The Big East released their conference slate on Tuesday and they will have a second straight year with no true 5-game marathon on December 31st. Instead, the Big East will have a marathon of games on Martin Luther King, Jr Day on January 16th, the league announced on Monday afternoon. This is likely to avoid competing with the college football playoff that currently dominates viewership on New Year’s Eve. The NBA does have some marquee matchups on MLK Day in 2016-17, however.
The schedule also includes year 2 of the annual Gavitt Tipoff Games against foes from the Big Ten, which Providence will compete in on the road at Ohio State after taking on Illinois at home last season. All 90 league games will again be on national television with 9 games will be played on FOX, in addition to 3 non-league games featuring Big East teams being played on the broadcast network. The league’s deal with CBS continues with 2 games being played on CBS and 18 on CBS Sports Network with 15 of those 18 being league contests. Providence opens on the road for the second straight season when they will travel to the Cintas Center to take on the Xavier Musketeers. The Friars will welcome the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on February 1st and PC will look for their first ever road win at Marquette on January 28th, among some notable contests. Here is Providence’s 2016-17 Big East schedule:
|1/4/2017||Wednesday||7:00pm||Georgetown||Dunkin’ Donuts Center||CBSSN|
|1/7/2017||Saturday||2:00pm||Creighton||Dunkin’ Donuts Center||CBSSN|
|1/14/2017||Saturday||12:00pm||Seton Hall||Dunkin’ Donuts Center||FSN|
|1/21/2017||Saturday||12:00pm||Villanova||Wells Fargo Center||FOX|
|1/25/2017||Wednesday||6:30pm||St. John’s||Dunkin’ Donuts Center||FS1|
|2/1/2017||Wednesday||7:00pm||Villanova||Dunkin’ Donuts Center||FS1|
|2/8/2017||Wednesday||8:30pm||Seton Hall||Prudential Center||FS1|
|2/11/2017||Saturday||4:00pm||Butler||Dunkin’ Donuts Center||CBSSN|
|2/15/2017||Wednesday||6:30pm||Xavier||Dunkin’ Donuts Center||FS1|
|2/25/2017||Saturday||4:00pm||Marquette||Dunkin’ Donuts Center||CBSSN|
|2/28/2017||Tuesday||8:30pm||DePaul||Dunkin’ Donuts Center||FS1|
|3/4/2017||Saturday||12:00pm||St. John’s||Madison Square Garden||FOX or FS2|
For the full 2016-17 schedule, click here.
First Impression and Random Thoughts
Opening on the road at Xavier will be a very difficult introduction to league play for this fairly young Providence squad. Xavier went 15-1 at home last season and had an average attendance of 10,403 for Big East games, which is 101.5% of the arena’s 10,250 person capacity. The Musketeers have won 87.5% (216-31) of games played at the Cintas Center since the arena opened in 2000. The Friars got off to a great start last season by beating Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse, but repeating that feat may be a tough ask for the 2016-17 version of Providence.
The toughest stretch for the Friars may just be a month-long span where they take on Villanova on the road on January 21st and finish on the road at Creighton on February 22nd. The games in between are St. John’s at home, at Marquette, Villanova at home, at Seton Hall, Butler at home, Xavier at home. Ouch.
The Friars will finish against St. John’s for the second straight year and for the third straight season the regular season matchup against the Red Storm will be at Madison Square Garden. This streak comes after Providence hadn’t met St. John’s at MSG during the regular season since March 4, 2007.
The MLK Day marathon is a very cool idea to give the league another marquee day of Big East basketball, but I liked the concept of the NYE marathon better on balance. Obviously the College Football Playoff is a tough ratings beast to go heads up against, but here’s to hoping the league gets back to a NYE opening marathon in the near future.
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