Big East Basketball Power Rankings (1/3/11)


Cincinnati Bearcats cheerleaders

Cincinnati is still unbeaten.  West Virginia is really struggling.  UConn needs someone else to step up besides Kemba WalkerTCU is coming to water down the conference.   We learned a lot in the first week of Big East play so here are my updated power rankings.  Be sure to check back every Monday for an update.

By: David Kay

1. Pitt: 13-1, 1-0 (Last Week Ranking: 1)
The Panthers proved they are still the team to beat in the conference with a convincing win against UConn.  Their balance and depth is rather impressive.  A fun, amazing statistic; Pitt is 8-0 at the Zoo against teams ranked in the top five.

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

2. Syracuse: 15-0, 2-0 (LWR: 3)
Kris Joseph is starting to emerge into the team’s leading scorer like many expected he would with Wesley Johnson gone.  James Southerland has really impressed me the past couple of games as his role is growing.  His length and ability to shoot the ball should continue to get him more minutes.  If you are curious, Cuse visits Pitt, in two weeks on Big Monday.

Up Next: at Seton Hall (Sat)

3. Villanova: 12-1, 1-0 (LWR: 5)
If Corey Stokes is knocking down shots, the Cats can hang with anybody.  If not, they are very beatable.  Gutsy win against Temple last week helps their ranking even though it was out of conference.

Up Next: at South Florida (Thu), vs. Cincinnati (Sun)

jack cooley notre dame

4. Notre Dame: 12-2, 1-1 (LWR: 6)
Do you think Irish post player Jack Cooley is sick of hearing that he looks like Luke Harangody and curses the heavens every time somebody mentions it?  I would.  After hosting UConn, the Irish’s toughest stretch of Big East play ends.

Up Next: vs. UConn (Tues), St. John’s (Sat)

5. UConn: 11-1, 1-1 (LWR: 2)
A 15-point loss at Pitt and overtime victory against South Florida showed the weakness of this Huskies team.  They need someone other than Kemba Walker to step up and help take the load off their junior point guard.  As talented as he is, he cannot carry UConn to victories in Big East play all by himself.  This problem better be answered soon with a pair of tough road games on the horizon.

Up Next: at Notre Dame (Tues), at Texas (Sat)

6. Georgetown: 12-2, 1-1 (LWR: 4)
The Hoyas showed how guard reliant they are in a loss at Notre Dame where Chris Wright and Jason Clark combined to go 4-18 from the field.  Somebody in their frontcourt needs to become a consistent threat on night when one of their backcourt players is not scoring the basketball.

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

7. Louisville: 11-2, 0-0 (LWR: 8)
The Cardinals were exposed at home by in-state rival Kentucky this weekend and finally begin Big East play with two winnable games.  I am still not sold on this team especially since sophomore forward Rakeem Buckles could miss about six weeks with a broken finger.

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

8. Marquette: 10-4, 1-0 (LWR: 9)
After suffering a heart-breaking loss at Vandy, the Golden Eagles picked up a must-win conference opener against West Virginia.  They will need to finish above five-hundred in conference, pick up a couple of wins against top-tier teams, and probably win at least one game in the Big East tournament if they want to be dancing.  Believe this though, MU can compete with any team in this league.

Up Next: at Rutgers (Wed), at Pitt (Sat)

9. St. John’s: 9-3, 2-0 (LWR: 11)
I have a feeling this will be a very Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde team this season.  Winning at West Virginia in their conference opener was a bit of an eye-opener, but then they almost lost at Providence.  Let’s see how they react with a pair of tough games this week.

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

10. Cincinnati: 14-0, 2-0 (LWR: 10)
If Cincy beats Xavier Thursday and wins at Nova Sunday, I will believe this team is legit.  Wins against DePaul and Seton Hall do not have me sold.

Up Next: vs. DePaul (Tue), at Villanova (Sun)

11. West Virginia: 8-4, 0-2 (LWR: 7)
Losing at Marquette is understandable but getting beat at home by ten to St. John’s cannot happen for this team.  They lack the versatility and athleticism they had the past couple of years and really miss De’Sean Butler’s leadership.

Up Next: at DePaul (Tues), at Georgetown (Sat)

herb pope seton hall

12. Seton Hall: 7-7, 1-1 (LWR: 12)
I know Herb Pope almost died this past off-season due to a heart condition, but his effectiveness has really diminished this season.  He averaged 11.5 points and 10.7 boards last season but is down to 8.6 and 8.4 so far during his junior year.  His playing time is down about six minutes per contest so I am assuming Kevin Willard is just lightening his load a bit?  But without Jeremy Hazell, he needs to play a bigger role for the Pirates to stay competitive.

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

13. Providence: 11-4, 0-2 (LWR: 13)
The Friars were scrappy in losses to Syracuse and St. John’s last week.  Part of the reason is their much improved defensive effort.  After allowing 90 or more points a staggering eleven times last season, the Friars are actually D’ing it up some having yet to allow an opponent to top that mark this season.

Up Next: vs. Pitt (Tues), at Rutgers (Sat)

14. Rutgers: 9-4, 0-1 (LWR: 14)
They actually led at Nova at the half but were outscored by twenty points the rest of the way.  I will set their over/under at 3.5 conference wins.

Up Next: vs. Marquette (Wed), vs. Providence (Sat)

15. South Florida: 6-9, 0-2 (LWR: 15)
USF surprisingly took UConn to overtime but has still lost four in a row.  It will not get any easier this week.

Up Next: vs. Villanova (Thur), vs. Louisville (Sun)

16. DePaul: 6-8, 0-2 (LWR: 16)
Since I am always bashing the Blue Demons (understandably so), how about some positive news.  6-8 freshman Cleveland Melvin has now posted career-highs in his last three games; scoring 23, 24, and 29 points.  He could actually be a nice, young building block for Oliver Purnell.

Up Next: vs. West Virginia (Tues)

Big East Power Rankings Archive:
December 26, 2010

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. Anthony Marino says

    In your post about St. John’s, you state that they almost lost at home to Providence. The Providence win was on the road at Providence. Johnnies are only team with a road win in conference so far.

  2. paulmbanks says

    Who knew ND would be looking like the best team of the three I cover once we hit January. Maybe the Illini can close the gap.

    I DVRed the Cuse game. It seems like the Irish just fell apart around the 11 min mark, despite hanging with him for the first 30

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