The Best and Worst of Teams

Notre Dame will face the conference leader and its perennial bottom-dweller in road contests this week. IrishEyes' breaks down the entire upcoming Big East slate.

A look at Notre Dame's upcoming schedule and the rest of the Big East for the week of Monday (1/25) through Sunday (1/31). The Irish are currently 15-5 on the season, and 4-3 overall in Big East play.

ND Week in Review: The Irish dropped a home contest to No. 5 Syracuse last Monday before snapping their two-game losing streak with a win over DePaul at the Purcell Pavilion on Saturday.

(Click here for player-by-player review in the loss to the Orange), and (here for a review of Saturday's win), over DePaul.

On Tap for the Irish

Notre Dame will take on the best and worst the Big East has to offer this week:

  • Wednesday, January 27 at Villanova (17-1): The No. 3-ranked Wildcats (7-) are the lone undefeated in Big East action. A full game preview will appear Wednesday morning.
  • Saturday, January 30 at Rutgers (9-10): The Scarlet Knights are the only Big East team yet to win in conference (0-7) and will face Marquette in the Bradley Center on Tuesday prior to hosting the Irish.

Conference Matchups

College basketball's latest rankings will be available Monday afternoon. Expect Villanova and Syracuse to move up into the No. 3 and No. 4 spots respectively, and for Pittsburgh to drop into the 20s after back-to-back losses last week.

West Virginia won two games out of conference including a comeback win at home vs. Ohio State. The Mountaineers will likely remain among the nation's top 15. Georgetown (2-0 last week including a victory over Pittsburgh) will likely begin the week just outside the nation's top 10 as well.

Connecticut, with its upset of No. 1 Texas in Storrs (the Longhorns lost twice last week) should re-appear in the mid-teens when the rankings are released.

  • Monday, January 25: No. 14 Georgetown at No. 5 Syracuse
  • Tuesday, January 26: No. 12 West Virginia at DePaul
  • Tuesday, January 26: Rutgers at Marquette
  • Wednesday, January 27: Notre Dame at No. 4 Villanova
  • Wednesday, January 27: No. 21 Connecticut at Providence
  • Thursday, January 28: St. John's at No. 11 Pittsburgh
  • Thursday, January 28: Seton Hall at South Florida
  • Saturday, January 30: No. 5 Syracuse at DePaul
  • Saturday, January 30: Louisville at No. 12 West Virginia
  • Saturday, January 30: Marquette at No. 21 Connecticut
  • Saturday, January 30: Notre Dame at Rutgers
  • Saturday, January 30: Providence at Cincinnati
  • Sunday, January 31: No. 11 Pittsburgh at South Florida

Non-Conference Matchups

  • Saturday, January 30: No. 6 Duke at No. 14 Georgetown

Relevant Game to Monitor for Irish fans: Louisville at No. 12 West Virginia – The Cardinals, 4-3 in conference play, snapped a three-game losing skid yesterday with a win over Cincinnati. While the 4-4 Cincinnati Bearcats still must be considered a Notre Dame "peer" in late January, it's the Cardinals that carry clout on Selection Sunday.

The Irish need to either win at Freedom Hall in February or have Louisville continue to play .500 ball (and lose to the better teams on their schedule such as West Virginia) in order to have a leg up on Louisville when the Committee sits down to compare like teams.

Game of the Week: Monday, January 25: No. 5 Syracuse at No. 14 Georgetown – Does any matchup define Big East basketball more so than Georgetown vs. Syracuse? Both teams will move up in the polls when today's rankings are released.

Team on the Brink: Notre Dame – The Irish are a poor road team in a difficult matchup vs. one of the nation's best (Villanova) on Wednesday. With that game a relative "given" its imperative that Notre Dame, losers in 10 of its last 12 road contests, not fall victim to winless Rutgers in Piscataway on Saturday.

Notre Dame has won its last two trips to THE RAC, but struggled in both matchups, winning by just three points in 2008 and by seven in 2007 (both strong Irish teams). If the Irish lose to Rutgers, they'll be hard pressed to finish better than 2-7 on the road in conference…fodder for the Selection Committee when the Irish present their body of work.

Last week's "Team on the Brink" was Louisville and the Cardinals split a pair at Seton Hall and vs. Cincinnati (to remain "On the Brink" for our purposes).

Upset Alert: Rutgers vs. Notre Dame on Saturday. Mike Brey is 3-3 vs. Rutgers in Piscataway and 4-4 vs. the Scarlet Knights outside of South Bend.

Current Big East Standings (as of January 25)

  1. Villanova: 7-0 (18-1)
  2. Syracuse: 6-1 (19-1)
  3. Georgetown 6-2 (15-3)
  4. Pittsburgh: 5-2 (15-4)
  5. West Virginia: 4-2 (15-3)
  6. Notre Dame: 4-3 (15-5)
  7. Louisville: 4-3 (13-7)
  8. Cincinnati: 4-4 (13-7)
  9. Connecticut: 3-3 (13-6)
  10. Seton Hall: 3-4 (12-6)
  11. Providence: 3-3 (11-8)
  12. South Florida: 2-5 (12-7)
  13. St. John's: 2-5 (12-7)
  14. Marquette: 2-5 (12-8)
  15. DePaul: 1-6 (8-11)
  16. Rutgers: 0-7 (9-10) Top Stories