One thing stood out in Greg McDermott’s mind about the Big East men’s basketball schedule that was released Tuesday.
“We’re going to find out a lot about ourselves in a hurry,” McDermott said.
The Bluejays open their third season of Big East competition with a New Year’s Eve game at St. John’s. They’ll return to open their conference home schedule Jan. 2 against Villanova and then face Georgetown at the CenturyLink Center three nights later.
Villanova is the two-time defending regular-season champion, while Georgetown is considered a prime challenger to the Wildcats this season.
Overall, McDermott said he likes the 18-game schedule, particularly because of where the Bluejays’ two “bye” gaps fall. Fox Sports 1, the league’s television partner, requires each team to have two open spots in order to meet its programming needs.
Last season, Creighton’s byes fell back-to-back, meaning the Bluejays played just twice in 17 days in February.
The Bluejays will have a five-day layoff in mid-January this season and a seven-day gap between games in mid-February.
“I like that we have much more favorable times for games this year,” McDermott said. “We have several Saturday home games, which I think our fans will like.
“A lot of our weekend road games are in the afternoon, so we’re back in a decent time. All in all, it’s a good schedule.”
The first Saturday night home game will be the Jan. 2 meeting with Villanova. The game will be the last of five played on the league’s annual New Year’s Marathon and will tip at 9 p.m.
Tipoff time for Creighton’s first-ever Big East game on Dec. 31, 2013, against Marquette also was 9 p.m., creating an electric atmosphere at the CenturyLink.
“I think the 9 o’clock game against Villanova to put an end to the marathon will be very similar to what we had on New Year’s Eve a couple of years ago,” McDermott said. “Hopefully with a similar result.”
Creighton will play four of its final six regular-season games on the road, with the last two — March 2 at Providence and March 5 at Xavier — marking the first time since the 1997-98 season that the Bluejays will close with back-to-back road games.
Unlike the past two seasons, Creighton won’t play at Madison Square Garden until the conference tournament.
The Bluejays’ past two regular-season games at St. John’s were played at the Garden.
This season’s road game against the Red Storm will be at Carnesecca Arena, the school’s on-campus facility. The 1 p.m. game will be the league debut for new St. John’s coach Chris Mullin, an All-American at the school in the 1980s.
Creighton will open its nonconference season Nov. 14 with a home game against Texas Southern.
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