Big East Basketball Power Rankings (2/28/11)

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The college basketball regular season is coming to an end but there is still plenty of jockeying for position in the Big East standings heading into the conference tournament.  And as it stands, 11 teams figure to make the NCAA Tournament.  Here are my updated Big East Power Rankings.

By: David Kay

1. Pitt: 25-4 overall, 13-3 in Big East (Last Week Ranking: 1)
They have lost two of their last three but there is no need to panic since those defeats have been by one point at St. John’s and a three-point overtime loss at Louisville.  The biggest question is whether or not the Panthers are still a one seed in the NCAA Tournament.  They might need to win the Big East Tournament for that to be a sure thing.

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

2. Notre Dame: 21-5, 10-4 (LWR: 2)
They tightened things up on the defensive end after surrendering 52 points to Marshon Brooks by holding Seton Hall to just 48 points Saturday.  The victory also clinched a double-bye in the Big East Tournament which is important for a team that does not have a whole lot of depth.  Notre Dame has a realistic shot of getting a #2 seed in the tourney.

Up Next: vs. Villanova (Mon), at UConn (Sat)

3. St. John’s: 19-9, 11-5 (LWR: 5)
If I had to pick a team to win the Big East Tournament right now, it would be the Johnnies who have won seven conference games in a row and have two easy games to end the year.  I would also give a real solid case for Steve Lavin as Coach of the Year and Dwight Hardy as Player of the Year.

Up Next: at Seton Hall (Thur), vs. South Florida (Sat)

4. Louisville: 22-7, 11-5 (LWR: 6)
They just keep winning including an overtime game against Pitt in which a male cheerleader was given a technical foul that nearly allowed the Panthers to tie the game.  Could you imagine if that cheerleader had cost them the game… ISH.  Their stretch run will not include sophomore forward Rakeem Buckles who will miss the season with a torn ACL.

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

5. Syracuse: 24-6, 11-6 (LWR: 7)
The Orange have picked up their play winning their last four games.  They need more from Kris Joseph though as they enter the BET.  Joseph has only scored 11 points in ‘Cuse’s last two games.

Up Next: vs. DePaul (Sat)

6. Villanova: 21-8, 9-7 (LWR: 4)
Losing back-to-back games at home?  That is unheard of for Nova in recent history.  Like last year, the Wildcats are ending the season on a slump having lost seven of their last 12.  Add in road games against Notre Dame and Pitt to end the season and Jay Wright has some work to do before the BET.

Up Next: at Notre Dame (Mon), at Pitt (Sat)

7. UConn: 21-7, 9-7 (LWR: 6)
This feels like the perfect opportunity to mention the fact that six teams sit at either 10-7 or 9-7 in conference which means the sixth-eighth seeds in the BET are up-for-grabs.  Of course those seeds get a first round bye while the 9-16 seeds would have to run the gauntlet of winning five games in five days in order to win the BET title.

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

8. West Virginia: 18-10, 9-7 (LWR: 9)
Since losing their first two games of conference play, the Mountaineers have not surrendered more than 71 points in a Big East game.  Shocker that a Bob Huggins coached team is getting it done with defense…

Up Next: vs. UConn (Wed), vs. Louisville (Sat)

9. Cincinnati: 22-7, 9-7 (LWR: 10)
Let’s get hypothetical for a second: If Cincy loses their final two games, are they still in the tourney?

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

10. Marquette: 18-11, 9-7 (LWR: 11)
I still don’t understand how they ended up winning at UConn but it may have clinched their spot in the NCAA Tournament.  I won’t feel completely comfortable about them getting a bid unless of course they win both games this week to end the regular season.

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

chris wright injury

11. Georgetown: 21-8, 10-7 (LWR: 3)
Yup, I dropped the Hoyas eight spots because of Chris Wright’s hand injury.  I know he is expected back before the end of the season, but I will believe it when I see it.  Without him, too much rests on Austin Freeman’s shoulder and another early tourney exit lies ahead.

Up Next: at Cincinnati (Sat)

12. Seton Hall: 11-17, 5-11 (LWR: 12)
Jeremy Hazell is shooting 40% from the field, 30% from three.  The Hall cannot and has not won games when Hazell is not feeling it.

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

13. Rutgers: 13-15, 4-12 (LWR: 13)
Bold predictions time: Rutgers wins their final two games of the year… even though they are both on the road.

Up Next: at DePaul (Wed), at Providence (Sat)

14. Providence: 14-15, 3-13 (LWR: 14)
You know your team is bad when your best player (Marshon Brooks) scores 52 points in a game and you still lose.

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

15. South Florida: 9-20, 3-13 (LWR: 15)
I am running out of “Stan Heath will soon be unemployed” jokes.  At least USF beat DePaul this past week.

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

16. DePaul: 7-21, 1-15 (LWR: 16)
It appears likely Big East Freshman of the Year Cleveland Melvin will miss the rest of the season with a sprained thumb.  So hopefully you didn’t already place your bets for the Blue Demons to win the BET.  Wasted money now.  Ha.

Up Next: vs. Rutgers (Wed), at Syracuse (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 Football.com and former contributor for The Washington Times Communities.  You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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