Big East Basketball Power Rankings (2/21/11)


st. john's basketball

The Big East remains a crazy, wild, unpredictable basketball conference.  The top three teams all lost this past week and DePaul actually won a league game.  No, seriously.  Here are my updated Big East Power Rankings and be sure to check out my latest bracketology to see how many conference teams I have making the NCAA Tournament.

By: David Kay

1. Pitt: 24-3 overall, 12-2 in Big East (Last Week Ranking: 1)
The Panthers took a tough bump at St. John’s this weekend on a last second basket but are still on track to outright win the Big East regular season title and as a result, earning the top seed in the conference tournament.  Getting Ashton Gibbs back will certainly help even though he scored 26 points in his first game back and Pitt still lost to the Red Storm.

Up Next: vs. West Virginia (Thu), at Louisville (Sun)

2. Notre Dame: 21-5, 10-4 (LWR: 2)
Apparently a week off served as a deterrent for Mike Brey’s team who was worked over by West Virginia in the second half of their game on Saturday.  They should bounce back with no problem this week before ending their regular season with games against Villanova and Georgetown.

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

3. Georgetown: 21-6, 10-5 (LWR: 3)
The Hoyas had their eight game win streak snapped at UConn last week and then was nearly upset by South Florida.  Austin Freeman struggled with his shot during those two games but Chris Wright has really elevated his play after a lackluster first couple months of the season.  Wright is averaging almost 22 points in his last three games and has 12 of 21 triple tries during that stretch.

Up Next: vs. Cincinnati (Wed), vs. Syracuse (Sat)

4. Villanova: 21-6, 9-5 (LWR: 4)
Nova gutted out a pair of wins against Seton Hall and DePaul this week without sharpshooter Corey Stokes who remains out with turf toe.  I am not sure how a basketball player gets turf toe.  Shouldn’t it be called “wood toe” or “hardwood toe”?

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

steve lavin st. john's

5. St. John’s: 17-9, 9-5 (LWR: 8)
I cannot wait to figure out if I am going to have the Johnnies making a run to the Final Four in my brackets or losing in the first round because I really think it is going to be one of the other.  Their win against Pitt Saturday marked the fifth top-13 team the Red Storm have beat at Madison Square Garden.

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

6. Louisville: 20-7, 9-5 (LWR: 5)
Since I have been asked, I am not a Louisville hater.  (Okay, maybe I am just a little bit because as a Marquette grad I still have nightmares of Reece Gaines hitting a game-winning three-pointer to beat us back in 2003.)  In all seriousness though, I just didn’t think this team had the star power to compete in the Big East.  However, they have been getting it done with different guys stepping up every night and steady play from their backcourt of Peyton Siva and Preston Knowles.

Up Next: at Cincinnati (Wed), vs. UConn (Fri)

7. Syracuse: 22-6, 9-6 (LWR: 7)
With a pair of tough road games this week, the Orange could end up finishing 10-8 in conference play.  After starting the season 18-0, I don’t think anybody saw this coming.  I have a strange feeling that they have first round exit written all over them come tourney time.

Up Next: at Villanova (Mon), at Georgetown (Sat)

8. UConn: 20-6, 8-6 (LWR: 6)
The Bad: The Huskies have lost four of their last seven and have a tough final four games to end their season.  The Good: Jamal Coombs-McDaniel has scored 19 more points in his last three Big East games than he did in his first 11.

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

9. West Virginia: 17-9, 8-6 (LWR: 9)
After struggling for the past month, Truck Bryant broke out in a big way scoring 24 points in the Mountaineers’ win against Notre Dame on Saturday.  That was a much-needed victory as a loss would have dropped them to 7-7 in conference in play and suddenly put them on the bubble.

Up Next: at Pitt (Thu), at Rutgers (Sun)

10. Cincinnati: 21-6, 8-6 (LWR: 11)
Last week I said, “Hello, NIT!”  I may have jumped the gun just a bit as Cincy picked up a pair of crucial wins last week.  They are far from safe though with a home and home against Georgetown, and match-ups with UConn and Marquette to wrap up their regular season.

Up Next: at Georgetown (Wed), vs. UConn (Sun)

11. Marquette: 16-11, 7-7 (LWR: 10)
I was legit pissed off by their pathetic second half effort against St. John’s Tuesday night to the point where I didn’t go to bed until 4:30 am that night.  Beating Seton Hall was a must and now (as I laid out in-depth in this article) the Golden Eagles need to win three of their final four to feel safe about an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Up Next: at UConn (Thu), vs. Providence (Sun)

12. Seton Hall: 5-10, 11-16 (LWR: 12)
Since Kevin Willard dismissed Keon Lawrence and Jamel Jackson, depth has become a serious concern for the Pirates.

Up Next: at Notre Dame (Sat)

13. Rutgers: 13-13, 4-10 (LWR: 13)
Another hard fought effort came up short for Mike Rice’s team as they lost in overtime at Syracuse this past weekend.  The Scarlet Knights have now lost six of their last seven but I still maintain that the future is very bright under Rice’s leadership.

Up Next: vs. Louisville (Tue), vs. West Virginia (Sun)

jersey shore cast

14. Providence: 14-13, 3-11 (LWR: 14)
They lost at home to DePaul.  That is more embarrassing than anything any Jersey Shore cast member has ever done on national television.  Could Keno Davis get the boot even though this is just his third year at Providence?

Up Next: vs. Notre Dame (Thu), at Marquette (Sun)

15. South Florida: 8-20, 2-13 (LWR: 15)
If USF loses at DePaul Saturday, Stan Heath should just assume he is fired and not show up for work Sunday.

Up Next: at DePaul (Sat)

16. DePaul: 7-19, 1-13 (LWR: 16)
Isn’t amazing what actually winning a game can do for a team’s confidence?  The Blue Demons win at Providence and then almost beat Villanova if it wasn’t for a Corey Fisher ridiculous three-pointer to force overtime.  This team is still god awful but they had to have celebrated like the Cavs did after they snapped their 26-game losing streak.

Up Next: at St. John’s (Wed), vs. South Florida (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. Some Lavin love! I’m liking that. they are legit. it’s not about getting for them now, it’s about what seed they get. But I do agree that they’re either Final Four or 1st roudn out

  2. Doug Gottlieb said that Notre Dame was exposed as kind of a fraud on Saturday, that WVU provided a blue-print as to how to beat them. He brought up the burn offense and likened them to a running team in football, once they get behind they’re done and can’t catch up.

    I totally disagree. Not that I think ND is overrated at 2nd in the BE. that’s legit, and they deserve a #2 or #3 in the tourney. But they’re not all about the burn, they only play that style when ahead or greatly over-matched athletically (like vs. Pitt) against UL and many others they’ll play a faster tempo and they’re such a 3-ball heavy team they can come back on anybody.

    your thoughts?? I’m not sure they’ll survive past the sweet 16, but I’d like to hear where you have ND going this year.

  3. Irish erased a nine-point second half deficit against Marquette this season in South Bend so I can’t buy Gottlieb’s argument on that one… If Hansbrough has an off night, they are very beatable… will come down to their match-up… that’s what the NCAA Tournament is all about… match-ups and who gets the hot hand…

  4. I like Pitt a lot even though the loss to St. Johns made me worry a little bit. I then came to the conclusion that it was just one of those weird weeks. When you talk the best team in the country, it comes down to Ohio State and Pitt for me. One of those teams will play for the national championship in my mind.

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