Georgetown picked up a massive win at Syracuse, and Cincinnati continued its free-fall in this week’s power rankings. Let’s go.
1. Georgetown (21-4, 11-3) | Last week: 1: Your stage is set, Otto Porter. The Hoyas have now won nine straight games after Porter scored 33 points in a win at Syrcuse on Saturday, and are now in control of their Big East title hopes.
2. Syracuse (22-5, 10-4) | Last week: 2: The Orange have now lost two of their last four and face a must-win against Marquette. Michael Carter-Williams continues to provide all-Big East numbers and has a tasty matchup against Junior Cadougan and the Golden Eagles.
3. Louisville (22-5, 10-4) | Last week: 3: Louisville needs a Georgetown loss to get back in the Big East title hunt, and they’ll have good preparation (at DePaul) leading up to a huge March 2 game at Syracuse. Gorgui Dieng’s career day at Seton Hall is a great sign going forward.
4. Marquette (19-7, 10-4) | Last week: 4: The Golden Eagles missed a great opportunity at Villanova to grab a share of the Big East lead. They now face two near must-wins against Syracuse and Notre Dame at home, making this a stressful eight days coming up for Buzz Williams’ crew.
5. Notre Dame (22-6, 10-5) | Last week: 6: The Irish are back in contention for a top-4 spot after wins over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati this week. Now 10-5, a Saturday game against Marquette becomes the most important of the year. Jack Cooley is a lock for all-Big East honors.
6. Villanova (18-10, 9-6) | Last week: 8: Welcome to the NCAA Tournament, Jay Wright. The Wildcats have now won five of six, including an impressive win against Marquette on Saturday. If they can avoid a road loss at Seton Hall this week they should be well on their way to an at-large bid.
7. Pittsburgh (21-7, 9-6) | Last week: 5: An ugly home loss to Notre Dame made a top-4 spot in the Big East all but disappear, but the Panthers have South Florida, Villanova and DePaul to end the season. They should end the season 12-6, giving them momentum heading into the Big East Tournament.
8. Connecticut (19-7, 9-5) | Last week: 9: A 2-0 week for Kevin Ollie’s group keeps his chances of Big East Coach of the Year alive. Shabazz Napier is a dark-horse for Player of the Year, too, considering the Huskies haven’t been playing for anything and know their season is over in two weeks. He averaged 27.5 points in the wins this week.
9. Cincinnati (10-9, 7-8) | Last week: 7: How does a team go from a 12-0 start and 5-3 in conference to now being a bubble team? Cincinnati would like to show you. The Bearcats have now lost five of six, including a 21-point drubbing at Notre Dame yesterday. They need Saturday’s game against Connecticut.
10. Providence (15-12, 7-8) | Last week: 10: Not a great week for the Friars, who were crushed by Syracuse on Wednesday and barely got by Rutgers. Still, they’ve won five of six and will stay above St. John’s for now. A Saturday matchup at home could change that.
11. St. John’s (16-11, 8-7) | Last week: 11: The Johnnies were a nice story to start the season, but they really could have used a win at Madison Square Garden against Pittsburgh on Sunday. A win over Providence on Saturday would set up a big final week against Notre Dame and Marquette. They need one of those two to feel good about their Selection Sunday chances.
12. DePaul (11-16, 2-12) | Last week: 12: You have to give credit to the Blue Demons for staying competitive against Connecticut, though an ugly loss at Georgetown preceded it. One has to wonder what this team could look like if Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin come back next season.
13. Rutgers (13-13, 4-11) | Last week: 13: The Scarlet Knights stayed competitive this week, falling at Villanova by eight and against Providence by four. Reserve Dane Miller had an interesting week, not attempting a shot in 26 minutes against the Wildcats before going off for 17 points and eight rebounds against the Friars.
14. Seton Hall (13-15, 2-13) | Last week: 14: The three-game stretch against Syracuse, Marquette and Louisville went as expected (lost by a combined 60 points), and the Pirates have one game this week against Villanova. They can play semi-spoiler with a win there, but that’s about it.
15. South Florida (10-16, 1-13) | Last week: 15: It’s almost over, Stan Heath. The good news is Sunday afternoon the Bulls will host DePaul with a chance to pick up a second Big East win. If not, they could wind up winning just one Big East game, to the potential conference champ. Has that ever happened?