Here are the five nationally televised must-see Big East games
The Big East Conference schedule was released last week, and there are many games to look forward to, as DePaul looks to defend their tournament championship from a year ago, and return to the NCAA Tournament.
The schedule consists of 17 nationally televised games, including two games against the University of Connecticut, with UConn traveling to Seton Hall on December 5, and DePaul on December 16. UConn will return to the Big East in 2020.
Both last year’s Big East Tournament champion, DePaul, and regular season champion, Marquette, will look to get back to the big dance, while the other eight Big East schools will look to take a giant step forward and compete for a championship.
Here’s a look at the top-5 must see games that will be nationally televised this season.
DePaul @ Providence: FS2 – January 3, 2020
DePaul is the preseason favorite to win the Big East after Doug Bruno’s team topped Marquette at the buzzer, in a thriller to win the tournament championship last March. While the departure of Mart’e Grays and Ashton Millender–two of their top three leading scorers from last season–will be tough to replace, the return of senior, Chante Stonewall, leaves the Blue Demons in great hands. Stonewall averaged 14.2 points per game as a junior, and will be joined by the likes of Lexi Held and Kelly Campbell, to go along with a strong incoming class.
Providence lost their top two scorers, and 3-point shooters from last season in Jovana Nogic and Maddie Jolin, but the Friars will return a plethora of talent, including Big East Rookie of the Year, Mary Bakersville. Kaela Webb, Channell Williams, and Olivia Orlando all played major minutes for head coach Jim Crowley. The youth movement is in full force in Friartown, as Ny-Asia Franklin is the only senior on the roster. This game is a big one for Providence, as it will be looked at as a measuring stick to see just how far they’ve come and how far they still have to go.
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Xavier @ Georgetown: FS2 – January 10, 2020
This may not be the first matchup that jumps off the page at you, as it pits last year’s last placed team, Xavier, against a team that finished in the middle of the pack in Georgetown. That said, it is a unique matchup, and it will be the first time we will get to see Xavier’s new head coach, Melanie Moore, in a Big East game on national TV, as Moore takes over following a seven-year stint as an assistant, and associate head coach at Michigan.
These two teams may be heading into the season with slightly different perspectives. Xavier is returning five of their top six leaders in minutes played last year, including A’riana Gray and Na’Teshia Owens, their top two leading scorers, and Lauren Wasylson, their best 3-point shooter.
Georgetown finished 9-9 in conference play last year, while making it to the WNIT, and recording wins over Sacred Heart, Harvard, and Providence, before falling to James Madison. While Xavier returns a bulk of their minutes, Georgetown finds themselves in the opposite situation. The Hoyas’ top three in scoring and minutes played are all gone, and Morgan Smith is their top returning scorer at 4.1 points per game.
Marquette @ Butler: FS2- January 17, 2020
Marquette is coming off of a Big East regular season championship, and NCAA Tournament berth last year, but we can expect from this year’s team is truly unknown. Marquette had five players average double figures in scoring last year. None of those players will be on the floor this year, as all have graduated and moved on, including last year’s Big East Player of the Year, Natisha Hiedeman. Not only are their top players gone, but their head coach, Carolyn Kieger, is now at Penn State.
The Golden Eagles will rely heavily on the likes of Selena Lott, who had 21 starts last year, but their roster will take on a serious overhaul. New head coach, Megan Duffy, comes to Marquette following two seasons at the University of Miami (Ohio.)
Butler is coming off of a 23-10 season, in which the Bulldogs finished third in the Big East at 11-7. They were upset in the Big East Tournament by Creighton, and failed to make the NCAA Tournament. Following two wins in the WNIT, their season concluded with a loss to Cincinnati.
Butler lost their most consistent 3-point shooter, and leading scorer, Whitney Jennings, and will rely heavily on returning guard Kristen Spolyar. Keep an eye on newcomer Upe Atosu, a transfer from Labette Community College. The Bulldogs can defend, but need scoring, and Utosu will provide that.
St. John’s @ Seton Hall: FS1 – January 26, 2020
Two teams that both finished 7-11 in conference play, and at the bottom of the standings, may not jump off of the page at you, but there is some depth to this matchup. First, whenever New York City and New Jersey get together to compete in a basketball game, I’m in.
Seton Hall swept the regular season series last year, winning in convincing fashion at home, before holding on to a four-point win in Queens. The Red Storm got the last laugh, however, as they knocked Seton Hall out of the Big East Tournament with a 25-point thrashing of the Pirates.
St. John’s will be an intriguing team, as they return all five starters, who were also their top five leading scorers, all averaging double-digits. Redshirt sophomore Tiana England is one of the best guards, and most creative scorers in the conference. For Seton Hall, Shadeen Samuels, who averaged 18.3 points per game last season, returns to lead a relatively young Pirates squad, which consists of five freshmen and just three seniors.
DePaul @ Marquette: FS2 – March 1, 2020
The rematch from a classic Big East Tournament championship game last year, may not bring as much excitement as that one provided, but you can bet that it will be an intriguing game. With a new-look rotation for Marquette, it may take them some time to come together. With this game being the last of the nationally televised games before the conference tournament, they will have plenty of time to work out the kinks of a new lineup before welcoming DePaul in March.
DePaul is the class of the conference heading into the season. Come March, there’s no reason to believe that they won’t be right there again, competing for another championship.
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