The students' perspective on Villanova Sports.

Big East Basketball Schedule, Forecast and Predictions (Week of 2/29)

-USA Today Sports

As we head into the final week of the regular season, the Big East Tournament picture will be a lot more clearer. While the top and bottom spots of the conference are very much set, it’s the middle of the pack that will become more defined. Here are the standings going into this week:

#3 Villanova (25-4, 14-2)
#5 Xavier (25-4, 13-4)
Seton Hall (21-7, 11-5)
Creighton (18-11, 9-7)
Providence (20-9, 8-8)
Butler (19-9, 8-8)
Marquette (18-11, 7-9)
Georgetown (14-15, 7-9)
DePaul (9-19, 3-13)
St. John’s (8-22, 1-16)

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

Game of the Week: Seton Hall at Butler, Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. on FS1

Eugene: Both teams are entering this one pretty hot, Butler has been winning some and Seton Hall is fresh off of a big upset of Xavier. The Pirates have won eight of their last nine, the only team that has beaten them during that stretch are the Bulldogs. Seton Hall is looking to avenge that loss from earlier in the season, with its newfound momentum. The Bulldogs squandered a big lead against Georgetown, and ultimately won the game in overtime. This time around, they’ll be sure to focus up with Seton Hall coming to Hinkle Fieldhouse. Everyone in Butler’s starting lineup scored in double figures in the two schools’ previous meeting, it may not happen again, but I think another big game by Kellen Dunham and Kelan Martin will see Butler through. My pick: Butler 75, Seton Hall 70

Patrick: What a week for Seton Hall! After demolishing Providence like a marauding crew of buccaneers, the Pirates took on high-flying Xavier fresh off their Villanova takedown. This past week certainly cemented the Hall as the hottest team in the Big East and probably even the country. Behind Isaiah Whitehead’s heroics, the Pirates have now won their past eight of nine, including wins over Creighton and Georgetown (twice), as well as the aforementioned Providence and Xavier. The only school to beat them during this red-hot stretch? Butler. Also on Butler’s side? The Bulldogs also find themselves on quite the hot stretch heading back to Hinkle Fieldhouse for this Wednesday’s game, where they have not lost to an unranked opponent all year. Unfortunately, Hinkle home magic will not be enough against a Hall squad looking to clinch the #3 seed at Madison Square Garden. My pick: Seton Hall 77, Butler 72

And here’s two more:

Georgetown at #3 Villanova, Saturday at 12 p.m. on FOX

Eugene: The last time these two teams met, it was a fairly close game that came down to the wire. Given what has happened since then, I don’t see the same happening this time around. The Hoyas have been a respectable Big East team, giving opposing teams a run for their money. Don’t let their sub-.500 overall record fool you. With Villanova playing at home, it is just a completely different team. Granted, the Wildcats will have the Spring Break crowd cheering them on, they’ll benefit from their last Wells Fargo Center game and will hope to return there a little later in March. My Pick: Villanova 71, Georgetown 60

Patrick: With a win over hapless DePaul on Tuesday, Villanova will clinch their third consecutive regular season Big East title. That means that no other team has won the regular season banner since the Big East was reconfigured in 2012-13. Will that mean that Jay Wright will not play his starting five on Saturday? I think not. Every game matters to Villanova, even the meaningless last game of the season. No one wants to head to the Big East tournament coming off a loss, and besides this is Georgetown we’re talking about! 1985 may be far in the past, but the competitive drive of both Wright and John Thompson III cannot be extinguished. My Pick: Villanova 85, Georgetown 75

Creighton at Providence, Wednesday at 9 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Eugene: This game could very well be a preview of the 4- and 5-seed matchup in the Big East Tournament next week, which could eventually clash against the top seeded Wildcats in the semi-final round. It was a two-point affair the last time these two teams met, with then No. 12-ranked Providence barely squeaking by. Things have changed since then. Both teams are unranked, with Providence losing five of its last seven games. Creighton bounced back from losing back-to-back games with a 100-59 blowout of St. John’s. Creighton hasn’t been that impressive on the road in conference play, beating St. John’s, DePaul, Marquette, and (a good win over) Seton Hall. Ben Bentil will continue his high-scoring ways as the top scorer in the conference. My Pick: Providence 67, Creighton 62

Patrick: Entering the last week of Big East conference games, the middle of the pack is crowded. Villanova, Xavier, and Seton Hall have established themselves as the #1 through #3 seeds. DePaul and St. John’s still occupy the cellar. Everyone else has between seven and nine wins in the league, so all those seeds are up for the taking this week. Creighton and Providence lead this pack, but their stories coming in could not be farther apart. After an abysmal first season in the Big East without Doug McDermott last year, the Bluejays have surprised everyone with their success. Providence has lost six of nine since their upset in Philadelphia, as their fall from the top ten has paralleled Kris Dunn’s exit of any and all Player of the Year discussions. Who will win the sprint to the finish? Even with the game at the Dunk, I’m betting on the team with high morale at the end of a grueling season. My pick: Creighton 73, Providence 61

Rest of the games for this week:

Tuesday, March 1
DePaul at #3 Villanova, 7 p.m. on FS1
Georgetown at Marquette, 9 p.m. on FS1

Saturday, March 5
Seton Hall at DePaul, 12 p.m. on Fox Sports Net
Providence at St. John’s, 12:30 p.m. on FS1
Marquette at Butler, 2:30 p.m. on FOX/Fox Sports Net
Creighton at #5 Xavier, 2:30 p.m. on FOX

Quick Picks:

Eugene
Record Last Week: 5-4
Overall: 49-25
Patrick
Record Last Week: 5-4
Overall: 51-23
Villanova Villanova
Marquette Georgetown
Seton Hall Seton Hall
Providence Providence
Butler Butler
Xavier Xavier

 

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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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