Big East Basketball Power Rankings (2/1/11)

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Have you seen the Big East standings lately?  It is messier than .  After 8-1 Pitt, nine teams have between two and four losses and that does not include a St. John’s team that just beat Duke by 15.  No wonder why you keep hearing about 11 Big East teams having a chance to make the NCAA Tournament.  Here are my latest Big East Power Rankings.

By: David Kay

1. Pitt: 20-2 overall, 8-1 in BE (Last Week Ranking: 1)
The Panthers were almost out-Pitted by Rutgers Saturday night but survived an enormous scare.  They have not the shot ball well in their past two games which includes a loss to Notre Dame.  That is how the ball bounces sometimes so I would not be too worried if I were a Panther fan.

Up Next: at Cincinnati (Sat)

2. UConn: 17-3, 5-3 (LWR: 3)
Jeremy Lamb had his coming out party this week scoring 24 versus Marquette and 21 against Louisville.  Shabazz Napier has been solid all season, now if they can only get some consistent production from Alex Oriahki and Roscoe Smith, UConn would actually have a true supporting cast for Kemba Walker.

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

3. Notre Dame: 17-4, 6-3 (LWR: 4)
Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports had the Irish as his fifth ranked team in the country… not Big East, COUNTRY.  Aggressive.  ND visit DePaul after a rare ten days off that should have then well rested.

Up Next: at DePaul (Thu), vs. Rutgers (Sun)

4. Villanova: 17-4, 5-3 (LWR: 2)
Another Nova swoon?  The ‘Cats have lost three of this last four which is beginning to become reminiscent of last season when Jay Wright’s squad dropped six of their last ten heading into the NCAA Tournament.  Corey Stokes finding his three point shot would be helpful as he is 9-36 from distance in his last five games.

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

5. Georgetown: 17-5, 6-4 (LWR: 8)
The Hoyas have quietly won five straight after starting Big East play 1-4.  Is Austin Freeman the clubhouse leader for Big East Player of the Year Not Named Kemba Walker?  I would give him the nod over Providence’s Marshon Brooks due to team success.

Up Next: vs. Providence (Sat)

6. Louisville: 17-5, 5-3 (LWR: 7)
I thought their loss to Providence would be the beginning of their slide but I was wrong.  The Cards gutted out wins against West Virginia and UConn last week and then nearly won at G-Town.  It is even more impressive that Louisville is doing this without injured forwards Rakeem Buckles and Jared Swopshire.

Up Next: vs. DePaul (Sat)

7. Syracuse: 18-4, 5-4 (LWR: 5)
After becoming the first top ten team in almost a decade to lose four straight, Jim Boeheim is searching for answers and finding none.  ‘Cuse’s usual daunting 2-3 zone has been too easily penetrated lately.  How else do you explain them shooting 57% from the field against Marquette and still losing by six?

Up Next: at UConn (Wed), at South Florida (Sat)

8. Marquette: 14-8, 5-4 (LWR: 10)
Since they are my team, I tend to overreact about the Golden Eagles far too often.  With that being said, they needed to beat Syracuse to help their NCAA Tournament hopes.  Their schedule eases up a bit down the stretch so

Up Next: at Villanova (Wed)

9. West Virginia: 14-6, 5-3 (LWR: 6)
Andre 3000 look-alike John Flowers has been a huge x-factor for the Mountaineers this season and will need to continue to come up big with Casey Mitchell still suspended.  Flowers has been erratic with his production though and needs to find some consistency for WVU to stay in the conference race.

Up Next: vs. Seton Hall (Wed), at Villanova (Sat)

10. St. John’s: 12-8, 4-5 (LWR: 11)
Here is what I wrote last week about the Johnnies: “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.” (Click here for proof if you don’t believe me.)

What happens?  The Red Storm lose to the Hoyas by 25 and then beat Duke by 15.  Am I a genius?  Maybe…But seriously, that Duke win is huge for them come Selection Sunday especially if they finish around the .500 mark in conference play.

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

11. Cincinnati: 18-4, 5-4 (LWR: 7)
Not-so-ballsy, ballsy prediction; Cincy finishes below .500 in the Big East and misses out on the NCAA Tournament despite winning their first fifteen games of the season.

Up Next: at Pitt (Sat)

12. Seton Hall: 10-12, 4-6 (LWR: 12)
Is there a streakier shooter in the country than Jeremy Hazell?  Check out his last three stat lines: 6-21 FG, 2-11 3PT in loss to Rutgers; 10-17 FG, 5-10 3PT in win at Syracuse; 3-12 FG, 0-7 3PT in win against Providence.

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

13. Rutgers: 12-9, 3-6 (LWR: 13)
They nearly pulled off the stunning upset of Pitt Saturday night but fell just short.  I will say this for about a third straight week; Mike Rice knows how to get the most of his guys and if I am a Scarlet Knights’ fan, I am very excited about the future once Rice brings in some more talent.

Up Next: at St. John’s (Wed), at Notre Dame (Sun)

14. Providence: 13-9, 2-7 (LWR: 14)
Kudos to the Friars for picking up back-to-back wins against Louisville and Villanova.  Marshon Brooks has to be the favorite for conference’s most improved player, right?  He is legitimately working himself into a bubble first rounder in the 2011 NBA Draft.

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

15. South Florida: 8-14, 2-7 (LWR: 15)
Even though they beat DePaul by 11 this past week, I bet you could still find Stan Heath’s resume on Monster.com.

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

16. DePaul: 6-14, 0-8 (LWR: 16)
The Blue Demons are a USF and Providence win away from clinching the last place spot on my Power Rankings.  DePaul is shooting 27% from three this year which is second worst of the 346 Division One college basketball teams.  For those wondering, Alabama State holds the distinction of the worst, hitting just 24.7% of their triples.

Up Next: vs. Notre Dame (Thu), at Louisville (Sat)

BIG EAST POWER RANKINGS ARCHIVE:
January 26, 2011
January 18, 2011
January, 11, 2011
January 3, 2011
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 Football.com and  is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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