Pitt suffered their first conference loss this season but do they drop out of the top spot in my latest Big East Power Rankings? How far does Syracuse fall after losing three straight games including an embarrassing 22-point home loss to Seton Hall. So many questions; only one way to find out the answers.
By: David Kay
1. Pitt: 19-2, 7-1 (Last Week Ranking: 1)
Despite losing at home to Notre Dame on Monday, the Panthers are still the best team in the conference. They had an off night which every team will suffer during a season and should be able to bounce back without fearing a snowball effect.
Up Next: at Rutgers (Sat)
2. Villanova: 17-2, 5-1 (LWR: 4)
The ‘Cats shot lights out in the first half of a huge road victory at Syracuse. Maalik Wayns led the way with 21 points and if he can show that type of consistency with his outside shot, it makes Villanova an even more dangerous team. This year’s ‘Nova team is also a much better defensive team than in year’s past which helps their cause.
Up Next: at Providence (Wed), vs. Georgetown (Sat)
3. UConn: 17-2, 5-2 (LWR: 4)
The past couple of weeks, I have been saying that the Huskies need to find a better supporting cast for Kemba Walker. Mission accomplished. Freshmen Jeremy Lamb, Roscoe Smith, and Shabazz Napier have stepped up their game taking some of the pressure off Walker.
4. Notre Dame: 17-4, 6-3 (LWR: 9)
The Irish have bounced back nicely with three straight wins including a shocking win at Pitt. Carleton Scott’s return helps but Ben Hansbrough has been outstanding for the Irish this season. If it wasn’t for Kemba Walker, he would be in the thick of Big East Player of the Year conversations.
Up Next: at DePaul (Thu), vs. Rutgers (Sun)
5. Syracuse: 18-3, 5-3 (LWR: 2)
Every team faces adversity and that is exactly what the Orange are going through right now. Losing to Pitt and Villanova is understandable, but getting blown out by 22 against Seton Hall at the Carrier Dome might be one of the worst home losses during the Jim Boeheim regime.
Up Next: at Marquette (Sat)
6. West Virginia: 13-5, 4-2 (LWR: 6)
Dan Jennings walked off the bench during the game against South Florida. That actually happened. After the game, Bob Huggins called Jennings a “non-entity.” To quote Ricky Bobby, “that just happened.” Add to it the indefinite suspension to the team’s leading scorer Casey Mitchell for violating team rules and the Mountaineers are down to eight scholarship players and now face their own adversity.
Up Next: at Louisville (Wed), at Cincinnati (Sat)
7. Louisville: 15-4, 4-2 (LWR: 5)
The Cards followed up a 25-point home win by losing at a winless Providence team. I have felt like this team has been over-achieving for most of the season and we will get a true test of how good they are as they face a tough three-game stretch.
Up Next: vs. West Virginia (Wed), at UConn (Sat)
8. Georgetown: 14-5, 3-4 (LWR: 11)
G-Town’s three conference wins have come against teams with a combined 6-17 record in Big East play. Their four losses have come against teams with a combined 21-10 conference mark. Eventually the Hoyas will need to win a game against a legit Big East team.
Up Next: vs. St. John’s (Wed), at Villanova (Sat)
9. Cincinnati: 17-3, 4-3 (LWR: 10)
After dropping three of four games, the Bearcats squeaked out a two-point win at St. John’s that could go a long way come tourney time. Cincy may not have a lot of explosive players on offense but their ability to D’ it up has won them several games this season.
Up Next: at Rutgers (Wed), vs. West Virginia (Sat)
10. Marquette: 13-8, 4-4 (LWR: 7)
Buzz Williams needs to recruit Mariano Rivera because this team cannot close a game to save their lives. They blew second half leads against Notre Dame and UConn, and have Syracuse at home and then three straight road games. Can you say, NIT? (The picture below is meant to cheer all the Marquette fans up. It works for me.)
Up Next: vs. Syracuse (Sat)
11. St. John’s: 11-7, 4-4 (LWR: 8)
I cannot figure this team out for the life of me. At times, they look so impressive but then next game absolutely lay an egg. I would not be surprised if they lose at Georgetown by 25 then beat Duke this week.
Up Next: at Georgetown (Wed), vs. Duke (Sun)
12. Seton Hall: 9-12, 3-6 (LWR: 12)
More proof that college basketball is a total crap shoot; the Hall loses at home to Rutgers then takes it to Syracuse on the road. I guess that is what happens when Jeremy Hazell is firing at will.
Up Next: vs. Providence (Sun)
13. Rutgers: 12-7, 3-4 (LWR: 13)
The Scarlet Knights have put together back-to-back wins thanks to a victory against Seton Hall in a New Jersey bragging rights game. This team has already over-achieved this season and it will be interesting to see what Mike Rice can do once he gets some real talent on his roster.
Up Next: at Cincinnati (Wed), vs. Pitt (Sat)
14. Providence: 12-8, 1-6 (LWR: 15)
The Friars are 9-1 when they hold opposing teams to less than 75 points this season including a surprising 72-67 win against Louisville. See what happens when you actually play some defense…
Up Next: vs. Villanova (Wed), at Seton Hall (Sun)
15. South Florida: 7-14, 1-7 (LWR: 14)
Do you think Stan Heath has already started packing up his desk or is he just sending out e-mails in the office asking for boxes to borrow?
Up Next: vs. DePaul (Thu)
16. DePaul: 6-13, 0-7 (LWR: 16)
DePaul’s marketing motto this season is “New Era, Same Tradition.” Yup, new head coach Oliver Purnell has led the same tradition of owning the cellar of the Big East standings. (Seriously, whoever came up and okay’ed that slogan needs to be fired. The Blue Demons were not even competitive in thirty point losses to Marquette and Pitt in the past week.
Up Next: at South Florida (Thu)
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. You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.