Before we actually look at the schedule, a brief summary of how it will be expertly graded:
The most common ways to assign a ‘grade’ to something is by using a letter (A+ to F), or on a scale (maybe 1 to 10), or even the simple pass/fail will suffice. However, the non-conference schedule grades for all 10 Big East teams done here at Play for the Garden will be using the STEAK grade. Nope, that’s not an acronym for some fancy advanced calculation. That is steak as in the kind you eat. Why? Because I like steak and can’t think of any reason not to. Anyway, the grading scale looks like this:
Cube steak (weak): low quality piece of meat, but you gotta throw something on the frying pan on Tuesday nights
Filet mignon (getting better): very high quality piece of meat, but just not enough there
Rib eye steak (neutral): More times than none, this is what you’re probably tossing on your backyard grill. Quality piece of meat (if cooked properly), but you know there’s better.
Strip steak: (almost there): Now were talking about a large, tender cut of meat with that right amount of fat infused.
T-bone/Porterhouse (strongest): Containing meat from two of the most prized cuts of beef (short loin and the tenderloin), this is the boss of steaks.
Noteworthy games: Princeton (Nov. 16), Vanderbilt (Nov. 19), Purdue (Dec. 14), Old Spice Classic (Nov. 8 – Dec. 1) which includes a round 1 game against Washington St., Purdue (which would make for two meetings with the already scheduled meeting in Dec) or Oklahoma St. in round 2, and then Memphis, Siena, LSU and St. Joseph’s after depending on how the bracket play out.
Rest of slate: LaMar (Nov. 9), at Ball State (Nov. 23), North Dakota (Dec. 7), Manchester (Dec. 9), at Evansville (Dec. 21) and NJIT (Dec. 28)
Steak: Cube steak
Analysis: There isn’t much meat on this schedule at all. But that’s not to say that Butler should roll through their non-conference portion considering they might not be very good themselves. Their best and potentially only ranked opponent that they could see would be Oklahoma St. in the second round of the Old Spice Classic. They could also see Memphis in that same tournament, but after that it’s a lot of fluff and low quality meat. You could look at this in two ways: One – this is a good thing for a team going through some roster turnover, who lost their exceptional young head coach, and who has already lost their best player for the year (Roosevelt Jones) as it will allow them to tally a few wins and instill some confidence going into conference play. Or two – this team will be so unprepared for Big East play that they could be worse than some already think they will be. I’m leaning towards the latter.
Big East schedule notes:
Given that the Big East is now a 10-team conference, a true round robin format (each team plays every other member at home and away) will be conducted. There is no question about it, this is the fairest way to determine a regular season champion, but very few conferences have this ability. However, when and where these games are played still matters.
Big East schedule: Villanova (Dec. 31), at Xavier (Jan. 4), DePaul (Jan. 9), Georgetown (Jan. 11), at Creighton (Jan. 14), Marquette (Jan. 18), at Providence (Jan. 21), St. John’s (Jan. 25), at Seton Hall (Jan. 29), at Marquette (Feb. 4), at Georgetown (Feb. 8), Xavier (Feb. 11), Creighton (Feb. 13), at St. John’s Feb. 18), Providence (Feb. 23), at Villanova (Feb. 26), at DePaul (Mar. 6), Seton Hall (Mar. 8).
The three straight road games starting Jan. 29 at Seton Hall, then Marquette and Georgetown, then followed by Xavier and Creighton at home will be quite difficult. However, they do finish with two (seemingly) winnable games (DePaul and Seton Hall), which could create some momentum for the Bulldogs heading into the Big East Tournament.