Big East Power Rankings Volume 4
Villanova and Marquette keep winning games, and thus continue distancing themselves from the remaining 8 teams, who all have either 3 or 4 conference wins. We’ve got a clear one-two punch, but even those spots are up for debate this week as Brian and Sam continue the tantalizing task of power ranking the Big East on a weekly basis.
Best Week: Marquette (Sam), Georgetown (B-Frank)
Worst Week: Xavier (Sam), Providence (B-Frank)
1. Villanova Wildcats 17-4 (8-0)
Nova dominated Seton Hall on Sunday at home hitting a season high 17 3’s and extending their home win streak to 25 years against the Pirates. They followed that up with a win at DePaul on the coldest day in the history of Chicago. The Cats were shaky in the first half but turned it on in the second and got out of town with the win and keeping their unbeaten record in conference play. Home games against Georgetown and Creighton are up before the big game at Marquette next Saturday.
T1. Marquette Golden Eagles 19-3 (8-1)
The Golden Eagles keeps soaring on. This team just keeps winning close games, but they can also win convincingly. At whatever rate, they’re tied for the lead in conference wins and will very likely be the first Big East team to reach twenty wins on the season. Markus Howard continues to score at will and make his case for conference player of the year, and the Hauser brothers both average scoring in double figures. If they can get past St. John’s during the week, they host Villanova Saturday in a battle for conference supremacy.
3. Georgetown Hoyas 14-7 (4-4)
Don’t look now, but the Hoyas are in sole possession of 3rd place in the Big East. A pair of wins, one in impressive fashion at St. John’s and then another over Xavier marked the week for Patrick Ewing’s team. They have a chance to make a statement this upcoming week with a Sunday road game at Nova and then a trip to Providence and a home game against Butler. 2-1 would be great, but 3-0 would be a game-changer and could possibly get the Hoyas into the bubble talk.
4. St. John’s Red Storm 16-6 (4-5)
Due to their easy-as-pie conference slate, it’s not a reach to say that this team is STILL not as good as their overall record indicates. However, they rebounded on the road in Omaha to beat Creighton by 16 after a barrage of three pointers to give them the lead at the end of the first half. This comes after St. John’s had lost 4 of their last 5. After getting shellacked by Duke in Cameron Indoor this afternoon, the Red Storm will be hungry for a win in Milwaukee this week.
If St. John’s is able to win a second consecutive conference road game on Tuesday at Marquette (who may be looking ahead to their weekend tilt against Villanova), we will a. concede that the Red Storm might actually be good and b. find the Johnnies more firmly on the bubble. They host Providence on Saturday.
T5. DePaul Blue Demons 12-9 (4-6)
DePaul had a chance to make a statement in the Big East and prove they are no longer the doormat of the league. They certainly aren’t the doormat, but they might not be as far as we thought they were earlier in January. A road loss to Providence and a home loss to Villanova. The games against the middle of the pack teams are where the Blue Demons can prove themselves. They’ve got the week off this week before a road trip to Xavier, a very winnable game.
T5. Butler Bulldogs 13-10 (4-6)
Butler continues to be a confusing team to watch. They lost by double-digits at Creighton last Friday and again at home to Marquette midweek before a win over Seton Hall, a game in which they blew a 17-point lead in 6 minutes. When the Dogs are shooting well they can play with anyone, but that’s a big if. The defense isn’t bad but they struggle to match up with most teams. Kamar Baldwin has struggled lately. Fortunately, struggling for Kamar Baldwin is still scoring in double figures. Butler heads to Georgetown next Saturday.
7. Seton Hall Pirates 13-9 (4-6)
The Hall finally broke the losing skid with a narrow win at home against Providence. They followed that up with 34 minutes of bad basketball, which saw them trail at Butler by 16-points. Thanks to an incredible stretch from Myles Powell, they tied the game with 40 seconds left and a questionable goaltending call doomed the Pirates comeback bid. This team just can’t seem to put it together. They’ve regressed since December in a big way and have seemed to go Benjamin Button and age backwards. The young mistakes that were expected early in the season are now being seem here in conference play. Big game next Saturday back at home as The Hall hosts Creighton.
8. Creighton Bluejays 12-9 (3-5)
The Bluejays unsurprisingly won the Pink Out game against Butler last Friday night (after Volume 3 was published). The Pink Out is an unreal atmosphere, and the Bluejays hoped that a similar environment would give them a boost against St. John’s. Unfortunately, the polar vortex included Omaha and Creighton Dollar Beer Night turned out to be a colossal failure.
Coach Mac’s boys still haven’t won a game in which they weren’t favored since beating Clemson in the Cayman Island Classic way back over Thanksgiving, which is why they continue to bottom out the weekly rankings. The Jays hope to right the ship tomorrow at home against Xavier before two tough road tests at Villanova and Seton Hall next week.
9. Xavier Musketeers 11-11 (3-6)
This team is the anti-Marquette in that they lose their close games instead of winning them. 5 of their past 6 games have been decided by 7 points or fewer. The Musketeers have won 2 of those. This team is just exceptionally uninteresting, maybe that’s why they’re riding a 4 game losing streak. My tune on them might change if they can travel to the CHI Health Center and beat Creighton tomorrow afternoon. They also host DePaul next Saturday.
T9. Providence Friars 13-9 (3-6)
For how good of a coach Ed Cooley is and the fact that the Friars have 4 players averaging over 9 PPG, this team just cannot string a few conference wins together for the life of them. The return of A.J. Reeves has helped some, as Providence is playing .500 ball since starting 0-3 in conference play. I’m sure we’re not the only ones who are scratching our heads as to how this team continues to struggle.