By Evan Sidery
Butler Beat Writer

On Thursday, the Big East released their conference schedule.

From a Butler perspective, it balances out pretty well for the Bulldogs. Also, they will love their role as a main primetime matchup on Fox Sports 1.

Here is Butler's full Big East schedule for the upcoming season below:

Dec. 31: Villanova (7:30 p.m.)
Jan. 4: @ Xavier (2:00 p.m.)
Jan. 9: DePaul (7:00 p.m.)
Jan. 11: Georgetown (5:00 p.m.)
Jan. 14: @ Creighton (9:00 p.m.)
Jan. 18: Marquette (2:00 p.m.)
Jan. 21: @ Providence (9:00 p.m.)
Jan. 25: St. John's (4:00 p.m.)
Jan. 29: @ Seton Hall (9:00 p.m.)
Feb. 4: @ Marquette (9:00 p.m.)
Feb. 8: @ Georgetown (1:00 p.m.)
Feb. 11: Xavier (9:00 p.m.)
Feb. 13: Creighton (7:00 p.m.)
Feb. 18: @ St. John's (9:00 p.m.)
Feb. 23: Providence (6:00 p.m.)
Feb. 26: @ Villanova (9:00 p.m.)
March 6: @ DePaul (7:00 p.m.)
March 8: Seton Hall (5:00 p.m.)
March 12-15: Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden

All of the 'Dawgs Big East conference games will be televised on Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, FSN, or CBS this season.

Another note is that the Big East believes the Bulldogs are a true national primetime team. They are scheduled to play 11 games in a primetime slot at either 7:00 or 9:00 p.m.

Just think of where Butler has come in the past two years. They were the headliners for the Horizon and A-10 conferences, and now they are right off the bat with the Big East. It is truly amazing to see how much growth Butler has generated on the national spotlight these past few years.

Butler's schedule looks fairly balanced, until they hit a rough patch at the end of January. Starting with playing on the road against Seton Hall on January 29, they play four road games and two matchups at home against two of the top teams in the Big East (Xavier and Creighton).

That six-game stretch from Jan. 29 to Feb. 18 could be the Bulldogs most crucial time to go out and secure a NCAA tournament spot.

For the Bulldog fans out there reading this, here are my five games I am most looking forward to seeing this season in the comfy confines of historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

1. Villanova (Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1): Their first game in the Big East, and having it be on New Year's Eve against a longtime Big East team in Villanova will surely pack Hinkle Fieldhouse to full capacity. Whenever it is a conference opener, and especially in a primetime slot, it makes us in the media excited as well.

2. Creighton (February 13, 7:00 p.m. on CBS Sports Network): After watching preseason All-American Doug McDermott courtside last year against Indiana State, I came away very unimpressed with the skilled forward. This time around, I want to see McDermott against a gritty defense, like Butler's. Will McDermott easily handle the 'Dawgs defense, or will he get shut down again by another Indiana school? If so, I must be his bad luck charm. Also, this is one of those teams that I think will become a good rivalry for years to come.

3. Xavier (Feb. 11, 9:00 p.m. on FOX Sports 1) : How will Butler rebound from a tough three-game road stretch against Seton Hall, Marquette and Georgetown? Will they be coming in as losers of three straight games or in need of a win to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive? That is one of the many storylines I am looking at with their game against longtime foe, Xavier. Whenever the Bulldogs play the Musketeers, it is always a tough, defensive game. Usually, the first one to 55-60 points wins these games. If Butler can get a win here, it will go a long way to trying to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament in March.

4. Marquette (Jan. 18, 2:00 p.m. on CBS Sports Network): The near-consensus Big East favorite for this upcoming season, Marquette, has to walk into Hinkle Fieldhouse for a game that should provide tons of offensive fireworks (looking at a career game for Kellen Dunham here). The Golden Eagles have a good core in Davantae Gardner, Jamil Wilson and Chris Otule. For my personal schedule, I see this as a big-time game of the year candidate for the 'Dawgs this season.

5. Seton Hall (March 8, 5:00 p.m. on FOX Sports 1): Surprise, surprise. I do not have Georgetown or St. John's on my top five games this season. The reason why I say Seton Hall is due to how important it could be for Butler. They could be battling for key positioning in the Big East Tournament, but also as a possible bubble team for the NCAA Tournament. Seton Hall is no push-over either, folks. The last game of the season in Hinkle Fieldhouse will surely be a great one here, with lots of implications possibly on the line. This game could mean a lot more to the Bulldogs than a lot think.

What are your thoughts on Butler's Big East schedule? Do you think it is favorable for the Bulldogs? Let me know in the comments section, or on Twitter @ESidery and @BulldogBitesFB.


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