2011-2012 Big East Basketball Power Rankings (1/27/12)


notre dame rushes court

“Down Goes Frazier!  Down Goes Frazier!”  Syracuse suffers their first loss of the season at the hands of Notre Dame but still sits atop my latest Big East Basketball Power Rankings.  Meanwhile, Pitt wins their first game of the season while the Seton Hall slide continues.  Be sure to check back every Friday for my latest rankings.

1. Syracuse: 21-1 overall, 8-1 in Big East (Last Week Ranking: 1)
The Orange proved they were human in a loss at Notre Dame but bounced back with a tough win at Cincy.  Cuse obviously misses Fab Melo’s presence in the middle and it looks like the big man could be out a while as he reportedly deals with academic issues.  They will need freshman Rakeem Christmas to step up in Melo’s absence.

Up Next: vs. West Virginia (Sat)

2. Georgetown: 16-3, 6-2 (LWR: 2)
The Hoyas got a pair of late free throws to avoid being upset by Rutgers.  Georgetown shot just 29% from the field in that game which is very unlike this Hoya team that on average shoots 47%.  The one positive for JT3 is that when his team is struggling to score the basketball, they can still win games due to their defensive effort.

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

3. Marquette: 16-4, 6-2 (LWR: 4)
Since dropping back-to-back games at Georgetown and Syracuse, the Golden Eagles have rattled off five straight wins.  As a Marquette fan, it is nice to see them winning games they should win; something that was a major issue last season.  Jamil Wilson is starting to come into his own and getting Davante Gardner involved and engaged early in games is crucial for MU going forward.

Up Next: at Villanova (Sat), vs. Seton Hall (Tues)

4. Cincinnati: 15-6, 5-3 (LWR: 2)
The Bearcats suffered a pair of defeats in the past week, losing in overtime at West Virginia and then getting beat on their home court by Syracuse.  Cincy’s schedule is very friendly for the remainder of the season so Mick Cronin’s team should be able to bounce back.

Up Next: at Rutgers (Sat)

5. West Virginia: 15-6, 5-3 (LWR: 5)
When their two-man show of Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant have little to no supporting cast on any given night, we saw what happens as the Mountaineers lost by 16 at St. John’s.  Jones and Bryant scored 42 of their 62 points as the other Mountaineers combined to shoot 9-31 from the floor, 2-14 from three, and didn’t make a single free throw.

Up Next: at Syracuse (Sat), vs. Pitt (Mon)

6. UConn: 14-5, 4-3 (LWR: 6)
Forget about West Virginia’s two-trick pony, in UConn’s loss at Tennessee this past week, Jeremy Lamb and Shabazz Napier combined to score 41 of the Huskies’ 57 points.  They got zero scoring from their bench and it doesn’t help that Andre Drummond remains an enigma more times than not and Ryan Boatright’s issue with NCAA remains unresolved.

Up Next: vs. Notre Dame (Sun), at Georgetown (Wed)

7. Notre Dame: 13-8, 5-3 (LWR: 9)
The Irish really belong in the Big Ten with that burn offense.  DVR’ing through one of their games is rather easy because every time they are on offense, I can fast forward until there is ten seconds left on the shot clock.  That has been working for Mike Brey’s team and as we all saw against Syracuse, when Notre Dame can control the tempo, they can beat anybody.

Up Next: at UConn (Sun)

8. Louisville: 16-5, 4-4 (LWR: 8)
Kyle Kuric returns to the line-up and the Cardinals win back-to-back games.  Coincidence? I think not.

Up Next: at Seton Hall (Sat)

9. Seton Hall: 15-5, 4-4 (LWR: 7)
The Pirates slide continues as they managed to score just 42 points in a loss against Notre Dame.  A couple of weeks ago everybody was asking if this team is for real.  The answer appears to be no as the Hall has some work to do if they want to be dancing for the first time since 2006.

Up Next: vs. Louisville (Sat), at Marquette (Tues)

10. South Florida: 12-9, 5-3 (LWR: 10)
USF looked offensively challenged in their loss to Marquette which explains why they are 307th in the nation in scoring and rely on their defense to win games.

Up Next: vs. Providence (Sun), at Marquette (Tues)

11. Rutgers: 11-10, 3-5 (LWR: 11)
The Jekyll and Hyde-ness of this team continues.  They follow up a two-point loss at Georgetown by losing at the RAC against DePaul.  Go figure.

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

12. Villanova: 10-11, 3-6 (LWR: 12)
Since being held to three points against Syracuse, Maalik Wayns has scored 111 points in his last four games.  JayVaughn Pinkston is starting to throw his big body around inside as well which has to be encouraging for Jay Wright.

Up Next: vs. Marquette (Sat)

13. St. John’s 9-11, 3-6 (LWR: 13)
Talk about breaking a four-game losing skid in style; that’s exactly what the Red Storm did Wednesday night in their 16-point win against West Virginia in which the Johnnies used an all-freshmen starting five.  Moe Harkless is looking more and more like a one-and-done player though.

Up Next: at Duke (Sat), vs. DePaul (Wed)

14. DePaul: 11-9, 2-6 (LWR: 14)
In picking up a win at Rutgers, the Blue Demons secured just their second Big East road victory in the past four seasons.  Baby steps…

Up Next: vs. St. John’s (Wed)

15. Pittsburgh: 12-9, 1-7 (LWR: 16)
Hey, the Panthers picked up their first conference win of the season, beating in Providence in the battle of cellar dwellars.  We saw in that game how much Pitt missed Tray Woodall who finally appears to be healthy.  By the way, ESPN has to be a bit bummed that Pitt has sucked it up this season since they did a gameday there last weekend and the Panthers will make their second “Big Monday” appearance this week.

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

16. Providence: 12-9, 1-7 (LWR: 15)
I am in no way making fun of Ed Cooley, but I was curious about why he has those bald patches of hair on the back of his head and apparently it is from some sort of skin disease.  See, you can learn non-basketball things in these power rankings as well.

Up Next: at South Florida (Sat), vs. Rutgers (Wed)

WEEK 4 (1/20/12)
WEEK 3 (1/13/12)
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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