By John Fanta
FOX Sports College Basketball Writer
The 2022-23 Big East schedule dropped Friday, with the slate featuring 20 games on FOX.
Additionally, a highlight to last season’s coverage is back with FS1’s “Big East Opening Night Tip-Off,” which will feature whip-around coverage of season openers for eight teams on Nov. 7.
The conference season will once again lead to the 41st consecutive Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, with coverage on FS1 from March 8-10 and the championship game airing on FOX March 11 at 6:30 pm ET.
With the complete schedule listed herewe’ve got a rundown of the top 10 games to watch in the Big East this upcoming season, in chronological order.
Saturday, Dec. 17 – Providence did Seton Hall – 12:30 p.m. ET, FOX
Ed Cooley and the reigning Big East regular season champions open up their conference slate with a visit to Newark to meet Shaheen Holloway’s Pirates. Nobody shone quite like Holloway this past March Madness, with the 45-year-old leading 15-seed Saint Peter’s on an Elite Eight run that will go down as one of the best in NCAA Tournament history. These two teams figure to be battling in the logjam of the conference following Creighton, Villanova and Xavier, so this is a significant way for both teams to start Big East play.
Sunday, Dec. 25 – From Paul did Creighton – 4:30 p.m. ET, FOX
It’s college basketball on Christmas Day. The national FOX exposure for the conference is a smart TV move by the Big East, which has seen major success in the past when paired with the NFL.
This game will follow the Christmas Day showdown between the Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins from Hard Rock Stadium at 1 pm ET on FOX.
It provides one of many national spotlight opportunities for the Bluejays, who are the consensus frontrunner in the Big East heading into the season and could very well be a top-10 team in the country. Upset-minded DePaul enters year two under Tony Stubblefield.
Wednesday, Dec. 28 – Villanova did UConn – 6:30 p.m. ET, FS1
This will be a very anticipated matchup off the holiday break. When the Wildcats and Huskies met last year in Hartford, UConn overcame a Dan Hurley ejection and four-point deficit with 21 seconds left to shock Jay Wright and Villanova. Now, it’s Kyle Neptune on the sideline leading the Cats, who could very well be a top-15 team in the country again. On the other side, the Huskies enter a crucial season after another disappointing March, and this early-season conference matchup at the XL Center could serve as a launching pad for the campaign. It’s also a rematch of the Big East Tournament semifinals.
Saturday, Dec. 31 – UConn at Xavier – Noon ET, FOX
I love this one. With the countdown at 12 hours before a new year begins, the Huskies and Musketeers squaring off in Cincinnati should make for an amazing atmosphere at the Cintas Center. Sean Miller is back at Xavier, and the Musketeers look the part of a possible top-20 team. The Huskies will be continuing one of their toughest weeks of the season in this showdown. If you like big man play, this is the game for you. UConn’s Adama Sanogo could win Big East Player of the Year, and it will be interesting to see who joins him in the frontcourt. Xavier counters with a really dynamic 1-2 punch in Jack Nunge and Zach Freemantle.
Wednesday, Jan. 4 – UConn at Providence – 8:30 p.m. ET, FS1
There are a lot of layers to the rivalry between the Huskies and Friars. The biggest one, which is specific to the two teams meeting in Rhode Island, is that they have not squared off at Providence with fans in the building. Last year, despite numerous efforts to make the game happen between both programs, it never came to fruition. That led to plenty of banter between the two teams and their fan bases, which makes this showdown a calendar date to circle. The other layer to this rivalry is that Dan Hurley and Ed Cooley used to meet in the Providence/Rhode Island game when Hurley was at his previous stop. Any time these two contrasting personalities meet, it makes for some hoops theater. This is a weeknight game to watch in the first days of 2023.
Friday, Jan. 13 – Villanova at Butler – 7 p.m. ET, FS1
Friday night college basketball at Hinkle Fieldhouse? Where’s Gene Hackman when we need him? This matchup between the Wildcats and Bulldogs is interesting for a variety of reasons. First, Thad Matta is back at Butler after five years away from college hoops. With Chuck Harris and Simas Lukosius back as well as NC State transfer Manny Bates highlighting several offseason upgrades, the Dawgs could be a sleeper in the conference. This is a Friday night battle that could serve as validation. On the other side, Villanova has notoriously had a difficult time winning at Hinkle and the atmosphere should be electric. In fact, the Wildcats have lost four of their last six games at Butler. This is a nice college hoops weekend table-setter.
