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Big East Tiers: 1/7/19

We have our first full week of Big East action in the books, so it’s once again time to take the league’s temperature. And boy is it lukewarm.

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I’ve been doing these charts every few weeks since last season, but I’ve never seen one quite like this. Of the 10 teams in the conference, 9 are in Tier 3, with DePaul bringing up the rear in Tier 4. You can see for yourself at barttorvik.com.

In order to get a better look at the differences, I decided to add a tier within a tier, as you still can’t convince me Villanova and Georgetown are at the same level.

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Much better. And still, the jumble in Tier 3 just goes to show that there won’t be many, if any, simple road games. Seton Hall, thought of as the conference’s hottest team, and its visit to DePaul on Sunday is a testament to that.

Tier 1 & 2

Nada.

Tier 3A – Marquette, Butler, Villanova, Creighton, St. John’s, Seton Hall

Even within these tiers you can create a little more distinction. MU, BU and VU are ranked between 35-39 while the others are between 44 and 52. Still, it’s pretty clear that the league champion will most likely come from this group. In fact, I think it’s also clear that these 6 are the only ones that will end up in NCAA Tournament contention.

One of the most interesting nuggets for me, is that despite the tight cluster of team, the way these teams are winning games is quite different. Marquette has the league’s best defense (shocking, I know) while Creighton goes all offense all the time.

Still, momentum among this group isn’t all uniform, so I though I’d whip up a little chart based of their TRanks from different time periods.

Season Month 2 Weeks
Marquette 35 26 46
Butler 37 63 182
Villanova 39 37 23
Creighton 44 72 66
St. John’s 46 33 31
Seton Hall 52 50 63

Obviously the smaller the sample size, the more prone for distortions and outliers, but Butler was in a real funk prior to blitzing Creighton. The other stat I take away is that St. John’s run of form of late extends the previous month. They are legit.

Tier 3 B – Providence, Xavier, Georgetown

From this tier, Providence is probably the only one with any NCAA Tournament hopes still alive, but they are playing some of the worst basketball in the country since conference play began. Over the past two weeks, their AdjO is ranked 285th and wasn’t that hot even prior, ranking 130th in TRank.

However, their win at Texas will carry a lot of weight come March, and the offense is set to get a big boost from AJ Reeves return (soon, though not quite sure when that will be).

Xavier, on the other hand, just hasn’t looked good at any point this season. Blowing a big lead to San Diego State, which turns out is a pretty bad team, took away its no bad losses chip early on, and the eye test tells us this team just doesn’t have it this year.

And then there’s Georgetown, who took two bad losses in the non-con and didn’t get any good wins, now playing at a pretty high level, beating Butler at Hinkle and nearly beating St. John’s in regulation, before succumbing in OT. They have some high level freshmen to go with All-Big East Jesse Govan, so they will give plenty of teams problems this season, just not consistently enough to dance.

Season Month 2 Weeks
Providence 78 77 219
Xavier 84 133 112
Georgetown 86 71 67

Tier 4 – DePaul

DePaul collapsed against Northwestern, coughing up a 14-point second half lead. They gave away a 5-point lead with 2 minutes left to Boston College.  They lead at Villanova by 11 in the second half before choking it away. And also lead Xavier by 6 with 5 minutes left.

I was very high (for DePaul standards) on this team, and they are a few second half collapses from being in Tournament contention, so this team isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination.

But lose all of those games they did, so it’s safe to say DePaul is nowhere near NCAA Tournament contention. They did (barely) hold on to beat Seton Hall, so this is not a team you can look past.

Season Month 2 Weeks
DePaul 104 91 93

As for TRank’s projection when it comes to the NCAA Tournament, it is a little more bullish on the conference than last month.

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There’s almost a 50% chance 5 go dancing, but 6 bids is more probable than 4 at this point in time.

Still, with all the carnage we’ve seen through the first full week, my closing statement last month is holding up quite well.

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