After a win over rival Georgetown and before tonight’s “Big Game” (copyright police), now’s the time to take a look around the Big East. It’s also week 4 of our pick’em contest, so be sure to get those in!
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 will have until the first game tips off on Tuesday to get your picks in, in order for all of them to count. Any late submission will result in the picks made for finished games or the ones in progress being forfeited, but the remaining ones after them will count. (The timestamps never lie!) For scoring and contest purposes, your most recent answer form will be used. Make sure you put your VU Hoops account name, so we know who’s who!
This is a free contest. May the best VU Hoopster win!
Shoutout to kasadora3 and warm hair for correctly predicting the winner for all 10 games this past week.
Big East Standings (Entering Week of 2/4)
Game of the Week: Villanova at Marquette--Saturday, Feb. 9, at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX
It would be impossible to not list this game as the top one to watch for. We finally get to see the top two teams in the conference--by a mile--square off on the court. The series will start off in Wisconsin, before heading back to Pennsylvania later this month. Marquette is rolling. Since starting off conference play with a loss to St. John’s, the Golden Eagles have won the next eight straight heading into this week. After not hitting their three-pointers at a high-rate, the Golden Eagles have found their shooting touch from long range once again, knocking them down a touch under 40 percent--10th in the NCAA. Markus Howard stands above the Big East with a conference-best 25.0 points per game. We knew Sam Hauser was a sniper, knocking down 41.4 percent of his threes, but his younger brother--Joey, a freshman--has upstaged him with a 48.5 percent mark from long range. The up-tempo, perimeter oriented attack has remained the same, but the biggest difference with Marquette is its performance defensively. In previous seasons, the Golden Eagles weren’t great defensively and tried to solely shoot their way to victory. Now, Wojo is in possession of his best defensive team since taking over in 2014, when you combine that with another great offensive performance--you get one of Marquette’s finest seasons in a while. Villanova has a tough task ahead of it, as no team has been able to beat the Golden Eagles at home yet. The Wildcats might just be the team to do so, as they’ve been impressive on the road. Phil Booth and Marquette’s Howard is the duel to watch for, and I’m feeling a Villanova sweep. Booth wins the individual battle, and the Wildcats will roll to a marquee conference win. My Pick: Villanova 81, Marquette 72
...and here’s two more:
Georgetown at Providence--Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1
Last time these two teams met, we were treated to a double-overtime thriller down in D.C, with Georgetown coming out on top. The series heads back to Providence, where the Friars will look to defend home court. The Friars have returned A.J. Reeves, a freshman guard who was out for the start of conference play due to a foot injury. He finally returned to action on Jan. 27 against DePaul. Reeves had stolen the limelight from Co-Preseason Big East player of the Year David Duke Jr., showcasing a solid shooting stroke and the ability to be a dynamic scorer. He was the team’s second-highest scorer right behind Alpha Diallo. It’s clear that he’s still being worked back into the rotation. Reeves performed well in his return against DePaul, but he’s quieted down since. It’ll be interesting to see if he can find his place again, and what kind of impact he’ll have this time around. Providence is in desperate need for consistency on offense, but the Friars’ defense have kept them competitive. Georgetown will look to challenge the Friars with its offensive firepower, and I think they’ll be able to manage the hostile Dunkin Donuts Center for a regular season sweep. My Pick: Georgetown 73, Providence 71.
Creighton at Seton Hall--Saturday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
Both teams have been struggling as of late, with the Creighton Bluejays and Seton Hall Pirates going 2-5 over their last seven games. Despite this, they’re in the middle of the pack in a Big East conference that seems to be cannibalizing each other (at least, outside of the top two). A win would help keep one team afloat, while the other sinks further towards the bottom of the standings. Creighton has the offensive firepower to carry it to victory, but it’s been shown when it goes cold, the Bluejays’ vulnerable defense really shows. As for Seton Hall, Myles Powell has gotten back on track since Villanova placed the clamps on him, scoring 52 points over the two games after that beatdown in Philadelphia. He is a game-changing talent and has carried the Pirates to victory or help orchestrate comeback efforts in the past. Outside of their loss to Villanova, the Pirates have been pretty close in their Big East losses, losing by single digits. Creighton has strength in numbers, while Seton Hall has one of the top players in the conference. Creighton is top-five in the NCAA for effective FG% (58.8 percent) and have a variety of players that are dangerous from three, but my gut tells me Seton Hall will have learned something from the Wildcats’ wrath to not allow Creighton to have a similar performance. My Pick: Seton Hall 79, Creighton 75
Here are the rest of the games coming up this week, all times in ET:
Tuesday, February 5
St. John’s at Marquette, at 8 p.m. on FS1
Wednesday, February 6
Creighton at Villanova, at 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
Saturday, February 9
Butler at Georgetown, at 12 p.m. on FSN
Providence at St. John’s, at 12 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
DePaul at Xavier, at 8 p.m. on FS1
Quick picks for the last five games (in order as above):