Jan. 3, 2014
BIG EAST teams are moving on from the excitement that surrounded the conference openers on New Year's Eve to the realization that 17 league games remain for each squad. After this weekend, the 2-0 teams will be feeling good. The 0-2 clubs will try not to get too discouraged.
Saturday begins with St. John's at Georgetown, one of the BIG EAST's most storied rivalries, on FOX Sports 1. The two teams will be meeting for the 100th time. The Red Storm will be trying to bounce back from their 70-60 loss at Xavier while the Hoyas will be pushing for a 2-0 start after knocking off DePaul 61-54. Guards show the way for both teams. St. John's turns to D'Angelo Harrison and freshman Rysheed Jordan. The Hoyas depend on Markel Starks and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera.
In Milwaukee, DePaul and Marquette will be battling for the 113th time. Since 2005-06, the games have been played under the BIG EAST banner. DePaul coach Oliver Purnell has a lineup that includes seniors Brandon Young, Cleveland Melvin and Sandi Marcius to mix with guard Billy Garrett, Jr. and center Tommy Hamilton IV, a pair of freshmen. Marquette likes to look to forwards Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson for production. Both teams lost their openers on the road.
Butler and Xavier have battled plenty of times in the past, but they will be playing each other for the first time as BIG EAST members. The Bulldogs will make the two-hour bus ride from Indianapolis to Cincinnati trying to bounce back from a 76-73 overtime loss to Villanova. The Musketeers are aiming for a 2-0 mark in the league after their victory over St. John's.
The Creighton at Seton Hall game does not fall into the `long-time rival' category, but both teams do not need any extra incentive to know they both want to own 2-0 BIG EAST records by the end of the game. The Bluejays defeated Marquette 67-49. Guard Jahenns Manigat showed that teams can't give Doug McDermott all of the defensive attention. Manigat had 16 points, six rebounds and six assists against the Golden Eagles. The Pirates escaped with an 81-80 double-overtime win at Providence despite not playing with forward Eugene Teague, who had suffered a concussion. FOX Sports 1 will televise.
Providence and Villanova is the lone game on Sunday. The visiting Friars are a charter member of the conference (1979-80), while the Wildcats joined in the second year. Both teams are coming off overtime games. The Friars lost 81-80 to Seton Hall in two overtimes. Villanova won at Butler 76-73 in one extra period. For PC, it doesn't seem to matter how long the game goes, guard Bryce Cotton will be on the floor. He played every minute of the previous two games - both went overtime -- a total of 95 minutes. Cotton leads the league in minutes played (38.6 per game). The Wildcats used the production of forward JayVaughn Pinkston's 22 points to beat Butler.