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 (Dec. 7), La Salle (Dec. 15), at Syracuse (Dec. 28), at Temple (Feb.1), Battle 4 Atlantis (Nov. 28 – Nov. 30) which includes a round 1 game against USC, a round 2 game against either Kansas or Wake Forest, and a round 3 game with potential opponents being: Tennessee, UTEP, Xavier, Iowa
Rest of slate: Lafayette (Nov. 8), Mount St. Mary’s (Nov. 13), Towson (Nov. 17), Delaware (Nov. 22), Penn (Dec. 4), Rider (Dec. 21)
Analysis: Villanova is guaranteed to have at least a respectable non-conference slate each year with the Philadelphia Big 5 occupying four of its games (La Salle, Penn, St. Joseph’s and Temple being the other four Philadelphia schools). It never seems to matter which teams are up or which are down when this type of pride and passion is brought to the court. The Wildcats will also travel to central New York to take on long time Big East rival Syracuse in a much anticipated game. And it’s very likely that Villanova will see Kansas in the second round of the Battle 4 Atlantis. In sum, the Villanova Wildcats likely have two games against top-10 opponents away from home and four rivalry games. That’s a pretty loaded non-conference schedule.
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: at Butler (Dec. 31), Providence (Jan. 5), at Seton Hall (Jan. 8), at St. John’s (Jan. 11), DePaul (Jan. 18), Creighton (Jan. 20), at Marquette (Jan. 25), at Georgetown (Jan. 27), Xavier (Feb. 3), Seton Hall (Feb. 7), at DePaul (Feb. 12), at Creighton (Feb. 16), at Providence (Feb. 18), St. John’s (Feb. 22), Butler (Feb. 26), Marquette (Mar. 2), at Xavier (Mar. 6), Georgetown (Mar. 8)
Playing at Marquette and at Georgetown in the span of three days likely won’t be very fun. And the home stretch of Marquette, at Xavier and back home for Georgetown to close down the regular season will provide the Wildcats with quite the test heading into the conference tournament. Thankfully Jay Wright is getting his team well prepared with that impressive non-conference slate.