Butler (AP: 13 Coaches: 13)
The Dawgs beat up on a sub-par Vermont team at Hinkle in preparation for the beginning of Big East play. Butler opens up at St. John’s, who is coming off of a nice win over Syracuse, on December 29th followed by a home game against Providence on New Year’s Day.
Creighton drops from 9 to 10 after the big Louisville win over Kentucky. The Jays took down Bobby Hurley led Arizona State in a high scoring affair at ASU. Creighton will have a huge week as they open at home against defending Big East Tournament Champs Seton Hall on the 28th and then host defending National Champ, Villanova on New Year’s Eve. Statement week for the Jays.
Dayton improved to 9-3 overall after two wins including a solid one over Vanderbilt. Dayton will open up their A-10 Conference slate with a home game against the La Salle Explorers on December 30th. Charles Cooke has paced the offense and they really need to get Scoochie Smith going to ensure a smooth ride through the A-10 schedule.
The Illini will enter B1G play at 10-3 overall and on a 6 game win-streak after beating Missouri last week. They will open up at Maryland on the 27th and follow that up with hosting Ohio State on New Year’s Day. Illinois needs to find a way to get Tracy Abrams going consistently to provide a 2nd scoring threat alongside Malcolm Hill.
The Birds went 2-1 over the Christmas weekend with wins over Tulsa and Hawai’i and a loss to a hot-shooting San Francisco team. It was a solid showing as the Redbirds got better as the non-conference slate matured. ISU has some legitimate options on offensive and have shown they can really get after it defensively. They open the Missouri Valley schedule at home against Evansville on the 29th and then head up to Chicago to take on Loyola on New Year’s Day.
Indiana (AP: 16 Coaches: 16)
Two blowout wins for the Hoosiers as they close their non-conference schedule and ease into B1G play. It is a big week for IU hosting both Nebraska and #6 Louisville, who is coming off of a big win at home against Kentucky. This is a very battle-tested squad that Tom Crean has and you have to think that will pay dividends come late February and March. They need to get and stay healthy but this is a very good, dangerous team.
Iowa finsihes the non-conference schedule at 8-5 and winner of their last 5 games. They picked up two wins last week over North Dakota and Delaware State. The NoDak win is what made national news as coach Fran McCaffrey refused to shake hands with the entire team and staff of North Dakota. He later apologized for the snub, but maintained that he did it out of the safety of his players and respect of the game. The Hawkeyes will be challenged immediately as they head to West Lafayette to take on #15 Purdue on December 27th. They finish the week on New Year’s Day against Michigan at home.
Marquette has been hit hard with the transfer bug as guard Traci Carter announced he will be leaving the program last week. Woj is a great coach but has lose quite a few players during his short tenure in Milwaukee. Two cupcake wins bring the Golden Eagles to 9-3 entering Big East play. Marquette has a chance to open conference play well as they host a really confusing Georgetown squad and then head to Newark to play Seton Hall.
Notre Dame (AP: 24 Coaches: 24)
The Irish beat a bad Colgate team in their only game of the week. Budding star guard Matt Farrell received an early Christmas gift as his brother, a member of the United States Military, surprised him with a video and returning home to see his game. It was an absolute must-watch video that will hit you in the feels. Notre Dame has one last non-conference game against St. Peter’s followed by the ACC opener at Pitt on New Year’s Eve.
Seton Hall (AP: RV Coaches: RV)
The Hall received a scare from in-state and inferior rival Rutgers on Friday at The Rock, but managed to pull out a double-digit win and move to 3-0 all-time in the Garden State Hardwood Classic. Angel Delgado continues to play inspired ball as he went for 19 points and 16 rebounds winning his 2nd MVP award in the game. The Pirates will have a huge week as they open Big East play at #10 Creighton and host Marquette on New Year’s Day. A 2-0 week would vault the Pirates into the top 20 next week.
St. John’s (MN)
SJU did not play last week and will not see the floor again until January 2nd. The Johnnies are currently 6-2 (2-1).
Washington University (St. Louis) (#25)
The Bears are standing at 6-3 and have dropped from 17 to 25 following back-to-back losses against Central and Illinois Wesleyan. Wash U will play 2 road games in 2 nights at Ohio Wesleyan and Wooster on the 29th and 30th. Big week for the Bears as they’re looking to bounce-back and climb back up the polls.