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Three Games to Watch in the 1st Week Back

The long wait is almost over. College basketball is back. Here are three games to key in on during the first week of Big East basketball.

#3 Radford vs Marquette (Monday 11/7 @ 8:30pm)

College basketball's opening night will include this intriguing matchup between visiting Radford and Shaka Smart's Golden Eagles. On one hand it will give us our first look at Smart's sophomore season - especially interesting considering he lost his 3 most talented players from last year. But also noteworthy is the return of Bryan Antoine to Big East play. Antoine, the former 5-star recruit to Villanova, was used sparingly in his first three seasons before choosing to transfer to Radford this offseason. Hampered significantly by injuries, the fans never saw much of Antoine, but those who saw him in practice swear he has NBA talent. No doubt Antoine will look to duplicate the success of Jamal Cain and other transfers who have left for mid-majors in order to increase their usage. Definitely a game to prioritize on opening night.

#2 Villanova vs Temple (Friday 11/11 @ 7:00pm)

The first week of college basketball isn't really famous for the quality of opponent, usually consisting of warm-up games against low-major competition, but Villanova's longstanding tradition of the Big 5 Home-and-Homes changes that dynamic a bit. Villanova will start their season with a typical early-season game against La Salle on Monday; but on Friday they will travel across town to play a much tougher game against Aaron McKie's Temple Owls. Temple, by far the best opponent any Big East team will see in this first week of action, ranks 92nd nationally (per KenPom) and returns several key players including All-AAC guard Damian Dunn. Coach Neptune is in for an early challenge as his injury-riddled Wildcats look to defend their 7-0 streak against the Temple Owls.

#1 St Peter's vs Seton Hall (Saturday 11/12 @ 12:00pm)

Saturday's game will be a homecoming of sorts for Seton Hall's new coach Shaheen Holloway as he re-vitalizes the Hall's home-and-home tradition with the St Peter's Peacocks. It will no doubt be an emotional experience for Holloway, who famously rose to national prominence as St Peter's coach during their miraculous tournament run last year. Holloway made it a point of emphasis to re-establish this yearly game, a show of respect for the program that gave him his first chance. Also, on the more technical side, the game will give us a chance to see how Holloway handles the incredible depth he has built on this Pirates team - current projections have 8 players competing for 5 starting spots. This is one you won't want to miss - and don't be surprised if we see a few teary eyes in the house.

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