Breaking Down the Big East Basketball Schedule
The Big East announced the opponents for each of the 16 teams, as well as the home and away breakdown for each team. The schedule will again consist of 18 games—each team will play every team at least once, and tip-off against three teams twice (home and away).
The Big East's Web site has the full schedule.
The Big East is clearly cutting the Blue Demons some slack with the schedule DePaul is slated to play.
After going winless in 2009 during the regular season during league play, the Blue Demons will play Marquette, St. John's, and Rutgers twice.
The Golden Eagles lost their three best players, Wes Matthews, Dominic James, and Jerel McNeal. St. John's and Rutgers are two teams that may surprisingly make a lot of noise in the conference, but there's a good chance those two teams may not even crack the top eight in the league.
DePaul might be playing at least two-thirds of its league schedule against teams in the bottom half of the league.
DePaul's road schedule is a bit harder than the home schedule, but not even that can make up for the amount of easier games the Blue Demons will play.
This schedule will certainly help Coach Jerry Wainwright save his job.
The Friars will get a break with their home-and-home opponents. Providence will get two teams likely to finish in the bottom four of the league: Marquette and South Florida.
The Friars will also play Syracuse twice, who they've had a decent amount of success against. Providence also considers the 'Cuse its top Big East rival, so having the Orange back on its schedule twice is definitely a plus for Coach Keno Davis.
Providence's road schedule is equally as difficult as its home schedule, so the Friars benefit in that regard as well.
Good luck, Jim Calhoun. You probably should have retired when you had the chance.
The Huskies play three teams twice that have a realistic chance of finishing in the top six of the conference. UConn will play Notre Dame (Luke Harangody is back), Louisville, and Cincinnati (top three players are back) twice.
The Huskies then have to go on the road to play three of its top Big East rivals: Georgetown, Syracuse, and Villanova.
The Pirates have to tip off twice with West Virginia, who is likely to be the second-best team in the league.
The other home-and-homes won't be easy either, as Pitt is unbeatable at home and Rutgers is slowly improving. The Scarlet Knights have been a tough game for the Hall in the past, and the RAC is an extremely tough place to play.
Seton Hall also has to go on the road and play Connecticut, Georgetown, and Villanova—the league's likely top team.
Rivalries Not Renewed
The Big East typically uses the three home-and-homes for rivalries, but this year the majority of the home-and-homes aren't the top rivalries in the league.
Cincinnati won't be playing West Virginia or Louisville twice this season. Connecticut only gets Syracuse, Georgetown, and Villanova once.
Longtime Conference USA rivals Louisville and Marquette will only tip-off once this season. Providence will face Connecticut just once.
One of the hottest rivalries right now, Pittsburgh and Villanova, will tip just once.
This is happening despite the epic Elite Eight game between the two schools that sent the top seed, Pittsburgh, home packing.
Most Intriguing Home-and-Homes
All of Connecticut's: Notre Dame, Louisville, and Cincinnati
UConn, Notre Dame, and Louisville are going to be very tough to predict this season after their teams' personnel losses.
UConn's games with ND and the 'Ville could go either way, while the Huskies could lose both games to a much-improved Cincinnati team.
The league's best rivalry will finally pin two teams of pretty equal talent against each other.
In 2007 and 2008, Georgetown entered as the superior top-10 team, but combined, Georgetown won just one of the three meetings.
Last season, the 'Cuse clearly had the better season, but the two teams split the season series.
This year, the 'Cuse lost three guards—Eric Devendorf, Jonny Flynn, and Paul Harris—while Georgetown lost DaJuan Summers.
The Backyard Brawl will feature two teams headed in different directions.
Pitt lost its big three: Sam Young, DeJuan Blair, and Levance Fields, but is reloaded with stud freshman Dante Taylor.
West Virginia's big recruiting haul came last year with Devin Ebanks and Kevin Jones.
With a year under their belts, Ebanks and Jones—as well as senior Da'Sean Butler—should be ready to lead West Virginia to a sweep in the Backyard Brawl.
Both teams are headed in the right direction, but both also feature two of the most gifted pure scorers in the league.
Jeremy Hazell finished second in the league in scoring last year, while Mike Rosario led all freshmen in scoring.
With two games to battle, one of them is bound to be a scoring contest between the two.
If the two teams are going to completely turn things around, they'll need to be able to recruit the New York City area—a season sweep could help that process.
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