Butler (AP: 22 Coaches: 22)
The Bulldogs found the offensive touch this week going 2-0 and averaging 96 ppg. Butler has clinched a first-round bye in the Big East tournament after last week and will battle with Creighton for the 2nd seed. Huge week for the Dawgs who look to improve their seed line with a big opportunity at Villanova followed by a road trip to Cincinnati to play Xavier.
Creighton (AP: 23 Coaches: 23)
Creighton suffered a road loss to Seton Hall mid-week and bounced-back nicely beating Georgetown by double-digits at home. Marcus Foster was nothing short of spectacular against the Hoyas and Khyri Thomas continues to stuff the stat sheet. The Jays have a big week as they host a surging bubble team in Providence and then head to Philadelphia to take on Villanova. The Jays are currently 0.5 GB Butler for the 2nd seed in the Big East, 2-0 would be huge, but they at least need a split.
Dayton (AP: RV Coaches: RV)
Archie Miller’s squad picked up a pair of wins last week to improve to 21-5 (12-2) and remain tied for 1st in the A-10 with VCU. The Flyers will have an interesting week with two middle of the pack teams in George Mason and Davidson. Dayton just needs to get through this week and it is all about the showdown against VCU for the conference title.
Illinois took down Iowa in their only game last week as they head towards the finish this season. The Illini need to close strong to have a chance at a NIT bid. They currently sit at 15-12 (5-9) which isn’t going to cut it. A small run here in their last four games and a win or two in the Big Ten Tourney could do wonders. Illinois has Northwestern at home and Nebraska on the road, both will be tough games.
Last week I said that Illinois State had no margin for error and boy did they come very close to testing that theory as they escaped with a 1 and 2 point win over Missouri State and Loyola (IL) respectively. MiKyle McIntosh is back and played well last week. Keeping McIntosh healthy will be the key for a run to the NCAA Tournament for the Birds. This is it. The final two games of the regular season for ISU, they host Southern Illinois and then head to Northern Iowa before eyes turn to St. Louis for Arch Madness.
When it rains, it pours, and boy is it pouring in Bloomington. The Hoosiers have lost 4 straight and 6 of their last 7. Their last win came February 1st in triple overtime against Penn State. There still is a chance for a tournament bid, but the Hoosiers have to play extremely well from here on out. That road starts this Tuesday at Iowa, a loss here and that pretty much ends the season barring a Big Ten Tourney title run. IU will host Northwestern on Saturday, a pair of wins would have them flirting with a play-in game.
Iowa has struggled through February sitting 1-3 on the month and losing their last 3 games. They dropped their only game of the week at home to Illinois on Saturday. At this point, the Hawkeyes are playing for seeding the in Big Ten Tournament, they have Indiana at home and then will head to College Park to take on top 25 Maryland. The offense has really struggled of late, it seems people have recognized Peter Jok and are playing tighter defense.
Marquette blew out Xavier at home on Saturday to put them at 16-10 (7-7) and squarely on the bubble. It makes you wonder what could have been in the Golden Eagles didn’t hit that lull after beating then #1 Villanova. Marquette will host St. John’s before taking a trip to Providence to play the Friars in a matchup of bubble teams. Big week ahead for Marquette.
Notre Dame (AP: 21 Coaches 17)
Remember a few weeks ago when people were panicking about Notre Dame losing 5 in-a-row and 6 of 7? Yeah, well that’s long gone. The Irish have won 4 straight including a handling of Florida State in South Bend. Notre Dame is now rewarded with a full week off before hosting a dangerous Georgia Tech squad at home on Sunday.
The Pirates did themselves a HUGE favor gutting out a win over Creighton behind Khadeen Carrington’s 41 point outburst. They followed that game up by laying an egg against Villanova in the highest attended Pirate game at Prudential Center. Not a great look. The Hall is currently in the field of 68, but just barely, they need a solid week and have a chance for another resume win as they host Xavier on Wednesday before they head to Chicago (Rosemont) to take on DePaul. Yours truly will be in attendance for that showdown. A loss to DePaul ends the season, a pair of wins and SHU should safely be in the field.
St. John’s (MN)
The Johnnies went 2-1 last week to close out their regular season. They dropped a shootout 100-97 at Macalester last Monday night, David Stokman had 37 points on 7-12 FG, 5-6 3pt, 18-19FT. St. John’s is the 4th seed in the MIAC Tournament, they will play 5th seed Hamline on Tuesday, a win would pair them against St. Thomas or Bethel on Thursday. The Johnnies went 2-0 in the regular season against Hamline.
Washington University (St. Louis)
Wash U picked up a pair of wins at NYU and Brandeis last week to improve to 20-4 (12-1) on the season. The Bears, for the 2nd straight week, are ranked 5th in the nation by D3Hoops (dot) com. Wash U will close the regular season at home against the University of Chicago this Saturday.
Northwestern (AP: RV Coaches: RV)
If it weren’t for Melo Trimble’s 32 points on Wednesday, I would be talking about a ranked Northwestern team that currently sits in 3rd place in the Big Ten. Obviously, that did not happen but they did squeak out a win against lowly Rutgers to avoid absolute disaster. Scottie Lindsey is back and while he did not score it well against Rutgers, it is a big positive to have him on the floor. The Cats head to Illinois and Indiana this week looking to improve their seeding for the Big Ten Tournament.