Butler (AP: 24 Coaches: 25)
A split of road games against Marquette and Providence was how the Bulldogs’ week went. Butler now sits in 4th place in the Big East, 0.5 games behind Creighton and Xavier for 2nd and a mile away from Nova. The Dawgs need a miracle to win the Big East, but they can secure a 4 seed or better with efficient play down the stretch. Butler has a surging St. John’s team and cellar-dweller DePaul at home this week.
Creighton (AP: 20 Coaches: 22)
Creighton had just one game last week and beat DePaul handily. The Jays are getting really good play from Khyri Thomas and Justin Patton continues to dominate in the paint. If Creighton could pick up their defensive game I would feel much more confident in them being a 2nd weekend NCAA team. The Jays will head to Newark to take on a desperate Seton Hall team and then host Georgetown, who is also a bubble team, this weekend.
Dayton (AP: RV Coaches: RV)
Wins over St. Joe’s at home and Rhode Island on the road have the Flyers knocking on the door of the top 25. A trip to St. Louis separates Dayton from a massive home matchup with an often overlooked and underrated St. Bonaventure team. Dayton needs these wins to keep pace with VCU and put the conference title on the line March 1 at home.
A huge win at Northwestern was erased by a double-digit loss to Penn State, effectively ending the Illini’s season. The bubble was soft enough this season for Illinois to steal a few wins and get into the conversation but this is over. The only game this week for Illinois is a road trip to Iowa.
Despite a 21-4 record, ISU finds themselves squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble. There was no room for error and the Birds took care of business last week with wins over Drake and Bradley. This week’s road trip to Missouri State is the last real test before “Arch Madness” begins and the Redbirds look for a rubber match with Wichita State. A loss before then would pretty much end any chance for ISU to break its Tournament drought.
Yikes. What to say about the Hoosiers? Last week was a bad week for IU, a very tough home loss to Purdue followed-up by a loss to Michigan has really set the Hoosiers back. They still have the best resume wins in the Big Ten, but the problem is they have very few opportunities to improve their resume. The only game this week for the Hoosiers is at Minnesota. Must. Win.
0-2 week for Iowa sits them at 14-12 overall. The Hawkeyes are in the middle of the pack still in the Big Ten standings and have a chance to at least secure a decent seed in the Big Ten Tourney. That is all the Hawks have at this point. Their defense has been sub-par of late and Peter Jok cannot do all the heavy lifting on offense.
What a fall for the Golden Eagles, they were on top of the world after the win against Nova and since have dropped 4 of 5. A pair of losses last week against Butler and Georgetown have put Marquette in the danger-zone. They need a few marquee wins to get back into the Tourney conversation. Marquette has a full week off before hosting Xavier this weekend. This is a must win.
Notre Dame (AP: 25 Coaches: 20)
The Irish notched a pair of home wins against Wake Forst and a huge win over Florida State. The Irish dealt with FSU’s size much better in their second meeting and was able to pick up a double-digit win. Water seems to have found its level in South Bend and everyone can step off the ledge and breathe. Road trips to Boston College and NC State are what the Irish have on tap this week.
This is it. This is the season for The Hall. The Pirates play home games against Creighton and Villanova this week. Two perfect chances to pick up that missing resume win heading into the final weeks of the season. The loss this weekend to St. John’s was an absolute killer. Statement week for The Hall, will they sink or swim?
St. John’s (MN)
1-1 week for the Johnnies, they now sit at 15-7 (11-6) overall this season. A big three-game week this week for St. John’s as they look to finish the season strong heading into the conference tournament. The Johnnies will need continued production from their bench, especially with a busy week coming up.
Washington University (St. Louis)
Rochester upset the Bears at home last week and gave Wash U their first conference loss of the season. To be fair, Rochester is now #6 in the country while Wash U drops to 7. The Bears will hit the road this week heading to New York City to take on NYU and then they head to play Brandeis.
Northwestern (AP: RV Coaches: RV)
The Cats followed up a loss to Illinois with a road win at top 10 Wisconsin. Massive win for the Northwestern. They desperately needed it and have just about cemented their at-large bid for the NCAA Tourney. Bryant McIntosh is arguably the best player that no one is talking about. He continues to pace the offense while Scottie Lindsey is out. Home games against Maryland and Rutgers are up next for the Wildcats, avoid a home loss to Rutgers and they’re home clear.