One month into the season, we are getting a better idea of how well teams are asserting themselves in non-conference play. Here is how the Big East performed last week.
The No. 16 DePaul Blue Demons have had a rough start to their season. They are 4-3, but two of those three losses were to the top two teams in the country: 101-77 on Nov. 17 to the No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and 99-63 last Wednesday to the No. 2 UConn Huskies. The Blue Demons’ remaining loss was in the championship game of the Cancún Challenge, when they lost 83-81 to the No. 14 Syracuse Orange in overtime.
Junior forward Chante Stonewall and senior guard Ashton Millender have been the Blue Demons’ scoring leaders, averaging 14.1 and 13.1 points per game this season respectively. Though DePaul has struggled against the likes of Notre Dame and UConn, those games will help them build a strong resume for an NCAA Tournament bid.
The No. 22 Marquette Golden Eagles have played very well this season, though their schedule so far hasn’t been as hard as DePaul’s. They are 5-1 and their one loss was a 63-55 defeat to the No. 24 Miami Hurricanes on November 15. Senior guards Allazia Blockton and Natisha Hiedeman are averaging a combined 33.8 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Golden Eagles.
Marquette’s next two games are against major conference teams that made the NCAA Tournament. On Sunday, they will face the Michigan Wolverines before traveling to Starkville, Mississippi to face the No. 6 Mississippi State Bulldogs on Thursday, Dec. 6.
Though the Big East’s ranked teams are no longer undefeated, one team will still try to keep its winning ways going. The Butler Bulldogs are now 5-0 after defeating the Illinois State Redbirds 58-56 last Sunday. Redshirt senior guard Whitney Jennings leads Butler in scoring, averaging 14 points per game on 49 percent shooting.
Games of the week
There are no Big East games on tonight. But here are two of the most notable games to watch this weekend.
Villanova Wildcats (4-2) at St. Joseph’s Hawks (3-4)
When: Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. ET
Where: Michael J. Hagan Arena, Philadelphia, PA
How to watch: ESPN+
Notes: The Wildcats travel to face their crosstown rivals and look to win for the fourth consecutive time against the Hawks. Though St. Joe’s has a low record at the moment, they are still one of the better teams in the Atlantic 10 and were picked to finish fifth in the A-10 before the season started. As for Villanova, they lost both of their games in the UCF Thanksgiving Classic last week which included a 61-59 loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday and a 71-56 loss to UCF on Sunday.
No. 22 Marquette Golden Eagles (5-1) at Michigan Wolverines (5-2)
When: Sunday, Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. ET
Where: Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, WI
How to watch: Marquette Live Stream
Notes: The Golden Eagles will host the Wolverines in a match between two teams that made the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season. Marquette looks to get a home win, while the Wolverines are playing their second consecutive game against a top-25 opponent after last Thursday’s 66-55 loss to No. 13 NC State. This game will be a good test before Marquette plays No. 6 Mississippi State on Thursday, Dec. 6. But they should not consider Michigan a “warm-up” or they will likely lose the game.