The Big East Conference’s fresh look will have some new rivalries in its scheduling, while old mainstays continue battling down the stretch. Georgetown tops the group’s ‘old-school’ contenders, while the Creighton Bluejays and Butler Bulldogs enter to make their mark.
Georgetown faces the Oregon Ducks to open its season, traveling to South Korea for the marquee affair. The Hoyas have also stacked matchups against the Kansas Jayhawks and Michigan State Spartans, while facing road tests with Butler and Creighton as Big East play begins in January.
Creighton enters the Big East with a solid chance to contend, heading first to California for the Wooden Legacy and a road date with Long Beach State. Greg McDermott’s crew then starts conference play with some favorable matchups, followed by some gut-check time against Georgetown and Villanova.
Marquette Golden Eagles
The Golden Eagles host Ohio State in a featured early matchup, while traveling to Tempe against the Arizona State Sun Devils. Marquette starts December’s slate facing in-state rival Wisconsin, while meeting Ball State and New Mexico before Big East play commences.
Butler’s new coach Brandon Miller could be in for some trial by fire with his squad’s schedule, including November’s Old Spice Classic in Orlando. The Bulldogs can be assured of at least one morale-boosting blowout, hosting the NJIT Highlanders in late December.
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Villanova heads to the Bahamas in November’s “Battle 4 Atlantis,” opening the tourney against the USC Trojans. Jay Wright’s squad then returns to the “Keystone State,” facing nearby rivals Penn and St. Joseph’s, before conference play begins as a road dog against Syracuse.
St. John’s Red Storm
The Red Storm plays 11 of their first dozen matchups in local venues, with the only exception being the team’s opener against the Wisconsin Badgers. St. John’s could steal its share of early victories, while a trio of road dates in January loom with Georgetown, Butler and Creighton.
Providence’s early action features a four-day stay in St. Thomas for the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam, while heading to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for a marquee date against Kentucky. The Friars have their share of schedule strength, but could find themselves “on the bubble” thanks to the Big East’s new look.
Xavier takes its home floor for 12 of its first 16 contests, including the first three dates of Big East play. Chris Mack’s troops play five of its final eight conference matchups on the road, likely sinking out of contention as sizable dogs against Georgetown and Marquette for our NCAAB Picks.
Seton Hall Pirates
Seton Hall ventures to nearby Brooklyn for November’s “Coaches vs. Cancer Classic,” facing the Oklahoma Sooners and either Michigan State or Virginia Tech. The Pirates have kept the rest of their non-conference schedule as a fairly light endeavor, shaping up as ‘dark horses’ through the year.
DePaul Blue Demons
DePaul can expect to get outclassed early and often with this year’s slate, facing lopsided affairs at Georgetown and Marquette to open conference action. The Blue Demons finished 2-16 in Big East play last year, while shaping up as front runners for the group’s cellar again here.