2011-2012 Big East basketball power rankings (2/17/12)

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The biggest news involving Big East basketball this past week; Buh-bye West Virginia.  This will in fact be the Mountaineers final year as a member of the conference as they head to the Big 12.  Meanwhile, several teams have their NCAA Tournament hopes on life support and need to finish the season strong to ensure a spot in the dance.  Be sure to check back every Friday for my latest Big East Power Rankings.

1. Syracuse: 26-1 overall, 13-1 in Big East (Last Week Ranking: 1)
‘Cuse ran away from UConn late and squeaked by with a road win at Louisville to maintain their control of the top spot in the conference.  The Orange has proven this year that they can rely on their defense to grind out victories; something that should come in handy in the NCAA Tournament if they have an off-night shooting the rock.

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

2. Notre Dame: 18-8, 10-3 (LWR: 2)
Mike Brey’s Coach of the Year candidacy is all but wrapped up with the Irish now on a seven-game win streak.  Where did Jack Cooley come from?  He has developed from a physical, energy role player to someone who has posted 21 points, 12 rebounds, 22 and 14, 22 and 18 in his last three games.  The crazy part… you probably haven’t heard this, but he looks just like Luke Harandgody.  OMG.  (roll my eyes)

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

3. Marquette: 21-5, 10-3 (LWR: 3)
With West Virginia sliding and in risk of not making the NCAA Tournament, the door is opening for someone other than Kevin Jones to win Big East Player of the Year.  There is still room on the Darius Johnson-Odom bandwagon and we will happily accept all those willing to join.

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

4. Georgetown: 19-5, 9-4 (LWR: 4)
If the Hoyas can get the Nate Lubick (7 pts, 8 reb, 5 asts, 4 blks) and Greg Whittington (12 pts off the bench) who showed up in the St. John’s game to play like that the rest of the season, it adds another dimension of depth to their team that would make them an even tougher out once March rolls around.

Up Next: at Providence (Sat), at Seton Hall (Tues)

5. Louisville: 20-6, 8-5 (LWR: 5)
The Cuse snapped the Cards six-game win streak in what was a very winnable game for Louisville even though Peyton Siva went to the bench for an extended time after picking up a dumb third foul in the first half.  The x-factor for L-Ville down the stretch could be how much freshman Wayne Blackshear is able to give them now that he’s back from injury.  Russ Smith is their only real scoring option off the bench so if Blackshear can provide some offense in a limited role, it makes the Cardinals a more dangerous tournament team.

Up Next: at DePaul (Sat), at Cincinnati (Thur)

6. Cincinnati: 18-8, 8-5 (LWR: 6)
The Bearcats still need to finish strong to ensure a spot in the NCAA Tournament since their RPI currently is in the 90’s, have that bad loss to Presbyterian on their resume, and really don’t have a signature out of conference win.  Simply being above five-hundred might not be enough, but finishing with an 11-7 or 12-6 Big East record would help make-up some of those negatives.

Up Next: vs. Seton Hall (Sat), vs. Louisville (Thur)

7. South Florida: 16-10, 9-4 (LWR: 8)
Fun fact: USF has only played three games against teams ranked higher than them on this list and lost all three.  Give them credit for beating who they are supposed to beat, but despite a 9-4 conference mark, they still aren’t truly in the NCAA Tournament picture.  Remember that they have brutal losses to Penn State and Auburn on their resume and their best out of conference win came against Cleveland State.

Up Next: at Pitt (Sun), at Syracuse (Wed)

8. West Virginia: 16-10, 6-7 (LWR: 7)
Now that WVU has settled their lawsuit with the Big East and will be leaving after this season, nothing would make me happier to see them miss the NCAA Tournament.  Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!

Up Next: at Notre Dame (Thur)

9. UConn: 16-9, 6-7 (LWR: 9)
Let’s see if their 26-point thumping of DePaul serves as the turning point for the Huskies. Saturday’s game against Marquette might as well be a must-win because UConn can’t afford to go two games under five-hundred with four games left on their schedule.

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

10. Seton Hall: 18-8, 7-7 (LWR: 11)
Three straight wins has the Hall back on track and in position for an invite to the dance.  With an RPI of 31, you would think a .500 conference record would be enough to get the Pirates into the tourney.  Two tough games are on the slate this week but Seton Hall ends their regular season with winnable games versus Rutgers and at DePaul.

Up Next: at Cincinnati (Sat), vs. Georgetown (Tues)

11. Pittsburgh: 15-11, 4-9 (LWR: 10)
The slim, slim, slim at large chance the Panthers had went out the window in their less than spirited loss to West Virginia.

Up Next: vs. South Florida (Sun)

12. Rutgers: 12-14, 4-9 (LWR: 13)
My weekly glass half-full approach: With everybody back for next season and the addition of Kansas State transfer Wally Judge, the Scarlet Knights could be a middle of the pack Big East team next season and actually compete for a spot in the tourney.

Up Next: vs. Syracuse (Sun), at Marquette (Wed)

13. Villanova: 11-14, 4-9 (LWR: 14)
Maalik Wayns is out with a sprained MCL.  They could very well not win another game this season if Wayns remains sidelined.

Up Next: vs. Notre Dame (Sat), vs. UConn (Mon)

14. St. John’s 10-16, 4-10 (LWR: 12)
Leave it to ESPN.com to come up with this BRILLIANT article, “The new-look Red Storm.”  The one sentence description: “This year’s Red Storm roster doesn’t resemble last year’s at all.”  Haha, leave it to the World Wide Leader for this earth-shattering, breaking news headline.  Welcome to the party.

Up Next: vs. UCLA (Sat), vs. DePaul (Mon)

15. Providence: 13-14, 2-12 (LWR: 15)
According to ESPN.com; a list of finalists for Friar freshman LaDontae Henton coming out of high school; Providence, Penn State, Utah, Cleveland State, and Duquesne.  How did everybody miss the boat on this kid?  He’s playing 37 minutes a night, averaging almost 14 points and 8.5 boards, and shooting 41% from distance.

Up Next: vs. Georgetown (Sat)

16. DePaul: 11-14, 2-11 (LWR: 16)
The Blue Demons aren’t very good.  That’s all I got.

Up Next: vs. Louisville (Sat), at St. John’s (Mon)

PAST BIG EAST POWER RANKINGS:
WEEK 7 (2/10/12)
WEEK 6 (2/3/12)
WEEK 5 (1/27/12)
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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Comments

  1. Great win by WVU last night over pitt. Need a few more and we’re looking at another NCAA bid. Would love to go out winning the BIG EAST tournament again and we’ll see (long shot). I LOVE BIG EAST basketball and will miss you guys – on the football side – see ya…….

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