Big East Basketball Power Rankings (12/26/10)

Kemba Walker UConn
Big East hoops action tips off with a behemoth battle on Big Monday when pre-season conference favorite Pitt hosts one of the surprise teams in the country and their Player of the Year breakout star, Kemba Walker of UConn.  Oh, and so much for this being a down year in the conference as five of the top nine ranked teams in the country call the Big East home.  Here are my Big East college basketball power rankings heading into the start of the season.  Be sure to check back every week for an update.

By: David Kay

1. Pitt: 12-1
I know UConn and Syracuse are unbeaten, but I still think Pitt is the team to beat in the Big East.  Their depth and toughness will be hard to beat and Jamie Dixon’s kids run their stuff as well as any team in the country.  I also think it is a huge plus that there is no superstar on this team as nine players are averaging at least 5.5 points per game.

Up Next: vs. UConn (Mon)

2. UConn: 10-0
Kemba Walker has been the Player of the Year thus far as the Huskies have been one of the biggest surprises in college basketball.  I wonder how this young team will respond in conference play when teams should be able to do a better job of containing Kemba.

Up Next: at Pitt (Mon), vs. South Florida (Fri)

3. Syracuse: 13-0
Jim Boeheim has the Orange entering Big East play with an unbeaten record but it has not been easy.  ‘Cuse has won five games by six points or less and has looked susceptible on the offensive end when they are not getting out in transition because they are not a great shooting team.  Still, their 2-3 zone is one of toughest defenses to match-up against in the country.  If they are trapping and forcing turnovers, Syracuse can beat anybody.

Up Next: vs. Providence (Tues), vs. Notre Dame (Sat)

austin freeman chris wright

4. Georgetown: 11-1
Their only blemish has been a three-point loss at Temple but the Hoyas already have impressive victories against Old Dominion, Utah State, N.C. State, Missouri, and Memphis.  G-Town has shown they can play fast or slow but their Big East success will come down to the backcourt trio of Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, and Jason Clark who have accounted for almost 57% of their scoring this season.

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

5. Villanova: 10-1
The Wildcats finish up their Philly Big 5 battle against Temple before opening up conference play against Rutgers on January 2nd.  I think their lack of depth is going to be a serious issue in conference play.  Like the Hoyas, their success or lack thereof, will come down to their talented guard play.

Up Next: vs. Temple (Thu), vs. Rutgers (Sun)

6. Notre Dame: 11-1
Here is the perfect example of what experience can do for a team.  The Irish start five seniors and their length, versatility, and ability to shoot the ball has led them to a great start this season.  Depth is a bit of a concern for Mike Brey as he can only comfortably go seven, maybe eight deep, but Notre Dame could actually have a Ewing Theory in play without the Leprechaun F#&%er.

Up Next: vs. Georgetown (Wed), at Syracuse (Sat)

7. West Virginia: 8-2
I am still trying to figure the Mountaineers out and I think Bob Huggins is as well.  Kevin Jones and Deniz Kilcili have not played as well as expected while Casey Mitchell and John Flowers have really been impressive.  We know they will play hard and should be in every contest but I do not think they have what it takes to be an upper echelon Big East team.

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

8. Louisville: 10-1
The Cardinals are another team I still do not have a good grasp on.  They have only played one road game but do have wins against Butler and UNLV.  L-Ville scored 46 points in their lone loss to Drexel but have topped the 100 point mark against Western Kentucky and Chattanooga.  They are still relatively young and inexperienced and I think they could struggle against tougher conference competition which is still a week away as they wrap up non-conference play.

Up Next: vs. Morgan State (Mon), vs. Kentucky (Fri)

9. Marquette: 9-3
MU has beaten who they were supposed to but are still searching for a marquee non-conference win having lost to Duke, Gonzaga, and Wisconsin.  That last opportunity will come Wednesday against Vanderbilt.  One thing is sure; after being one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country last season, the Golden Eagles have really struggled from distance; and that could be a huge obstacle to overcome against bigger, more physical teams since they still lack a true inside presence.

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

10. Cincinnati: 12-0
They are 12-0 and ranked this low?  Yup.  Outside of home wins against Dayton and a down Oklahoma squad, the Bearcats have feasted on a marshmallowy soft schedule.  Mick Cronin has quality depth as he can go ten deep but I think Cincy could be in for a rude awakening once they are facing Big East-caliber clubs but that will not come early on as three of their first four conference games are at home versus DePaul, Seton Hall, and Rutgers.

Up Next: vs. DePaul (Tue), vs. Seton Hall (Sat)

steve lavin st. john's

11. St. John’s: 7-3
Remember when Rick Pitino picked the Johnnies to win the Big East this year?  That was a tad bit aggressive, no?  Steve Lavin has as much as experience on his roster as he does product in his hair, but the Storm look more like a bubble team than one that is ready to compete for a conference crown.

Up Next: at West Virginia (Wed), at Providence (Sat)

12. Seton Hall: 6-6
A wrist injury to super-chucker Jeremy Hazell just three games into the season has put a major damper on the Pirates season thus far.  With Hazell likely out a couple more weeks, it will likely be too little, too late when he does return.

Up Next: vs. South Florida (Tue), at Cincinnati (Fri)

13. Providence: 11-2
Who is the conference’s second-leading scorer?  The Friars’ Marshon Brooks.  Did not see that coming…

Up Next: at Syracuse (Tue), vs. St. John’s (Sat)

14. Rutgers: 9-2
They do have a win against the U but their record is a bit bloated because they have played a bunch of nobodies.  Credit first year head coach Mike Rice though for hitting the recruiting trail hard and getting commitments from some talented players for next year.

Up Next: vs. North Carolina (Tue), at Villanova (Sat)

15. South Florida: 6-7
USF sorely misses do-it-all guard Dominique Jones and it shows in their record.  Offense has been a major issue for the Bulls who are averaging just 61 points per game shooting just 30% from three.  Augustus Gilchrist was supposed to become the guy this season but instead has had what is being described as “philosophical differences” with head coach Stan Heath and actually took a three-game absence from the team.

Up Next: at Seton Hall (Tue), at UConn (Fri)

16. DePaul: 6-6
They have one conference win in the past two seasons (I don’t want to talk about it.)  I am going out on a limb here and say they top that total this year since they host South Florida and Rutgers.

Up Next: at Cincinnati (Tue), at Georgetown (Sat)

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 and former contributor for The Washington Times Communities.  You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.
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  1. thank you for this. combined with
    your nba mock I now know which games I need to prioritze covering for ND and DePaul.

    also go to chicgao now and check out the blog chicago college basketball. that due emailed me and took notice of this piece. I’ll start sharing my big 10 pr with him too. would be good for both of us

  2. Ruben Brache says

    “Remember when Rick Pitino picked the Johnnies to win the Big East this year? That was a tad bit aggressive, no?”


  3. paulmbanks says

    we havent learned anything abt the Johnnies yet. I’d take it a step further and say that maybe we don’t know enough about ND yet. Perhaps all we learned was that GTown is overrated

  4. Hi everyone, it’s my first visit at this web site, and article is actually fruitful in favor oof
    me, keep up posting these types of posts.

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