Saturday, January 13
Georgetown at #13 Seton Hall, 12 p.m. on FS1
#25 Creighton at #10 Xavier, 2 p.m. on FOX
#1 Villanova at St. John’s, 8 p.m. on FOX Business Network (?!)

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

Seton Hall
Seton Hall