Yep, it's New Year's Eve. The last day of 2014. Get ready for the horrible New Year's Eve shows, the hazy sight of the ball dropping and, of course, the sunglasses and Advil. But first, there is a bunch of college basketball to digest. The Big Ten got underway yesterday and today the Big East, AAC, and the Mountain West follow suit.
#18 St. John's (10-1) at Seton Hall (10-2) 12PM, Newark, NJ, FS1
The Big East gets rolling at noon with a tri-state area match-up in rough and tumble Newark. Don't worry, the game will be played inside and there will be plenty of security. The Johnnies have looked really good lately. They handled Long Beach State and Tulane last week with relative ease, which shows they are no longer playing to the level of the competition, their previous M.O. Seton Hall has been surprisingly solid, as well. The Pirates have mixed experience with youth nicely, but their no-show at Georgia over a week ago showed they may not be ready for primetime. The Hall is also likely to be without their primary offensive threat, freshman phenom Isaiah Whitehead, who has been sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot. Prediction: St. John's 69, Seton Hall 62.
Butler (10-3) at #7 Villanova (12-0) 2:30PM, Villanova, PA, FS1
The second Big East game of the season features the league's presumptive best team. Nova has been hitting on all cylinders since the start of the season. They are not invincible, by any means, as evidenced by Syracuse taking the Wildcats to overtime in Philadelphia. But, Jay Wright has one of the deepest, most balanced teams in the nation, so in order to beat them, the opposing team will have to be on their A-game. Butler is capable. They are balanced, as well, and have beaten the likes of North Carolina and Georgetown already this season. Prediction: Villanova 73, Butler 67.
Georgetown (8-3) at Xavier (9-3) 10PM, Cincinnati, OH, FS1
The last game of the Big East triumvirate is a good one that will likely end while many are stumbling to the television and looking for someone to kiss. But, if you can manage to sneak away to check out this match-up, you're almost sure to see a spirited battle that will tell you a lot about both teams. Xavier has been up-and-down so far this season. They are notoriously tough at home and their three losses have all come away from the friendly confines of the Cintas Center. Georgetown is coming off a big win over a good Indiana team at Madison Square Garden, but this will be the Hoyas' first true road game. A fourth referee may be needed just for the low post to keep an eye on Georgetown's Josh Smith and Xavier's Matt Stainbrook, which is a 600-plus pound match-up. Prediction: Xavier 72, Georgetown 70.
Other games of note...
Temple (9-4) at Connecticut (6-4) 1PM, Hartford, CT, ESPN2
Minnesota (10-2) at Purdue (8-5) 3:15PM, West Lafayette, IN, BTN
Georgia (7-3) at Kansas State (7-5) 4PM, Manhattan, KS, ESPNU
Indiana (10-3) at Nebraska (8-4) 5:30PM, Lincoln, NE, BTN
Creighton (9-4) at Providence (10-3) 7:30PM, Providence, RI, FS1
Boise State (8-3) at #24 Colorado State (12-0) 9PM, Fort Collins, CO, ROOT
Other Top 25 games...
Penn State (12-1) at #5 Wisconsin (12-1) 1PM, Madison, WI, BTN
Wofford (7-3) at #2 Duke (11-0) 3PM, Durham, NC, ESPN3
George Mason (4-6) at #13 Oklahoma (8-3) 5PM, Norman, OK
#19 Wichita State (9-2) at Drake (2-9) 6:05PM, Des Moines, IA
Mississippi Valley State (1-11) at #9 Iowa State (9-1) 7PM, Ames, IA