Big East teams combined to play just 18 games during finals week, but all 15 groups went undefeated. In fact, a Big East team has not lost since Dec. 5. That’s the reason no team is in red, but there were a handful of impressive showings from teams that moved the rankings.
1. Louisville (9-1) | Last week: 1 : Chane Behanan and Peyton Siva keep the Cardinals in the top spot after a close scare against Memphis on Sunday. The two combined for 41 points to help spark a second half comeback that included 59 points after intermission. It’s full steam ahead as Rick Pitino’s bunch eyes a Dec. 29 date with Kentucky.
2. Syracuse (9-0) | Last week: 2 : Like most teams in the Big East, the Orange played once last week. Forward James Southerland continued his scorching start with a 21-point effort against Canisius, while Brandon Triche added 19 of his own. Everything is going swimmingly for Jim Boeheim’s group, minus a robe and gloves.
3. Cincinnati (10-0) | Last week: 3 : One of two Big East teams to reach 10 wins this week still trails one-loss Louisville and Syracuse, but there’s always room for growth. The Bearcats picked up a nice road win over Marshall last week, as the usuals led the way. A Wednesday matchup with Xavier should be the game of the week in the Big East.
4. Pittsburgh (10-1) | Last week: 4 : The Panthers’ impressive roll continued this week with an 89-40 drubbing of Bethune-Cookman. Freshman Steven Adams double-doubled with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and J.J. Moore went for 18 points. It’s still early, but Jamie Dixon seems to be coaching a solid NCAA Tournament team.
5. Notre Dame (9-1) | Last week: 5 : The Irish played just once for the second straight week, but picked up a nice win over Purdue in Indianapolis. With three games coming this week, Jack Cooley and company will be tested but should see a bump in these rankings if they can come through unscathed.
6. Georgetown (9-1) | Last week: 6 : It seems having the Hoyas this low is inaccurate, but last week’s offensive ineptitude still can justify it. But they did rebound with an 81-point effort against Western Carolina, with Greg Whittington exploding for 25 points. Otto Porter continues to fill up the box score, but it’s interesting to note the Hoyas play just one time from now until Jan. 5. They may not be moving up in the rankings soon, but they’ll be ready to roll come conference play.
7. Connecticut (7-2) | Last week: 7 : The Huskies had the week off, and return to action this week against Maryland-Eastern Shore and Fordham.
8. Marquette (7-2) | Last week: 9 : The Golden Eagles played just once, but they performed well against a Savannah St. team ranked in the top-30 defensively. Marquette still has major questions marks, but for now the wins continue to pile up. There’s a good chance Todd Mayo returns this week, which would help an offense starved for outside shooting.
9. Providence (7-2) | Last week 8 : The Friars had the week off, and return to action this week against Colgate and Boston College.
10. Rutgers (7-2) | Last week: 11 : One of three teams to pick up multiple wins this week, the Scarlet Knights showed poise in close wins over George Washington and UAB. It remains to be seen how long they can stay in the top 10, but they have the talent to push into the top-8. Eli Carter led the way with 19 and 20 points, respectively, in the two W’s.
11. Seton Hall (8-2) | Last week: 10 : How’s this for a stat? Seton Hall scored 77 points last night against North Carolina A&T, and received points from just four players. That may be cause for concern, but Fuquan Edwin is a man on a mission, and Brandon Mobley (23 points) and Aaron Cosby (22) are showing offensive spark.
12. DePaul (8-3) | Last week: 14 : Essentially a no-brainer for the team of the week, the Blue Demons have now reeled off six straight wins after a 2-3 start. They picked up an (relative) impressive road win over Arizona State before hanging on to beat Northern Illinois on Sunday. Chances are they won’t stay this high once Big East play begins, but they’ve earned a bump in the rankings.
13. South Florida (5-2) | Last week 12 : The Bulls had the week off, and return to action this week against Youngstown State and Bowling Green.
14. St. John’s (8-3) | Last week: 13 : The Red Storm had an unblemished week, taking down St. Francis (NY), 77-60, on Saturday. D’Angelo Harrison continued his successes with 25 points, while JaKarr Sampson posted 21 of his own. The freshman Sampson is coming into his own, proving he was worth the wait after attending prep school last year.
15. Villanova (7-4) | Last week: 15 : The Wildcats won twice this week, but they won’t be moving up since no team took tallies in the loss columns. It was important for Jay Wright’s group to pick up a win over St. Joe’s, and taking down Delaware completed a perfect week for the Big East.