The students' perspective on Villanova Sports.

Big East Basketball Schedule, Forecast, and Predictions (Week of 2/8)

novaMBB-5

-Kyle Tizio/VUBenchMob.com

Villanova will go through its first week ever as the #1 team in both polls. Aside from the ‘Cats, a few teams moved up and down heading into this week.

#1 Villanova (20-3, 10-1)
#5 Xavier (21-2, 9-2)
Seton Hall (17-6, 7-4)
#20 Providence (18-6, 6-5)
Georgetown (14-11, 6-5)
Creighton (15-9, 6-5)
Butler (16-7, 5-6)
Marquette (15-9, 4-7)
DePaul (8-15, 2-9)
St. John’s (7-17, 0-11)

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

Game of the Week: #20 Providence at Marquette, Wednesday at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Eugene: What a difference a week makes. Providence entered last week as the third-best team in the league, right behind Villanova and Xavier. After a couple of losses, the Friars are now in a three-way tie for fourth. This will be the Friars’ first taste of action since losing to Villanova and will try to find their winning ways against a team that beat them at the Dunk earlier in the season. Providence’s shot at revenge is dependent on how healthy Bentil will be in a front court that’s loaded with size and talent from Luke Fischer and Henry Ellenson. Providence goes as far as Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil go. Dunn needs his partner in crime to be truly effective. While Bentil did have a 20 point performance, despite being limited by an ankle injury, I don’t think Ellenson and Fischer will allow him to be as productive if he’s not 100 percent. However, Marquette hasn’t done much since that upset win. It has been 4-5 ever since, with three of those wins coming against inferior opponents – twice against St. John’s and one against Stetson. I think Providence finds its footing again in a close one. My Pick: Providence 65, Marquette 60

Patrick: It’s been a rough week for the Friars. The despair began last Tuesday when star big man Ben Bentil limped injured off the court at DePaul. The Demons went on to pull off the upset, their biggest win in who knows how long. Then, Villanova came through. Bentil was not healthy to play on Saturday, but he did anyway. His injury showed, as he was a non-factor in a game Kris Dunn desperately tried to win himself. When Providence travels to Marquette, their performance will spell answers for the season looking forward. Will Bentil be fully healthy in time? If not, can Kris Dunn or the rest of the team manage to win without Bentil? The answer may not always be yes, but against Marquette it probably will be. My pick: Providence 64, Marquette 61

And here’s two more:

Butler at Seton Hall, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on FS1

Eugene: Seton Hall has won four straight, while Butler has won back-to-back. Only one team gets to keep its streak going. The Pirates have been rolling behind the play of Angel Delgado, who has had a double-double in each of the last four games. That’s not to take away from Isaiah Whitehead, the man who has been driving Seton Hall’s offense. Butler has its leading man in Kellen Dunham. The Bulldogs have won back-to-back games for the first time since out-of-conference play ended. Unfortunately for Butler, I don’t see its win streak continuing. Seton Hall will win the boards and outscore the Bulldogs in what may be a close game until the Pirates pull away. My Pick: Seton Hall 70, Butler 62

Patrick: Butler’s painfully long tumble from the top ten has finally skid to a halt. It all began last Tuesday when the Bulldogs defeated That-Other-Big-East-Team-With-A-Bulldog-Mascot in resounding fashion, thereby knocking the Hoyas out of third place in the league. They followed up that triumphant win with a 33-point road victory over St. John’s. Will Seton Hall be next up in Butler’s Redemption Tour? The Pirates have righted their ship since back-to-back losses to top five Villanova and Xavier to the tune of a four game winning streak and projected 11 seed in the NCAA tournament. With the momentum that entails, I foresee the Pirates sinking Butler’s hope of continuing their precious win streak. My pick: Seton Hall 72, Butler 65

#1 Villanova at DePaul, Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on FS1

Eugene: The Wildcats play their first game ever as the top dog when they go to DePaul on Tuesday. Outside of an upset of Providence not too long ago, the Blue Demons are not that threatening. This will be the first time the two teams meet this season. Daniel Ochefu is cleared and should be back in the lineup against DePaul. The ‘Cats should win this one pretty easily, barring a freak collapse under pressure. There isn’t much else to say here. My Pick: Villanova 75, DePaul 61

Patrick: These are heady times on the Main Line. For their first game ever as the top-ranked team in the country, Villanova must travel to Rosemont, Illinois to take on historically hapless DePaul. These top cats would be remiss to overlook the D-Men: first games with highest-ever rankings have not gone well this year. In their first-ever game as #1, Oklahoma lost on the road to unranked Iowa State. In their first-ever game as a top five team, Xavier lost at home to unranked Georgetown three weeks ago. Fortunately for Villanova, Jay Wright has emphasized to his team that the number before their name on the scoreboard does not matter to the game on the court. Villanova should take care of business in Rosemont and against league-winless St. John’s to spend another week at #1 come next Monday. My pick: Villanova 85, DePaul 66


The rest of the Big East games this week:

Monday, February 8
St. John’s at Georgetown, 7 p.m. on FS1

Tuesday, February 9
#5 Xavier at Creighton, 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Saturday, February 13
Georgetown at #20 Providence, 12 p.m. on FOX
#5 Xavier at Butler, 2:30 p.m. on FOX
Creighton at Marquette, 8 p.m. on Fox Sports Net
St. John’s at #1 Villanova, 8:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Quick Picks:

Eugene
Record Last Week: 6-4
Overall: 31-16
Patrick
Record Last Week: 7-3
Overall: 31-16
Georgetown Georgetown
Xavier Creighton
Providence Providence
Xavier Xavier
Creighton Marquette
Villanova Villanova
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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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