Before we actually look at the schedule, a brief summary of how it will be expertly graded (but if you’ve already read this on a previous installment, please feel free to skip ahead to the schedule so that you don’t get too annoyed with the repetitiveness).
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 cooking 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: at St. Joseph’s (Nov. 16), at Long Beach State (Dec. 3), Nebraska (Dec. 8), California (Dec. 22) and The Wooden Legacy (Nov. 28 – Dec.1), which includes a round 1 game against Arizona State, round 2 of either San Diego State or College of Charleston, and finally either Miami, George Washington, Marquette or Cal St. Fullerton depending on the bracket.
Rest of slate: Alcorn State (Nov. 8), UMKC (Nov. 11), Tulsa (Nov. 23), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Dec. 17), Chicago State (Dec. 29)
Steak: Cube steak
Analysis: I fully acknowledge that Creighton is stepping it up a notch in terms of the quality of opponent in conference, but this non-conference slate is baffling to me. This is worse than a cube steak cooked on a frying pan. This is a cube steak baked in the oven without any steak sauce or ketchup slobbered all over just so that you can stomach it. Their best scheduled opponent looks to be Cal at home, who is likely a fringe NCAA team. A matchup with San Diego State in the 2nd round of the Wooden Legacy seems like a sure thing and will be nice, but they could and should have been a bit more aggressive. This is a talented veteran roster with a two-time All-American on it entering his senior campaign. I would have expected more from a team that is yearning to make it to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament this season.
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: Marquette (Dec. 31), at Seton Hall (Jan. 4), at DePaul (Jan. 7), Xavier (Jan. 12), Butler (Jan. 14), at Providence (Jan. 18), at Villanova (Jan. 20), Georgetown (Jan. 25), St. John’s (Jan. 28), DePaul (Feb. 7), at St. John’s (Feb. 9), at Butler (Feb. 13), Villanova (Feb. 16), at Marquette (Feb. 19), Seton Hall (Feb. 23), at Xavier (Mar. 1), at Georgetown (Mar. 4), and Providence (Mar. 8)
The stretch of Xavier, Butler, then at Providence and Villanova, followed by Georgetown and St. John’s at home could be bumpy. However, after that St. John’s game the Jays will have almost a week and a half off before their next contest. I found that long layoff to be a bit odd. Anyway, they then finish with five of their last eight on the road with three difficult games to close out (at Xavier, at Georgetown and home for Providence for Senior Day). Not the easiest closing stretch for a team that many expect to be right in the thick of things for a conference championship.