The biggest news involving Big East basketball this past week was the announcement that Memphis will be joining the conference beginning in the 2013-2014 season. Meanwhile, teams are beginning to separate themselves from the pact and state their claim for the NCAA Tournament. Be sure to check back every Friday for my latest Big East Power Rankings.
1. Syracuse: 24-1 overall, 11-1 in Big East (Last Week Ranking: 1)
I think Kris Joseph answered the question as to who ‘Cuse’s go-to scorer is by dropping a career-high 29 points in an overtime victory against Georgetown. Dion Waiters wanted to be that guy but took two horrible shots at the end of regulation.
Up Next: vs. UConn (Sat), at Louisville (Mon)
2. Notre Dame: 16-8, 8-3 (LWR: 4)
This tweet my buddy Q sent me pretty much sums up my thoughts on Notre Dame, “didn’t think it possible, but ND has passed Wisco in baffling and annoying success.” Yup.
Up Next: vs. DePaul (Sat), vs. Rutgers (Wed)
3. Marquette: 20-5, 9-3 (LWR: 2)
This seems like a future article for me… who deserves first team All-Big East more; Darius Johnson-Odom or Jae Crowder? DJO is second in the conference in scoring while Crowder ranks in the top ten in the league in scoring, rebound, and steals. They both are deserving of being on the first team but I can’t imagine both Golden Eagles earning that honor.
Up Next: vs. Cincinnati (Sat), at DePaul (Mon)
4. Georgetown: 19-5, 8-4 (LWR: 3)
Moe Harkless of St. John’s is likely going to win the Big East Freshman of the Year Award and Providence’s LaDontae Henton is also having a terrific rookie season, but after those two the Hoyas’ Otto Porter has been the next best freshman. His length and ability to rebound the basketball has been vital to G-Town’s success this season.
Up Next: vs. St. John’s (Sun)
5. Louisville: 19-5, 7-4 (LWR: 5)
The Cards have quietly won five in a row and McDonald’s All-American freshman Wayne Blackshear has been cleared to play after missing the entire season thus far due to a torn right labrum. It will likely take a bit for him to get acclimated into the Louisville offense but he could provide a major boost for them in March if he is up to speed.
Up Next: at West Virginia (Sat), vs. Syracuse (Mon)
6. Cincinnati: 16-8, 7-4 (LWR: 7)
Since I have nothing constructive to say about Cincy, I’ll use this space to talk about Memphis joining the Big East in 2013-2014. I think it’s huge for the league as it gives them another marquee program to help replace what the conference is losing in three big-time programs; ‘Cuse, Pitt, and West Virginia. Plus, it renews some of the better rivalries from the old Conference USA with Memphis, Louisville, Cincy, and Marquette all now part of the Big East.
Up Next: at Marquette (Sat), vs. Providence (Wed)
7. West Virginia: 16-9, 6-6 (LWR: 6)
Truck Bryant came up huge in an overtime win against Providence, dropping 32 points including the game-winner with one second left. Just three days later, he is held scoreless in a four-point loss to Notre Dame. Translation; contain Bryant and West Virginia is very beatable.
Up Next: vs. Louisville (Sat), at Pittsburgh (Thur)
8. South Florida: 14-10, 7-4 (LWR: 8)
After getting smoked at Georgetown by 30, USF bounced back with a win against Pitt. I ask the question; at what point am I going to have to start considering the Bulls an NCAA Tournament team? If they finish above five-hundred in conference, they have to at least in the discussion, right?
Up Next: at Providence (Sat), vs. Villanova (Wed)
9. UConn: 15-8, 5-6 (LWR: 9)
Jim Calhoun is on a leave of absence and apparently so too are the Huskies. UConn is playing with zero passion or heart and seem to be the classic example of a heck of a lot of talent being unable to play together. The major shooting funks for Jeremy Lamb (10-37 FG in last three games) and Shabazz Napier (4-33 FG in last four games) certainly isn’t helping their cause.
Up Next: at Syracuse (Sat), vs. DePaul (Wed)
10. Pittsburgh: 15-10, 4-8 (LWR: 10)
If the Panthers were going to shock the basketball world by starting 0-7 in conference and bouncing back to make the NCAA Tournament, they needed a win at USF. However, Ashton Gibbs was held to a season-low four points in a 12-point loss and now those pipedreams of dancing take a major hit.
Up Next: at Seton Hall (Sun), vs. West Virginia (Thur)
11. Seton Hall: 16-8, 5-7 (LWR: 11)
Do me a favor, if you haven’t seen the semi-scuffle between the Hall and Rutgers on Wednesday night, watch the video. Look at Herb Pope act like he has been shot when he gets a tiny shove from Eli Carter. Every soccer player in the world is proud of that flopping effort.
Up Next: vs. Pittsburgh (Sun), vs. St. John’s (Tues)
12. St. John’s 10-14, 4-8 (LWR: 12)
Another one bites the dust for the Red Storm as junior guard Malik Stith has left the program for personal reasons. That means St. John’s is back to six scholarship players. To add salt to the wound, former 2012 commit Ricardo Gathers who was still considering coming to St. John’s, chose to play his college ball at Baylor.
Up Next: at Georgetown (Sun), at Seton Hall (Tues)
13. Rutgers: 12-13, 4-8 (LWR: 13)
Seriously, look at Pope flop again… I can’t stop laughing every time I see it. I wish I could find a link on youtube for you guys. It’s so great.
Up Next: at Notre Dame (Wed)
14. Villanova: 11-13, 4-8 (LWR: 14)
Even though it came against Providence, kudos to the ‘Cats for winning that game despite losing Maalik Wayns to a sprained MCL. Wayns is day-to-day but Nova needs him to be in the line-up to stay competitive with a fairly difficult final stretch of their schedule coming up.
Up Next: at South Florida (Wed)
15. Providence: 13-12, 2-10 (LWR: 15)
Here is my bold statement of the day; The Friars will be competing for a NCAA Tournament berth at this time next season. Everyone returns for 2012-13 and they bring in two top 30 recruits along with Arizona transfer Sidiki Johnson. The future is bright for Ed Cooley.
Up Next: vs. South Florida (Sat), at Cincinnati (Wed)
16. DePaul: 11-12, 2-9 (LWR: 16)
The Blue Demons’ Moses Morgan is lucky he didn’t break his neck Monday night against Marquette when he flipped over Darius Johnson-Odom and landed on his head/neck. Serious question: Does any power six conference school have a worse home-court advantage than DePaul?
Up Next: at Notre Dame (Sat), at UConn (Wed)
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.