So you want to play in the Big East...

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Well then you better be prepared for an incredibly difficult schedule - even in a supposedly down year. The Big East right now is a combined 35-0. The league has suffered nary a single loss.

Gone are NBA caliber talents like Jonny Flynn (Syracuse to Minnesota), Hasheem Thabeet (UConn to Memphis), Terrence Williams (Louisville to New Jersey) and Earl Clark (Louisville to Phoenix). All were NBA lottery picks. That doesn't even include the talented three amigos from Marquette, including Welsey Matthews who is already averaging 20.1 minutes per game and 7.1 points per game for the Utah Jazz.

The talent depletion was supposed to be too much for the Big East to overcome. What were legendary coaches like Jim Boeheim, Rick Pitino and Jim Calhoun supposed to do? Wallow in self pity I guess. Instead they've prepared their teams better and the 16-team conference once again looks like a powerhouse.
Yeah, sure. There have been some close calls. Villanova needed a freshman to hit his first ever basket at the buzzer to beat George Mason. Georgetown won an ugly game over Temple. DePaul, heaven help the Blue Demons, had to hang on against Columbia. But what matters in the end is the number in the W and L columns and those say 35 and 0 right now.

Why bring this up now? Well today the road gets tougher. The Big East plays a brutal stretch of games against decent Mid-Majors and highly ranked major conference opponents that will be a test of the conference's true character. The conference is favored in just half of it's games on Friday - and one is because Syracuse is playing on it's de facto home court at Madison Square Garden against a young North Carolina squad.

The most difficult game today is DePaul's against Northern Iowa at the Paradise Jam. The Panthers are 8.5 point favorites going into the game after returning everyone from the team that won the Missouri Valley Conference a year ago. Accuscore has Northern Iowa as almost 11-point favorites.

The game tips off at noon CT. If you're stuck at work and still want to watch the game you can catch it on FCS Broadband.

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Tags: Big East, DePaul

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