Power rankings include today’s/tonight’s action. Here we go.
1. Syracuse (17-1, 6-0) | Last week: 2 : The Orange are starting to make some serious moves in the Big East, knocking off Louisville on the road and taking care of Cincinnati at home. Michael Carter-Williams continues to impress, while Brandon Triche is getting the job done offensively.
2. Louisville (16-2, 4-1) | Last week: 1 : The Cardinals are finally off the throne in these Power Rankings, losing a tough one to Syracuse, who was playing without forward James Southerland. The Cardinals are still the most talented team in the conference, but there was a power shift in the Orange’s win. Peyton Siva MUST stay out of foul trouble for Rick Pitino’s group to be successful.
3. Cincinnati (16-3, 4-3) | Last week: 5 : Sean Kilpatrick sure earned his Big East player of the week award, going off for a career-high 36 points in the Bearcats’ win over Marquette. He connected on huge 3-pointers late and was near perfect from the free throw line, and almost had Mick Cronin’s group top Syracuse Monday afternoon. Still, the Cincinnati defense is back to where it was in late November-early December.
4. Notre Dame (15-3, 3-3) | Last week: 4 : Mixed bag for Notre Dame, which has now lost three of four games, including two at home, but still own an impressive road win at Cincinnati. It’s tough to put them this high up, especially after the whacking Georgetown gave them, but I’ll go with the benefit of the doubt and leave them at No. 4 for now.
5. Marquette (13-4, 4-1) | Last week: 3 : Marquette actually looked better in its loss at Cincinnati than it did in its win over Seton Hall, which isn’t all that great a sign for Buzz Williams’ group. With a relatively easy schedule they should contend for a top four spot, but it’s tough to see this group as contender for the Big East crown. Too inconsistent.
6. Pittsburgh (15-4, 3-3) | Last week: 8 : The Panthers rebounded from three of four losses to win both their matchups this week — over Villanova and Connecticut. They desperately needed Tray Woodall back after he suffered a concussion against the Golden Eagles, and he’s played well to get the Panthers back to .500 in conference.
7. Connecticut (12-5, 2-3) | Last week: 6 : Tough to fault the Huskies — or drop them down too far — for losing to No. 1 Louisville and at Pittsburgh, but a 2-1 start has quickly evaporated. However, Kevin Ollie’s group won’t play a ranked team again until Feb. 13 and could be 7-3 when they do see Syracuse.
8. Georgetown (12-4, 3-3) | Last week: 7 : This could be the toughest team in the Big East to get a read on. After an awful loss at South Florida last week, the Hoyas began this week with a 21-point thrashing of Notre Dame. Even without Greg Whittington, John Thompson’s group showed flashes of talent on offense and ultimately will contend as long as they can score 60+ points.
9. Rutgers (12-5, 3-3) | Last week: 10 : Rutgers moves up in the rankings by default this week, as a three-point win over Rutgers and a loss to Notre Dame is nothing to get all too excited about. That being said, the Scarlet Knights have a couple of good tests — vs. St. John’s, at Connecticut — to find out how good they really are (or aren’t).
10. St. John’s (11-7, 3-3) | Last week: 14 : So where did this come from? Just when things couldn’t have gotten worse for the Red Storm (losses to Villanova, Rutgers, Georgetown), they go and beat Notre Dame and DePaul and are right back at .500 in conference play. They get a jump this week, but we doubt it will last very long.
11. Providence (10-8, 2-4) | Last week: 12 : Providence has the talent to contend nearly the middle of the conference, but a loss at Georgetown and a narrow win over Villanova isn’t all that big a sign as a team ready to be there. The schedule gets rough from here until the end of February, so don’t expect that jump to come any time soon.
12. Villanova (11-7, 2-3) | Last week: 9 : A home loss to Pitt wasn’t all that bad, but losing at Providence won’t allow you to keep your spot in these rankings. It’s the same story for Jay Wright, as freshman phenom Ryan Arcidiacono, Jayvaughn Pinkston and Mouphtaou Yarou carry the load…and no one else really shows up in the box score.
13. South Florida (10-7, 1-4) | Last week: 15 : Welcome back from the cellar, South Florida! This is going to be a long season for Stan Heath, but good for them to fight through and get a win over Georgetown. Wednesday’s game at Seton Hall could wind up being a tiebreaker for last place in the conference by season’s end.
14. DePaul (10-8, 1-4) | Last week: 11 : We want to like DePaul, and there’s still hope for them despite losses to Cincinnati and St. John’s this past week. But when only two players average double-digits and your team is better known for offense than defense, it usually leads to trouble. They are capable of putting up 80+ points on any given night, but it probably means they’ve given up 90 in the process.
15. Seton Hall (12-6, 1-4) | Last week: 13 : The future does not look bright for Kevin Willard’s group, which just can’t overcome its injuries. Four straight losses following a win over DePaul to open the Big East season look bad considering four of the next seven are on the road. Here’s to next year.