2011-2012 Big East Basketball Power Rankings (1/13/12)


syracuse orange mascot

As Paul M. Banks pointed out in his most recent Big Ten Power Rankings, “power rankings are only fun when the hierarchy is rather grey and things are up in the air.”  That properly describes the Big East this season as outside of Syracuse, there is no clear cut second best team in the conference.  Here are my latest Big East Basketball Power Rankings including the last place team being one I never thought I would ever put in the cellar.

1. Syracuse: 18-0 overall, 5-0 in Big East (Last Week Ranking: 1)
Right now, the Big East is Syracuse and then everybody else.

Up Next: vs. Providence (Sat), vs. Pittsburgh (Mon)

2. Seton Hall: 15-2, 4-1 (LWR: 6)
In no way do I actually believe Seton Hall is the second best team in the Big East, but right now who is playing better than the Pirates other than Syracuse?  What is scary about that is that the Hall lost at ‘Cuse by 26 points.  Jordan Theodore has played a huge part in the Pirates being one of the most surprising teams in the nation as he leads the conference in assists.

Up Next: at South Florida (Fri), at Villanova (Wed)

3. UConn: 13-3, 3-2 (LWR: 3)
After a surprising loss at Rutgers, the Huskies bounced back by beating West Virginia.  Andre Drummond was beastly against the Mountaineers, showing flashes of being the future NBA franchise center that many think he will become.  Perhaps the one missing ingredient for UConn is leadership, an area that Kemba Walker excelled last season.

Up Next: at Notre Dame (Sat), vs. Cincinnati (Wed)

4. Georgetown: 13-3, 3-2 (LWR: 2)
Just when it looked like the Hoyas were taking a firm hold as the second best team in the conference, they lose at West Virginia and on their home floor to Cincinnati.  Turnovers have been problematic of late.  G-Town shot 59% from the floor against Cincy but turned the ball over 17 times.  The previous week against Marquette, the Hoyas shot 63% but turned the ball over 17 times as they narrowly escaped with a come from behind victory.

Up Next: at St. John’s (Sun), at DePaul (Tues)

5. Marquette: 12-4, 2-2 (LWR: 5)
In the last week (loss at Syracuse, home win versus St. John’s) the Golden Eagles are –19 in the first half and +31 in the second half.  The week prior against Georgetown, MU was +14 at the half, -17 in the final twenty minutes.  Imagine if this team could put together two solid halves…

Up Next: vs. Pitt (Sat), vs. Louisville (Mon)

6. West Virginia: 12-5, 3-2 (LWR: 7)
Despite all their youth, this is another typical Bob Huggins team; hard-nosed, play with an edge, and will get up in your grill defensively.  Still, their success or lack there of relies on how the Kevin Jones/Truck Bryant duo performs on a nightly basis.

Up Next: vs. Rutgers (Sat), vs. Marshall (Wed)

7. Louisville: 13-4, 1-3 (LWR: 4)
Two weeks ago I wrote, “I seriously am not buying the Cards being as good as their 12-0 record.”  I’m not a genius or anything but since I wrote that, Louisville has lost four their last five including getting smoked at Providence by 31 which literally made my jaw drop when I saw the score.  There is no need to panic but Rick Pitino will need to get his guys back on track sooner than later.

Up Next: vs. DePaul (Sat), at Marquette (Mon)

8. Cincinnati: 13-4, 3-1 (LWR: 8)
I am probably not giving the Bearcats enough credit since they would possibly be unbeaten in conference if it weren’t for a Moe Harkless tip-in at the buzzer.  Sean Kilpatrick has become a perimeter gunner for Cincy as he is averaging more than seven triple tries per game.  It is their effort on the defensive end though that continues to power Mick Cronin’s team especially now that he is frequently using a four guard line-up that can really put pressure on the perimeter.

Up Next: vs. Villanova (Sat), at UConn (Wed)

9. Notre Dame: 11-6, 3-1 (LWR: 9)
Mike Brey has once again rallied his team despite losing their best player to injury.  The Irish picked up a gritty double overtime win at Louisville and their young backcourt of Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant have quickly matured to become the leaders of this team.

Up Next: vs. UConn (Sat), at Rutgers (Mon)

10. Rutgers: 10-7, 2-2 (LWR: 15)
Beating UConn at home by seven served as another huge home win for this young Scarlet Knights team but absolutely smacking around an ice cold Pitt team at the Zoo should provide a huge confidence boost considering it was their first true road win of the year (in actually just their third true road game.)

Up Next: at West Virginia (Sat), vs. Notre Dame (Mon)

11. St. John’s 8-8, 2-3 (LWR: 14)
If you can keep this team from driving the lane and limit their transition buckets, the Red Storm are very beatable since they are shooting below 25.8% from distance this season.  St. John’s got good news for the future as they added Texas A&M transfer, point guard Jamal Branch who will become eligible for the second semester of next season.

Up Next: vs. Georgetown (Sun), at South Florida (Wed)

12. South Florida: 9-8, 2-2 (LWR: 11)
Stan Heath should be thrilled that it is two weeks into conference play and his Bulls have a five-hundred record.  It gives him at least another week or two before he needs to post his resume to Monster.com.

Up Next: vs. Villanova (Sat), vs. St. John’s (Wed)

13. Villanova: 8-9, 1-4 (LWR: 13)
Understandably so, ‘Nova made my list of most disappointing teams this season.  Totally just throwing this out there… There’s no way Jay Wright could be on the hot seat, right?  The youth of this team has to be understood, right?  My only concern would be the way his team has crapped the bed down the stretch of the last two seasons, will he survive another year if the Wildcats finish 5-13 in the Big East? Discuss.

Up Next: at Cincinnati (Sat), vs. Seton Hall (Wed)

14. DePaul: 10-6, 1-3 (LWR: 12)
DePaul has replaced Providence as the “team that plays zero defense in the conference.”  Since I called them Provience (since they don’t play D), maybe we should start calling this team the ePaul Blue Emons?  They have given up more points per game this season than any other power six program and are allowing 87 points per Big East contest.

Up Next: at Louisville (Sat), vs. Georgetown (Tue)

15. Providence: 12-6, 1-4 (LWR: 16)
The Friars picked up their first conference win in emphatic fashion, shocking Louisville by 31 points.  I guess every dog has his day…

Up Next: at Syracuse (Sat)

16. Pittsburgh: 11-6, 0-4 (LWR: 10)
Losing at home to Rutgers, 62-39?  Baffling.  Literally baffling.  I am not sure the downward spiral can get any lower than that… oh wait, the Panthers have back-to-back road games at Marquette and Syracuse coming up.

Up Next: at Marquette (Sat), at Syracuse (Mon)

PAST BIG EAST POWER RANKINGS:
WEEK 2 (1/6/12)
WEEK 1 (12/30/11)

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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