The students' perspective on Villanova Sports.

Big East Basketball Schedule, Forecast, and Predictions (Week of 2/15)

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-Derek Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports

There are now only three weeks left of the college basketball regular season, meaning only three more weeks left of Big East play. There are a number of good games this week, but first, here’s a look at the standings entering Monday:

#1 Villanova (22-3, 12-1)
#8 Xavier (22-3, 10-3)
Creighton (17-9, 8-5)
Seton Hall (17-7, 7-5)
#23 Providence (19-7, 7-6)
Georgetown (14-12, 7-6)
Butler (17-8, 6-7)
Marquette (16-10, 5-8)
DePaul (8-16, 2-10)
St. John’s (7-19, 0-13)

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

Game of the Week: #23 Providence at #8 Xavier, Wednesday at 7 p.m. on FS1

Eugene: In the lone top 25 matchup of the week, Providence will be faced with a tough task with trying to leave the Cintas Center with a win. Xavier is an excellent team at home, with a 12-1 record. Another loss for the Friars might just knock them out of the top 25. They haven’t done so well lately, losing four of its last six. They have been slipping downwards since beating Villanova at the Wells Fargo Center. The Musketeers beat them pretty comfortably once they got separation from the Friars earlier in the season. Xavier can find strength in numbers with a deeper rotation, while Providence has mainly relied on the one-two punch of Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil to get things done. Depth and the comfort of its home court will see Xavier through in this one. My Pick: Xavier 73, Providence 63

Patrick: In a rematch of their much-hyped battle in Providence, the Friars look to avenge their home loss against a vulnerable Xavier squad. Ben Bentil has put in herculean efforts in the Friars’ two most recent losses, including a 42 point performance at Marquette, proving that Providence’s problems extend to their woefully inept bench. Xavier, on the other hand, may have just lost at Creighton, but their offense continues to roll like the mighty Ohio River by campus: since their defeat of Providence, they have beaten opponents by an average score of 85-71. With their projected #2 seed on the line, you can count on Chris Mack getting his Musketeers to rally at home before their trip to Georgetown on Saturday. My pick: Xavier 85, Providence 71.

And here’s two more:

#1 Villanova at Temple, Wednesday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2

Eugene: Who would’ve thought Villanova would get a game on ESPN while they’re #1? Things are ramping up for ESPN’s Rivalry Week game, as the Liacouras Center officially sold out a couple of weeks ago for the Big 5 matchup. The Owls have won eight of their last nine games, including a big upset win over then-undefeated SMU. Temple has been hot as of late, while Villanova looked a little sluggish in its game against St. John’s, who is winless in conference play. This game has been highly anticipated going into the season, with Temple boasting the talents of Quenton DeCoseyDevin ColemanObi Enechionyia, and Jaylen Bond. The Owls only turn the ball over an average of 9.3 times per game, which is the third lowest rate in the NCAA. Villanova will need a tough defensive effort and can’t expect its press to force magical turnovers. My Pick: Villanova 70, Temple 67

Patrick: One can only imagine the raucous atmosphere that will welcome Villanova to North Philadelphia. With a win, Temple clinches a share of the Big Five title. The last thing Nova Nation wants to see is a sea of cherry and white storming the court Wednesday night on ESPN. As if Temple did not hate the Main Liners enough, Villanova is ranked #1 in the country. Temple is atop their conference as well and is widely considered one of the hottest teams in the country on account of winning their last seven out of eight games. I think it’s safe to say Owl fans are still salty that Jalen Brunson chose to bring his talents to Villanova over Temple. Need I say more? Perhaps only this: there’s a reason we’re #1. My pick: Villanova 75, Temple 70

DePaul at St. John’s, Wednesday at 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Eugene: The two bottom feeders of the Big East conference will finally face each other on Wednesday night. It’ll be a game of tandems and their respective supporting casts. So far, St. John’s has been paced by the Durand Johnson and Federico Mussini. Meanwhile, DePaul has Myke Henry and Billy Garrett Jr. Overall, DePaul just has the better numbers and a superior supporting cast in Eli Cain and Tommy Hamilton IV. St. John’s is shooting a mediocre FG%/FT%/3P% split of 39.6%/64.4%/32.9%, while the Blue Demons have an edge in all categories with 44.9%/68.2%/34.6%. Unfortunately for St. John’s, its search for the first Big East win this season might have to wait a little longer. My Pick: DePaul 71, St. John’s 62

Patrick: The story of these two teams in 2016 has been one of utter futility. When DePaul is the team heading into a Big East game with two more conference wins than its opponent, well that’s when you know. St. John’s is diving into uncharted waters of losing-ness with their 0-13 Big East record under first year coach Chris Mullin, who Johnnie fans may by now be realizing was a hire more out of nostalgia than capability. Nevertheless, St. John’s can point to their valiant road performance at Villanova, where they kept up with the nation’s #1 for almost the entire game, as proof of things looking up. Look for them to continue that trend behind Mussini, the Italian transfer fast becoming a folk hero on the Queens campus. My pick: St. John’s 77, DePaul 69

The rest of the Big East games this week:

Tuesday, February 16
Creighton at Butler, 7 p.m. on FS1

Wednesday, February 17
Seton Hall at Georgetown, 9 p.m. on FS1

Saturday, February 20
#8 Xavier at Georgetown, 12 p.m. on FOX
Marquette at DePaul, 2 p.m. on Fox Sports Net
Butler at #1 Villanova, 2:30 p.m. on FOX

Sunday, February 21
Seton Hall at St. John’s, 12 p.m. on FS1

Quick Picks:

Eugene
Record Last Week: 6-3
Overall: 37-19
Patrick
Record Last Week: 6-3
Overall: 37-19
Creighton Butler
Seton Hall Seton Hall
Xavier Xavier
Marquette Marquette
Villanova Villanova
Seton Hall Seton Hall

 

 

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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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