Big East Power Rankings Volume 9
What a week in the Big East. Creighton kept winning, Marquette kept losing, and DePaul scored more points in back-to-back games than any team had all season. With one Saturday slate of games left in the Big East regular season, here are our penultimate Big East Power Rankings. The conference tournament, uninhibited by the Big Ten’s previous week stink, promises to be unpredictable and exciting, as legitimately any team could make a run to the final.
Best Week: Creighton (Sam), DePaul (B-Frank)
Worst Week: St. John’s (Sam), Marquette (B-Frank)
1. Villanova Wildcats 22-8 (13-4)
By way of Marquette losing three in a row, the Wildcats guaranteed themselves a share of the Big East title at worst. Nova blew out Butler last week and is a win at Seton Hall away from winning the league outright. Live and die by the 3 is still the mantra for the Wildcats.
2. Marquette Golden Eagles 23-7 (12-5)
The turnover bug didn’t just bite Marquette last week, it devoured the Golden Eagles whole and barfed them back up. Wojo’s squad coughed the ball up 22 times in a home loss to Creighton in which the Bluejays held Markus Howard to 20 less points (he still had 33) than in their first meeting. They followed that up by turning the ball over 18 times en route to giving up an 18-0 scoring run to lose at Seton Hall. Now having lost three straight games, Marquette’s hopes of winning the Big East outright have also been fumbled. Forcing the ball to Markus Howard only got them so far. The Golden Eagles finish up the regular season hosting Georgetown.
3. Creighton Bluejays 17-13 (8-9)
If you didn’t think you’d see Creighton this high up in the rankings, you’re not alone. They were picked in the preseason coaches poll to finish 9th. Heck, even we hadn’t even ranked them in the top half of the league to date either – they’ve been 6th, 10th, 9th, 8th, 7th, 9th, 8th, and 8th in our weekly rankings. The fact that the Jays have the chance to finish at least tied for third in the conference is slightly absurd. They have been at least 4 games under .500 in Big East play, but after 4 straight wins – the longest current winning streak in the league – Creighton has a chance to pick up a fifth in Omaha as DePaul comes to town. Not bad for a team who had to re-brand themselves into a defensive unit in the middle of the season.
Holding Marquette to just 60 points in Milwaukee is no small feat – the Bluejays were a botched in-bounds play & blown review from a being one of the 3 teams above .500 going into this final Saturday and a season sweep of one of the conference’s best teams. Greg McDermott’s squad also held Providence to 70 points in an OT win. If they can contain Max Strus and DePaul and win a game in Madison Square Garden, they’ll go dancing. #RollJays #FreePreston
4. Georgetown Hoyas 18-12 (8-9)
Despite a poor night from Jessie Govan, the Hoyas were able to outlast Seton Hall in double overtime at home. They followed that game up with an absolutely bombing in Chicago where they allowed 101 points. Max Strus absolutely dominated in that game. All is not lost for Georgetown but they really needed to avoid that loss. They need to beat Marquette or make a run at MSG to get to the tournament.
5. Seton Hall Pirates 17-12 (8-9)
Massive week for the Pirates beating Marquette on Wednesday night at home. It was once again the Myles Powell show as he had 10 points on the Pirates’ 18-0 run to close the game. The win puts the Hall on the right side of the bubble and gives them confidence heading into the final game of the year against Villanova. A win clinches a tournament bid.
6. DePaul Blue Demons 15-13 (7-10)
How does a team that is 7-10 in conference play nab B-Frank’s coveted ‘Best Big East Team of the Week’ badge? By scoring 92 and 101 points in back-to-back games to end a losing streak. Max Strus poured in 43 in the Blue Demons victory at home against St. John’s, and added 30 in a 32 point (101-69!!!) home blowout against Georgetown for good measure. Leitao’s Demons hit the road to Omaha with hopes of haunting Creighton’s Selection Sunday dreams.
7. Xavier Musketeers 16-14 (8-9)
Formerly the hottest team in the Big East, the Musketeers saw their improbable run from last to 3rd via a 5 game winning streak end at Butler. Xavier still has a chance to get into the NCAAs but it will take a lot. They need to beat St. John’s and then make a decent run at MSG.
8. St. John’s Red Storm 20-10 (8-9)
Losing to a then-struggling DePaul squad with 5 days to prepare plummeted the 20-win Johnnies back to where they truly belong, on the outside looking in. If nothing else, the Red Storm losing in their only game of the week finally provided an answer as to if they are actually as good as their record indicates. The answer is a resounding NO. St. John’s finishes their regular season on the road at Xavier, where they’ll need to win convincingly to keep any NCAA tournament hopes alive.
8. Butler Bulldogs 16-14 (7-10)
After laying an egg against Villanova, the Bulldogs and Kamar Baldwin was excellent in the win over Xavier. It’s a must win this weekend against Providence and they need some help AND a run at Madison Square Garden.
10. Providence Friars 16-14 (6-11)
If St. John’s is worse than their record indicates, Providence is better than their record. I have a theory that since Ed Cooley and Greg McDermott are such good buddies, Cooley stopped his team’s comeback bid short – instead settling for an overtime loss. The Bluejays picked up a much-needed win, and the Friars gave a challenge to the conference’s hottest team. If Providence can handle Butler at home and Creighton beats DePaul, the Friars gain some momentum going into Madison Square Garden and don’t wallow alone in last place.