The students' perspective on Villanova Sports.

Big East Basketball Schedule, Forecast, and Predictions (Week of 1/18)

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-USA TODAY Sports

This week is loaded with a number of good games and match ups between ranked teams. There’s even one out-of-conference game going on with an ex-Big East member.

Here are the standings for this week:

#4 Villanova (16-2, 6-0)
#5 Xavier (16-1, 4-1)
Creighton (13-6, 4-2)
Georgetown (11-7, 4-2)
#16 Providence (15-3, 3-2)
Seton Hall (13-4, 3-2)
#18 Butler (13-4, 2-3)
Marquette (12-6, 2-4)
St. John’s (7-12, 0-6)
DePaul (6-12, 0-6)

Eugene Rapay and Patrick Ciapciak preview the games to watch for:

Game of the Week: #16 Providence at #4 Villanova, Saturday at 12 p.m. on FOX

Eugene: It’s the highly anticipated rematch of last season’s Big East Tournament semifinal game. The Friars have the two top scorers in the conference, with Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn. Bentil is averaging just under 20 points per game and eight rebounds in what has been a breakout season for the 6-foot-9 sophomore forward. Of course, Friars still have the all-everything Kris Dunn. The Wildcats will try to find strength in numbers by using a deep rotation in which all five of their starters average over 10 points per game. Villanova’s Josh Hart has played very well in the last few games. Not only has he yet to have scored less than 10 points in any game so far, but he has had a double-double in three of the last four games. Villanova will win this first one in the comfort of its home crowd but if it was on the road at the Dunk, it would probably be a different story. My Pick: Villanova 64, Providence 60

Patrick: From the day Villanova’s Athletic Department scheduled Providence as one of just three Wells Fargo Center games of the year, we knew this would be a big game. In the past two weeks, Villanova and Providence have found themselves thrust down divergent paths. Villanova began Big East play ranked #16 and reeling after two exposing December losses, but have since gone on a tear to the tune of an eight game winning streak. Providence, on the other hand, began their Big East slate as the highest-ranked team in the league. Ever since, they have been upset twice at their Dunkin home. Will Player of the Year candidates Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn be enough to halt the Friar’s downward trending? With Villanova riding high momentum behind Josh Hart’s recent heroics and a balanced supporting cast, this Saturday will not be the reversal Providence is looking for. My pick: Villanova 82, Providence 69

And here’s two more:

#18 Butler at #16 Providence, Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. on FS1

Eugene: Before Providence comes to town, the Friars will have their hands full with the Bulldogs on Tuesday night. While Butler is just two spots away in the rankings at #18, it doesn’t really feel like it. The Bulldogs are just 2-3 in conference play and they have yet to beat any of the Big East’s upper echelon of teams. They’ll get a shot at revenge and a chance for securing their first big win in conference play. One difference this time around aside from the venue of where the game will be played is the play of Kellen Dunham. Dunham was at the tail end of a shooting slump and finished with a poor eight point performance off of 3-of-14 shooting. Now he’s looking more like himself again, dropping 24 points in two of the last three games. The Friars will be coming in fresh off of an upset, and they’re just too good of a team to lose back-to-back games. My Pick: Providence 70, Butler 62

Patrick: If it’s a closely-fought game you’re looking for this week, look no further. Vegas oddsmakers first tabbed Butler as 8 point favorites, but now favor Providence by at least 2. Providence has lost to two lowly opponents in Marquette and Seton Hall the past two weeks. Then again, as we’ve seen in their games against Rhode Island and Creighton, the Friars are probably the best team in the league when a close game comes down to the final minute. Butler, however, seems to have recovered from its close loss to Villanova. They’ll be playing with emotion after mourning the untimely passing of former center Andrew Smith. Combine that motivation with Kellen Dunham’s power to score baskets at will and I think the Bulldogs revenge their Big East home-opener loss to Providence. My pick: Butler 65, Providence 63

Georgetown at #5 Xavier, Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on FS1

Eugene: Xavier’s Edmond Sumner will be playing in his first game at the Cintas Center since taking that hard fall in the Villanova game on New Year’s Eve. Sumner played for the first time since then in last week’s win over Marquette, where he dropped 15 points and five dimes. On the other end of the court, Georgetown has shown that it can hang around with top-five talent when he gave Villanova bit of a scare last weekend. However, the Hoyas are going to need D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera to replicate his 33-point performance that he had against St. John’s. However, having the third-highest scorer in the conference might not be enough for the Hoyas. Xavier still hasn’t lost at home and boasts an average margin of victory of 19.1 points at the Cintas Center. My Pick: Xavier 72, Georgetown 58

Patrick: After a late rally against then-#6 Villanova came short, Georgetown is still searching for a season-defining win to brighten up its Big East resume. Luckily, the Hoyas face another top ten opponent in their following game. Not so luckily, they have to hit the road for this matchup. Their task? Be the first team to defeat Xavier at their home Cintas Center this season. The Musketeers are currently predicted to be a 2-seed come March, and for good reason: their three wins over ranked opponents is tied for most in the nation, which more than balances out their lone loss to Villanova on the road. Ever since posting 64 points in that game, Xavier’s offense has rolled through its opponents. Georgetown will be no exception. My pick: Xavier 81, Georgetown 68

The rest of the Big East games this week:

Wednesday, January 20
DePaul at Marquette, 8 p.m. on FS1
#4 Villanova at Seton Hall, 9 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Saturday, January 23
Georgetown at UConn, 12 p.m. on CBS
Seton Hall at #5 Xavier, 2 p.m. on Fox Sports Net
#18 Butler at Creighton, 7:37 p.m. on FS1
Marquette at St. John’s, 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Quick Picks for the Last Six:

Eugene
Record Last Week: 8-1
Overall: 14-4
Patrick
Record Last Week: 8-1
Overall: 15-3
Marquette  Marquette
Seton Hall  Villanova
Georgetown Georgetown
Xavier Xavier
Creighton Butler
Marquette  Marquette
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About The Author

Eugene Rapay '16 created "The Bench Mob" in November 2013. He joined the Villanova Times in 2012 as a writer. A Westchester, NY native, who will bring top quality coverage of all things Villanova sports.

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