Butler (AP: 16 Coaches: 15)
Butler gutted out a road win at Seton Hall in a horrendous offensive showing for each team and then dropped a head-scratcher to Georgetown at Hinkle. A win there would have vaulted the Dawgs into the top 10 with a plethora of ranked teams falling last week. Butler now sits 0.5 GB from Villanova in the Big East at 7-3 and have a top 25 match-up with a shook Creighton team at Hinkle in their only game this week.
Creighton (AP: 22 Coaches: 22)
What could have been for the Jays…Creighton has now dropped 2 of 3 games they have played since losing Mo Watson, which included one from this week at Georgetown by 20. The Jays managed 51 meager points in that losing effort but bounced back nicely to take down a bad DePaul team by 17. Creighton needs a good defensive effort to stay alive in the Big East title race. The offensive talent is there, it will just take some time to get the rhythm back. The Jays hit the road and head to Butler in a crucial match-up to stop their current spiral, they will also get Xavier at home in a “prove-it” week.
Dayton sits at 6-2 in A-10 play after they dropped a big road matchup with VCU. The Flyers got absolutely handled on the boards going -17 for the game. That just won’t cut it. Kendall Pollard continues to impress offensively while Scoochie Smith cannot find the consistency needed to make Dayton the dominant force in the A-10. The Flyers will head to Fordham Tuesday night and then head back home to play Duquesne this week.
The Illini post a 1-1 week with a home win over Iowa and a road loss at Penn State. It was a very winnable week for John Groce’s squad as they squandered an opportunity to pick up a decent road win at PSU. They had 13 turnovers and got to the free throw line just 8 times in a 4-point loss. It’s a big, week full of opportunities as Illinois gets a Wisconsin team who barely beat Rutgers on the road and Minnesota at home. A split would be big for the Illini.
Illinois State (AP: RV)
This is a very good ISU team that is getting absolutely no respect nationally. The Birds are currently 10-0 in MVC play and are getting less AP votes than Wichita State whom they beat a few weeks ago. Besides that fact, ISU is also #36 in the RPI poll while Wichita State sits at 76. The Birds also hold 3 top 100 wins compared to a gentleman’s 0 for WSU. Not a lot makes sense here as the Birds keep rollin’. They host Northern Iowa before heading to Wichita State where a win would almost assuredly lock up a Missouri Valley regular season title.
The Hoosiers dropped back-to-back road games at Michigan and Northwestern and are in real trouble right now. They scored just 60 and 55 points in their games this week, which should be a huge concern right now. Nothing is working for IU and they’re in desperate need of a win to right the ship. IU currently sits 79th in the RPI despite 4 Top 50 wins, including wins over UNC and Kansas. A win this week over Penn State or Wisconsin on the road would be big obviously, Wisconsin would be the bigger of the two.
The Hawkeyes drop a road game to Illinois and follow that up by pounding Ohio State at home. Even more impressive is the win was without star Peter Jok, who sat with a back injury. Confidence is key in sports and winning a game, fairly handily without your best player is sure to bring some confidence to this Hawkeye squad. Iowa heads to Rutgers this week before coming back home to host Nebraska.
What a start to the week for Marquette as they knocked off #1 Villanova, that was their 4th win in 5 games and 2nd over a top 25 opponent, and then Providence came to town…The Golden Eagles erased what was an incredible run that was sure to garner some legit respect nationally with a loss to Providence at home. Providence is neither a great team nor a bad team, they’re just meh. There is talent there and when they play well they can compete with most teams, but Marquette had to win that one. Fortunately for Marquette, they will travel to St. John’s (who is a tough out) and DePaul this week in two winnable games.
Notre Dame (AP: 20 Coaches: 18)
After back-to-back losses last week to Virginia and Georgia Tech, the Irish have now lost 3 of their last 4 games. No need to panic, this is still a great ND team with tons of talent up-and-down the roster, but their ACC title hopes just got exponentially smaller. The Irish host Duke and then head to Carolina to play the Tar Heels. Two wins and I’d expect the Irish to be a top 15 team next week.
Massive missed opportunity for the Hall as they dropped a close affair with Butler in an unbelievably ugly game. The Pirates managed just 19 first half points, their lowest total of the season, thanks in part to a horrid shooting night (29% from the field and 56% from the free throw line). Angel Delgado continues to gobble up rebounds as he became the first player to record back-to-back 20 rebound games in Big East play in the conference’s history. SHU has a statement week with trips to Edmond Sumner-less Xavier and a hot Georgetown team.
St. John’s (MN)
The Johnnies dropped their only game of the week to St. Thomas at home. The loss drops them to 12-5 (8-4). The offense has really struggled for the Johnnies scoring 58 and 65 points in their last two contests. No better way to get the offense going than a 3 game week. St. John’s will hit the road taking on Concordia, St. Olaf and Bethel this week.
Washington University (St. Louis)
Wash U had two nice road wins last week over Carnegie Mellon and Case Western to improve to 7-0 in conference play. The Bears are now up to #6 in the country according to D3Hoops dot com and take on the same pair of teams — Case Western and Carnegie Mellon — this week at home.