After seven straight wins, Georgetown sits atop this week’s power rankings.
1. Georgetown (19-4, 9-3) | Last week: 2: Make that seven in a row for the hottest team in the conference. After three cupcake wins (Seton Hall, St. John’s, Rutgers) the Hoyas proved their legitimacy with wins over Marquette and at Cincinnati. They still have two games left against Syracuse, which both should be thrillers.
2. Syracuse (21-4, 9-3) | Last week: 1: The Orange went cold against Connecticut, shooting just 35 percent from the field (4-of-23 from three) in their final Big East contest, a loss, to the Huskies. They’re still in first place but clearly aren’t going to run away with the conference as expected. Freshman point guard Michael Carter-Williams continues to produce, but the team can’t afford 3-of-15 from Brandon Triche again.
3. Louisville (21-5, 9-4) | Last week: 5: There was no hangover from the quintuple-overtime loss to Notre Dame, with the Cardinals taking down St. John’s and South Florida to move within one-half game of first place. Russ Smith went off for 24 points in the win over the Johnnies and he added 15 more against the Bulls. Still doesn’t make up for the Irish fiasco, but it’s a start.
4. Marquette (18-6, 9-3) | Last week: 6: Another week, another mixed bag for the Golden Eagles. An unflattering loss to Georgetown saw Marquette turn the ball over 19 times, but it rebounded well with a win over red-hot Pittsburgh. There’s no doubting Buzz Williams’ group is a contender for the Big East title, and its toughest games left are at home.
5. Pittsburgh (20-6, 8-5) | Last week: 3: Jamie Dixon said it best, that his Panthers were bound to hit a speed-bump or two. That happened Saturday, when Marquette took down his squad to bump them back to fifth place in the Big East. This is still a dangerous team, and tonight’s matchup against Notre Dame is as big as it gets for the Panthers.
6. Notre Dame (20-6, 8-5) | Last week: 4: The five-overtime thriller against Louisville apparently took its toll on the Irish. They (again) needed overtime to take down DePaul and were crushed at Providence. They are now in trouble for a top-4 spot, yet three straight against Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Marquette could turn those tides.
7. Cincinnati (19-7, 7-6) | Last week: 7: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Once thought to be vying for a Big East title, the Bearcats have dropped three of four and find themselves fighting for a top-4 spot. With road contests against Connecticut, Notre Dame and Louisville remaining, few teams have a tougher end to the season than Mick Cronin’s group.
8. Villanova (16-10, 7-6) | Last week: 8: A blowout loss at Cincinnati was evened out by a road win over Connecticut, and the Wildcats are now firmly on the bubble. Mouphtaou Yaro is coming along nicely, averaging 12.1 points and 10.7 rebounds over his last seven games.
9. Connecticut (17-7, 7-5) | Last week: 9: The only logical way for Connecticut to answer their huge win over Syracuse was to fall to Villanova at home three days later, right? The Huskies are likely ahead of the Wildcats, but the head-to-head matchup drops them to No. 9 this week.
10. Providence (14-11, 6-7) | Last week: 11: Don’t look now, but the Friars have the second longest winning streak in the Big East. They took down South Florida on the road and dismantled Notre Dame at home, giving them four straight wins. Vincent Council neared a triple-double over the Irish while Kadeem Batts (24 points) and LaDontae Henton (19) led the way over the Bulls.
11. St. John’s (15-10, 7-6) | Last week: 10: Can’t fault the Red Storm for dropping two contests this week, falling on the road to Syracuse and Louisville. They still have a shot to make the NCAA Tournament, provided they can pick up the wins they need to (South Florida, Providence) and grab one or two wins against Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Marquette.
12. DePaul (11-14, 2-10) | Last week: 14: It’s hard to remember the last time the Blue Demons were in 13th place this late into the Big East schedule. A win is a win, even a 6-point victory over Rutgers. Four players scored in double-figures, including freshman Worrel Clahar (19 points) continuing his run of solid play.
13. Rutgers (13-11, 4-9) | Last week: 13: Myles Mack scored 28 points in a loss to DePaul, but the bigger story was Eli Carter being lost for the season with a broken fibula. It’s a devastating blow to a team who couldn’t afford to lose anything, let alone their leading scorer. The Scarlet Knights may not win another game the rest of the season.
14. Seton Hall (13-13, 2-11) | Last week: 12: The Pirates hit rock bottom after a road loss to Rutgers on Tuesday. It’s the same old story, with Fuquan Edwin and Eugene Teague carrying the load and an injury-depleted roster not managing much else. They’ll have chances to play spoiler this week, however, with matchups against Marquette and Louisville.
15. South Florida (10-15, 1-12) | Last week: 15: The longest losing streak in the Big East continued this week. The Bulls lost at home to Providence and Louisville, and the offense has now failed to top the 50-point total in three of four games. They now hit the road to St. John’s and Pittsburgh, where two losses likely await. By the way, how did they beat Georgetown??