The Big East projects to have another strong season, and there are a few teams that can make a far run in the NCAA Tournament. However, what are the key games to take note of? The article below showcases the top games for Week One of conference play. Who will start the season off strong?
Big East Contests to Watch-Week 1
Game 1: Marquette Vs. Providence
Date of Game: 12/19/2023
Past Results (2022-23): 12/20/2022: Providence won 103-98, 1/18/2023: Marquette won 83-75
The guards from Marquette are better than the guards of Providence, so Providence needs Hopkins and Oduro to produce in a big way. Hopkins had 29 points and 23 rebounds in their win against the Golden Eagles a year ago. Joplin has to negate Hopkins’s effectiveness and make him more of a perimeter player. In terms of Oso and Josh, these are two of the best projected big men in the conference. Oso does it more within the flow of the offense, while Josh is an excellent post player. Furthermore, Oso is the defensive anchor for Marquette and that means he needs to shut Josh down.
Why does this game matter?
Marquette has the better overall roster, but Providence is a talented team with a new face as head coach. This game matters for how competitive Providence can be in the Big East. Marquette also needs to avenge the loss they had in 2022 in Rhode Island. More importantly, Providence wants to see their team live up to their potential and not be inconsistent like they were a year ago.
Game 2: Villanova vs. Creighton
Date of Game: 12/20/2023
Past Results (2022-23): 2/4/23: Creighton won 66-61, 2/25/23: Villanova won 79-67
The bigs will offset each other, so it comes down to these two battles to see who wins this game. Ashworth is one of the more highly-praised transfers, and Moore is one of the best guards in the conference. Being point guards, they control the tempo of the game. Whoever has better command in this match-up, allows their team to run better. However, the most important match-up is between Hart and Scheierman. Creighton gets a lot of their offense generated from the elite shooting of Scheierman. Hart is a versatile forward, so his ability to score and defend is essential. These two are the x-factors. The winner of this match-up will prove vital in which team wins this contest.
Why This Game Matters
Villanova and Creighton are projected as some of the top teams in the Big East. The Wildcats and Blue Jays bring in great transfers and return key members. Furthermore, both teams are trying to prove they can win a national championship. A big win to start conference play goes a long way to making that goal a reality. This matchup also determines if these teams are contenders or not as good as the preseason rankings shaped them to be.
Game 3: UConn vs. St.Johns
Date of Game: 12/23/23
Past Results (2022-23): 1/15/23: St.Johns won 84-75, 2/25/23: UConn won 95-86
Soriano and Clingan are two of the best bigs in the conference. For the paint to be secured, the bigs have to show up and produce. However, Newton and Dingle are the biggest match-ups because of the need for perimeter scoring. Dingle was one of the best scorers in the country and Newton was a dynamic slashing guard. As a result, the winner of this match-up helps secure a win for their team.
Why This Game Matters
This game is the most exciting one from Week One. The Huskies embark on reclaiming another national championship while St. John’s is one of the more hyped teams in the country. People can see if St. John’s is actually for real.