The Big East continues to show its dominance in the national polls, with five teams in the AP Top 25. Only the Big Ten (6) has more. As always, the team in green is our team of the week and the team in red is the one that disappointed.
Previous: Week 1
1. Louisville (8-1) | Last week: 1 : 42 and 52-point wins last week must be a relief after sweating out a home win against Illinois State. Russ Smith is one of the top players in the Big East, perhaps the country, and is improving his efficiency by the game. He’s averaging 20.4 points this season.
2. Syracuse (8-0) | Last week: 2 : Almost had the Orange make the jump to the top spot in the rankings after wins of 36, 31 and 52 this week, but for now the No. 2 rank will have to stay. Michael Carter-Williams continues his blazing hot start, and Brandon Triche is moving right along in his senior season.
3. Cincinnati (9-0) | Last week: 4 : There’s something to be said for being undefeated on Dec. 10, and the Bearcats have looked every bit the part of a Big East contender so far. If Cashmere Wright continues his hot play (15 points on 49 percent shooting, 3.6 assists, 2.6 steals), Mick Cronin’s group has a chance to be undefeated heading into Big East play.
4. Pittsburgh (9-1) | Last week: 7 : Pittsburgh continues to roll through its non-conference schedule, and picked up a nice win over Detroit as part of a 3-0 week. Tray Woodall sparked a huge second half comeback for the Panthers, and Talib Zanna continues to look like an early candidate for Most Improved Player.
5. Notre Dame (8-1) | Last week: 6 : It was a quick week for the Irish, who won their only game, a home blowout against Brown. The notable statistic this week is that point guard Eric Atkins is averaging 7.0 assists to just 1.3 turnovers. The 5.2-to-1 ratio is tops in the Big East.
6. Georgetown (8-1) | Last week: 3 : The Hoyas drop three spots this week despite a 3-0 record because of unbelievable offensive ineptitude. In wins over Tennessee and Towson, Georgetown scored 36 and 46 points, respectively. These rankings take into account how a team won its games, and the Hoyas won flat out ugly this week.
7. Connecticut (7-2) | Last week: 5 It wasn’t neccessarily a disappointing loss, but it would have been nice if the Huskies had upset No. 25 North Carolina State last week. The drop in the rankings is due to the jump Pittsburgh took, though the Huskies’ frontcourt is a cause for concern.
8. Providence (7-2) | Last week 11 : Very quietly the Friars have reeled off five straight wins and get the nod as the team of the week. With Kris Dunn, the highly-touted point guard chose PC over Marquette, set to return soon, the short-handed Friars are a team to keep an eye on early in Big East play.
9. Marquette (6-2) | Last week: 8 : The Golden Eagles picked up a much-needed win over in-state rival Wisconsin, as Junior Cadougan finally showed signs of life with 18 points and six assists. Jamil Wilson and Trent Lockett have been slight disappointments thus far, but Marquette will always be in the hunt come Big East play.
10. Seton Hall (7-2) | Last week: 10 : It was a rough week for the Pirates, but a 2-0 record was a nice rebound after the loss at LSU. They barely survived against NJIT, and had to comeback late against Wake Forest, but wins are wins and the Pirates stay afloat in the top 10 of the rankings. They’ll need to play better to stay here.
11. Rutgers (5-2) | Last week: 13 : The Scarlet Knights needed a big win after an ugly loss at Ole Miss, and got it in an 81-73 win over Iona at Madison Square Garden. Myles Mack led the way with 19 points, while Mike Poole contributed 18 off the bench. On a worse note, they turned the ball over 24 times.
12. South Florida (5-2) | Last week 12 : The Bulls lost their first big test of the season, a 61-49 defeat at the hands of No. 23 Oklahoma State. They did, however, have a solid win at home over Georgia, evening out their week and keeping them right where they were in the rankings’ last edition.
13. St. John’s (7-3) | Last week: 9 : Perhaps we were aggressive in having the Red Storm at No. 9 to begin the rankings, and an 81-65 loss at San Francisco proved that. A home win against Fordham righted the ship for now, but the Steve Lavin’s group needs improvement all-around before they are back in the single-digits.
14. DePaul (6-3) | Last week: 14 : An ugly 2-3 start is a thing of the past (for DePaul’s standards) after four straight wins, including a narrow win over Chicago State and a blowout vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Donnavan Kirk was the surprise contributor, but this team will only go as far as Cleveland Melvin can carry them up a steep hill.
15. Villanova (5-4) | Last week: 15 : It was a 1-1 week for the Wildcats, who fell to Temple before taking down Penn on the road to get back on track. There’s talent on Jay Wright’s group, but he doesn’t seem to have put it together just yet. They don’t stay at No. 15 forever, but for now their performance has warranted the basement of the rankings.