Big East Power Rankings Volume 6
Since last week, we have had every team in the Big East play twice and much to the motto of this season, 7 of the 10 teams went 1-1. Seton Hall and Marquette were perfect on the week while an injured Creighton squad went 0-2. Let’s take a look at how that shook up the rankings in volume 6.
Best Week: Marquette (Sam & B-Frank)
Worst Week: Creighton (Sam & B-Frank)
T1. Villanova Wildcats 20-5 (11-1)
Nova suffered their first conference loss in Milwaukee last Saturday in what very well could be one of the Big East’s games of the year. The final couple possessions for both Villanova and Marquette weren’t pretty, but the Golden Eagles eked out yet another close win. Villanova answered in typical Wildcat fashion though by way of a convincing win over Providence. Collin Gillespie is quickly transforming into an impact guard that could guide this team deep into March. And here we were thinking before conference play that this was a down year for Jay Wright’s squad. They take a short train ride to visit St. John’s on Sunday.
T1. Marquette Golden Eagles 21-4 (10-2)
Marquette gave a sell out crowd at the Fiserv.forum something to cheer about as they outlasted Villanova in a slugfest on Saturday afternoon. Markus Howard was excellent and the Golden Eagles made plays when they needed to. They followed that up by scoring 92 points in Chicago to blow out a much improved DePaul team, Howard had 36 in that one. Wojo’s team gets 8 days off before hosting Butler on Wednesday.
3. St. John’s Red Storm 18-7 (6-6)
After their huge win at Marquette on February 5th, the Red Storm had a huge opportunity this past week to separate themselves from teams 4-10, but dropping a home game to lowly Providence did just the opposite. St. John’s answered with a close win in New York over a Butler team that is tougher than its record indicates. A home game against Villanova gives St. John’s an opportunity to knock off another conference foe in as many weeks. An opportunity for revenge at Providence awaits on Wednesday.
4. Seton Hall Pirates 15-9 (6-6)
It was a very important week for Kevin Willard’s squad. The Hall was reeling after a tumultuous January and needed to get back on track to save their once promising season. The Pirates were able to outlast Creighton in a complete rock fight and then beat Georgetown midweek (both at home) in front of a lively crowd who save SHU play their best game since December. Myles Powell took over down the stretch against Creighton and added 30 more points against Georgetown. If Seton Hall can avoid the offensive slides and play team defense, they will be fine. Chance for a quadrant 1 win at Creighton on Sunday followed by Xavier at home on Wednesday.
5. Butler Bulldogs 14-11 (5-7)
Butler put together a nice 2nd half comeback and held Shamorie Ponds in check, but it wasn’t enough to get them a resume boosting win in Queens as they fell in overtime. The win a few days earlier at Georgetown was solid, but the Johnnies win would have given them a much needed bump. This is a tournament quality team when they play to their potential, and unfortunately for them that has not happened often this year. Kamar Baldwin has started to come on a little bit of late despite shooting woes from beyond the arc and struggling with turnovers.
6. DePaul Blue Demons 13-10 (5-7)
DePaul seems to have come back to earth recently. This past week they won when they were supposed to at Xavier, and lost when they were supposed to at home to Marquette. Road wins are never easy in conference play, but neither is playing the fighting Marcus Howards. The Blue Demons have a real chance to get back to .500 this week with winnable games coming up at Butler and against Creighton.
7. Georgetown Hoyas 16-9 (6-6)
Georgetown had a chance to make a statement and take sole possession of 3rd place this week. But the young team crumbled late against Butler at home and then couldn’t stop Seton Hall on Wednesday to the tune of 90 points. James Akinjo has really struggled in the past few games and they need him to pace this offense. Like I mentioned, they’re young, and this team isn’t always going to fire on all cylinders when they need it, but they had a golden opportunity and squandered it. Now they another chance with Villanova coming to town.
8. Providence Friars 14-11 (4-8)
Ed Cooley’s team was very close to being back in the thick of things until the wheels fell off at Villanova. For about 34 minutes the Friars were neck and neck with the conference’s flag bearer until Nova realized they were the better team and hit a barrage of jumpers. The win at St. John’s was impressive and maybe if AJ Reeves hadn’t gotten hurt this is a resume boosting win for a bubble team, but as it stands they are very far on the outside looking in. Xavier at home on Saturday with the rematch against St. John’s on Wednesday. A sweep of the week would vault this team back into the conversation.
T9. Creighton Bluejays 13-12 (4-8)
Marcus Zegarowski may be the most important Creighton freshman since Doug McDermott. His absence was felt in a heartbreaking way after the Bluejays pissed away two games at Seton Hall and Xavier. The Jays are yet again at the bottom of the Big East looking up, but this season would be a different story if they could just close out games and remain healthy. At this point in the season being the only team to suffer an 0-2 week is nearly a death sentence, so them being the most disappointing bunch of the week should come as little surprise. They’ll look to finish what they started Sunday at home against B-Frank’s Pirates before traveling to DePaul.
T9. Xavier Musketeers 12-13 (4-8)
Xavier was finally able to end their weeks-long losing skid with a morale-boosting home win against the struggling Bluejays. For Creighton, it was the Marquette nightmare all over again – but the Musketeers didn’t mind one bit. They’re still the only team with an overall sub .500 record in the conference, but it’s not all bad. Splitting the rest of the way (easier said than done) should ensure that X doesn’t finish last. They’ve got two road tests to look forward to this week against Providence and Seton Hall.