Big East Power Rankings Volume 7
For the first time this season, a team not named Villanova sits atop the Big East. After an undefeated week, the Marquette Golden Eagles are now all alone in the one spot. As has become the norm, the rest of the conference beat up on each other and is up for grabs. Let’s dive in to this week’s Big East Power Rankings.
Best Week: Marquette (Sam), Georgetown (B-Frank)
Worst Week: Villanova (Sam & B-Frank)
1. Marquette Golden Eagles 22-4 (11-2)
Marquette takes the top spot this week after handling their business against Butler at home. The Golden Eagles continue to lack that true, consistent secondary scorer that we all expected the Houser brothers to be. Against Butler, it was Theo John who came through with 15 points 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. Marquette has 3 of their final 5 on the road and two this upcoming week at Providence and Villanova.
2. Villanova Wildcats 20-7 (11-3)
For the second time this season, Villanova has lost back-to-back games. These both came on the road at St. John’s and Georgetown – teams that have jockeyed for third in the conference all season. How did this happen? Well, Jay Wright’s Villanova teams have long lived and died by the three point shot. The Wildcats shot a paltry 20-for-73 from long-range in their two losses this week. That’s 27%. They’ll need to figure out other ways to score when (not if) their 3-pointers aren’t falling, or else they’ll cough up the stranglehold they’ve kept on the new Big East since realignment. They travel to Xavier for a game Sunday before facing off with Marquette in Philadelphia Wednesday night – a game you won’t want to miss.
T3. Georgetown Hoyas 16-10 (6-7)
Quite the week for Patrick Ewing’s team who had a full week off following the loss at Seton Hall to prepare for Villanova and they looked great. The Hoyas were ahead for most of the game and by double digits in the 2nd half. McClung and Govan were excellent combining for 42 points 16 rebounds 6 assists. A mix of strong defense and cold shooting did the Wildcats in, but credit to Georgetown because they took advantage. They Hoyas head to Omaha this weekend before a home game against DePaul.
T3. St. John’s Red Storm 19-8 (7-7)
A huge 2nd half comeback over Villanova looked to seal an at-large bid for the Johnnies, and then Providence came to town. The Friars completed the season sweep over St. John’s with a convincing 19-point win. Shamorie Ponds scored just 4 points in that game and Marvin Clark was ejected from the ball game early in the 2nd half. With just four game to go I think St. John’s needs just 1 win to ensure their bid, they have a great chance with fellow bubble team Seton Hall coming to the Garden this weekend.
5. Seton Hall Pirates 16-10 (7-7)
The Hall had climbed out of the hole and had a fresh look and really just needed a pair of wins in their final 5 games to secure a 4th straight NCAA Tournament bid for just the 2nd time in Program History. Instead, they got thoroughly dominated for 34 minutes (stop me if you’ve heard this before) and then flipped a switch. That switch saw the Pirates close the game on a 17-2 run and have the ball with 14 seconds left down a point with a chance to win. Myles Powell doesn’t take the final shot and The Hall lose a game they should have never lost, that during you thought they should have no chance of winning, and down the stretch you though holy crap they’re actually going to do this. Now it’s gut check time. They have a very difficult final four games to the season at it starts at their 2nd home, Madison Square Garden. Seton Hall is 9-3 at MSG in the past three seasons and they beat some team named Kentucky in December there. A win over the Johnnies would be a huge boost.
T6. Butler Bulldogs 15-12 (6-8)
The Bulldogs split this past week as well, with an impressive 91-78 home win against DePaul. It was the first time Butler had even broken the 80-point threshold in 6 games. They were able to keep it close in Milwaukee against Marquette, but again the offense stalled as Butler couldn’t muster more than 69. The Golden Eagles aren’t a team that you want to have scoring troubles against, and they notched another double-digit conference victory. There’s only one game this week for the Bulldogs, at home in Indianapolis on Tuesday against Providence.
T6. Xavier Musketeers 14-13 (6-8)
Don’t look now but the Musketeers have won 3 in a row. They tried their hardest to blow their 16-point lead at Seton Hall and were fortunate to have a number of things go their way in the final 30 seconds and then play strong defense on the final possession. Naji Marshall is playing like a man possessed right now, he scored a career-high 28 points in Newark while Tyrique Jones had 18 points and 15 rebounds. When those two are producing X is a very tough team to beat. The only question left is can they get Quentin Goodin or Paul Scruggs going? If they do that, watch out for Xavier. The Musketeers’ schedule is back heavy and a win this weekend over Villanova makes for a very interesting conversation.
T8. Providence Friars 15-12 (5-9)
A somewhat surging Xavier squad bested the Friars at home to begin the week, but Ed Cooley’s team notched maybe their most impressive conference win thus far in a 78-59 dismantling of St. John’s. A 1-1 week is reasonably what was expected, but after dropping one to Xavier the St. John’s win was massive. Nevertheless, the Friars will look to keep the momentum going after a big win as they’ll need to play an equally impressive game when they host Marquette tomorrow. They travel to Butler Tuesday as well.
T8. Creighton Bluejays 14-13 (5-9)
The roller coaster that is Creighton’s season continued this past week as they choked away a lead at the under-4 timeout at home to Seton Hall then rebounded to maintain an under-4 timeout lead on the road at DePaul. Creighton’s tendency to give up leads late in games has been awfully frustrating, so it was nice to see them close one out on the road. Damien Jefferson still hasn’t returned to form after his broken ankle, but Connor Cashaw has played his best minutes of the season over the past couple weeks. Freshman point-guard Marcus Zegarowski is nearly back to his old ways after missing time with a finger injury on his shooting hand. The Jays host Georgetown tomorrow in their only game of the week.
10. DePaul Blue Demons 13-12 (5-9)
The Blue Demons have returned to form, having dropped 3 straight games with tough tests at Georgetown and St. John’s on the horizon. This season got off to a pleasantly surprising start for DePaul, but has quickly taken a turn for the worst after Butler beat them handily in Indianapolis. A return home to face an underachieving Creighton squad didn’t spell much better for DePaul, who finds themselves in the cellar yet again.