Friday, Jan. 20 – Villanova at St. John’s – 7 p.m. ET, FS1
Can you tell we like the Friday night window? This matchup between two historic brands will come at Madison Square Garden to tip off the weekend of college hoops action. It’s a big season for St. John’s. Mike Anderson heads into his fourth year at the helm with the pressure in place to get the Red Storm to the NCAA Tournament, something he hasn’t done thus far. Posh Alexander and Illinois transfer Andre Curbelo headline SJU’s backcourt while DePaul transfer David Jones is the third-leading returning scorer in the conference. Villanova plays a very different, deliberate style from the Johnnies’ “40 minutes of hell,” turnover-based scheme. It makes for an intriguing primetime game in Manhattan, and a precious resume opportunity for the Red Storm.
Saturday, Feb. 4 – Villanova at Creighton – 7:30 p.m. ET, FOX
The battle of the potential top two teams in the conference in primetime on big broadcast TV from Omaha? That will play. It’s very smart scheduling by the Big East to place both matchups between the Wildcats and Bluejays in February. The added element of that timing? Wildcats star Justin Moore is on pace to potentially return to action by then coming off his achilles injury suffered in the NCAA Tournament against Houston. Speaking of the matchups in February, the second game between these two teams will come three weeks later on Feb. 25 inside Wells Fargo Center at Noon ET on FOX.
Saturday, Feb. 18 – Villanova at Providence – 4:30 p.m. ET, FOX
The newly named Amica Sports Pavilion – formerly known as The Dunk – should be well-served and rocking for a Wildcats/Friars early evening matchup. It’s a battle of the reigning regular season champions against the reigning tournament champions in the conference. When these two teams last met in Rhode Island, Collin Gillespie put up 33 points to charge Villanova to a huge road win. The performance was capped with this dagger.
Gillespie is gone, creating an interesting storyline to how the Wildcats backcourt will function in the upcoming season. Jared Bynum will charge the Friars.
Saturday, March 4 – Wild Card Saturday!
We cheated a little bit here. The final Saturday of Big East play collectively should be a dandy. There should be major conference tournament implications. The top five teams in the league get a first round bye, while the other six have to play on Wednesday at MSG. Here’s what the slate looks like. There will be three contests televised on FOX on March 4, with the other two games landing on FS1. The marquee matchup airs in primetime on FOX at 7:30 pm ET when Villanova hosts UConn at the Wells Fargo Center. What a time for those two longtime rivals to square off. Could it be a conference tournament preview? Here’s what the rest of the day looks like.
St. John’s at Marquette (FOX/FS1)
Butler at Xavier (FOX/FS1)
Seton Hall at Providence (FOX/FS1)
Creighton at DePaul (FOX/FS1)
That’s a wrap on the list. Below is the entire Big East on FOX schedule (all times ET):
- Dec. 10 Villanova vs. Boston College 5 p.m.
- Dec. 17 Providence at Seton Hall 12:30 pm
- Dec. 25 DePaul at Creighton 4:30 pm
- Dec. 31 Connecticut at Xavier Noon
- Jan. 7 Creighton at Connecticut Noon
- Jan. 15 Marquette at Xavier Noon/4:30 pm
- Jan. 16 Georgetown at Villanova Noon
- Jan. 22 Butler at Connecticut (XL) Noon* (may air on FS1 due to NFL)
- Feb. 4 St. John’s at Xavier 5 p.m.
- Villanova at Creighton 7:30 pm
- Feb. 11 Providence at St. John’s (MSG) Noon
- Connecticut at Creighton 2 p.m.
- Feb. 18 Seton Hall at Connecticut (XL) Noon
- Villanova at Providence 4:30 pm
- Feb. 25 Creighton at Villanova (WF) Noon
- Feb. 26 Providence at Georgetown 12:30 pm
- March 4 Wildcard #1 TBD
- Wildcard #2 TBD
- Connecticut at Villanova (WF) 7:30 pm
John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers the sport in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.
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