Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: Clemson, Providence, and Colorado State with key league games this weekend

Clemson junior forward PJ Hall (24) is introduced before tipoff with Winthrop at Littlejohn Coliseum
Clemson junior forward PJ Hall (24) is introduced before tipoff with Winthrop at Littlejohn Coliseum / Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK
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No. 23 Providence Friars (11-3) at Creighton Bluejays (10-4), Saturday, January 6, 2:00 PM ET, FS1

Outside of the Big 12, the Big East may be the deepest conference in the country. Because of that, each night there will be an immensely important game that will have immediate and long-term ramifications. One such game takes place on Saturday afternoon when No. 23 Providence (11-3) travels to Omaha to take on the Creighton Bluejays (10-4). This game became even more important for Providence after losing second-leading scorer and leading rebounder Bryce Hopkins to a torn ACL on Wednesday night.

After a loss to Seton Hall on Wednesday, Kim English’s Friars are one game behind Villanova in the league standings at 2-1. Big East play started at a good time for the Friars because even though the record is good, only six of those games have come in the first two quads. The Friars’ resume will be bolstered nearly every night in league play and a road win at Creighton who is ranked 125 spots higher in terms of strength of schedule.

Creighton has struggled of late going 2-3 in their last five, including a 15-point loss at UNLV. They followed that up with a game that showed why they were a preseason top-10 team, an 85-82 win over Alabama with four guys in double-figures, making 68% of their two-point shots. The Bluejays have played a trying schedule so far but looking at their 2-3 quad 1 record, the losses to Villanova and Marquette have come by a total of seven points. League play will give us an idea as to which Creighton team is likely the real one, the preseason top-10 one, or the one we’ve seen over the last three weeks or so.