USA TODAY Sports
Saturday marks the Big East Conference's first weekend slate of games. Syracuse is not a part of it, as they play Sunday at USF, but if you'd like to be a couch potato and watch the games here's a preview of the action.
Believe it or not the Big East Conference men's basketball season is six-games old, and already the league has shown indications its going to be a fantastic last run before everything changes next season.
So far, two games have gone into an extra session while another was decided by a point.
On Tuesday, Marquette defeated visiting UConn, 82-76, in overtime; while Wednesday featured Villanova needing an extra five minutes to down visiting St. John's, 98-86, and Seton Hall edging host DePaul, 73-72.
In St. John's losing effort sophomore guard D'Angelo Harrison scored a season-high 36 points.
Earlier games during the week had Cincinnati defeating Pittsburgh, 70-61, and Louisville blowing out Providence, 80-62.
Today, the Big East showcases its first weekend slate of games, five of them to be exact, and because Syracuse is not playing we figured a rundown of the contests would be nice.
So, here you go...
Both schools will be looking to rebound from conference-opening losses earlier in the week.
The No. 24-ranked Panthers seem poised for a bounce-back season, as junior forward Talib Zanna (13.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game) and freshman Steven Adams (6.4 rpg and 1.9 blocks per game) have brought back that bruiser mentality Jamie Dixon's teams are well known for.
Pitt is second in the nation in scoring margin (24.3), fourth in field goal percentage (52-percent) and third in scoring defense (51-percent).
Yes, the Panthers did play a soft non-conference schedule (one that was so bad CBS Sports' Jeff Goodwin called them out on it), but, it does look like they will be a NCAA contender a year after being the biggest disappointment in the league.
This will be No. 21-ranked Notre Dame's league opener, while Seton Hall is polishing off a Midwest swing after playing at DePaul on Wednesday.
The Fighting Irish are winners of 10 straight games. Senior center Jack Cooley, who has collected nine double-doubles and is averaging 15.1 ppg and 11.3 rpg, is one of the league's early-season frontrunners for Player of the Year.
Despite losing their two best players, guard Jordan Theodore and forward Herb Pope, the Pirates are still quite good and may be a NCAA Tournament sleeper.
Junior guard Fuquan Edwin is pacing Seton Hall with 17.7 ppg and 2.6 steals per game, while junior forward Eugene Teague is averaging 12.6 ppg and a team-best 8.4 rebounds.
No. 15-ranked Georgetown gets its first Big East test against visiting Marquette, which is coming off a gritty victory over UConn.
Like it or not, the Hoyas are slowly becoming a dark horse to be a contender for the Big East regular season title. The biggest reason is sophomore forward Otto Porter, who's averaging a team-best 13.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 3.2 assists per game.
Georgetown, winners of seven in a row, is ranked ninth in the nation in scoring defense (54.7).
The Golden Eagles are coming off a wacky win over UConn. In short, Big East referee Karl Hess was in pure form and helped Marquette earn a league-opening overtime victory.
Marquette is having a tough time finding itself, as last Saturday it lost to the 6-8 University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.
Early season struggles could be blamed on the loss of last year's Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom, and not having sophomore guard Todd Mayo, who was battling eligibility issues and is now back.
Junior guard Vander Blue is the team's leading scorer (13.3 ppg), while junior forward Davante Gardner (12.9 ppg) and senior guard Junior Cadougan (10.2) are the other player scoring in double-digits.
At the beginning of the season, when I was writing for SB Nation New York, I went out on a limb predicting Cincinnati would win the Big East regular-season title. Here we are two months into the season, and my pick doesn't look so crazy now.
The Bearcats may have the best back court in the league with senior Cashmere Wright (14.3 ppg), senior JaQuon Paker (11.9 ppg) and junior Sean Kilpatrick, who's averaging a team-best 18.6 ppg and IS the frontrunner for POY.
The Johnnies are young and very talented, but are a raw as an uncooked chicken drummie.
When it comes to St. John's you will hear a lot about the league's top scorer Harrison, sophomore guard Phil Greene IV and freshman JaKarr Sampson. However, the nicest surprise for the Red Storm has been freshman center Chris Obekpa, who's a shot blocking machine (5.1 blocks per game).
This is obviously the least intriguing game of the day, but it does feature one of the league's best scorers in Providence's junior guard Bryce Cotton (21.5 ppg) and best duo in DePaul's junior Cleveland Melvin (16.3 ppg) and junior Brandon Young (16.1 ppg).
If you're watching the games today, feel free to share your comments below.