by Dan Gardella,
What a crazy week in college basketball.
With 12 of this weeks’ Top 25 falling, it’s safe to say that there will be quite a shake up in the next edition of the poll
One thing that has been consistent is the Big East.
Through the first few weeks of the season, the Big East boasts a 77-18 record with plenty of resume-building wins and very few bad losses.
With two teams still unbeaten (Villanova and Georgetown) here are my risers and tumblers within the Big East this week:
While the Johnnies had a 1-1 week, it was a much more promising West Coast trip than people think. The Red Storm opened their week on Tuesday with a 68-60 win over Grand Canyon University in the Valley of the Sun Showcase in Phoenix, Arizona. St. John’s then traveled to LA to take on Arizona State, arguably the hottest team in college basketball and used a second half rally to bring them within one but eventually fell 82-70. Over the week, St. John’s proved two things: Defense and Resilience.
St. John’s can score the ball as good as anyone in the conference, but they showed their defense has the potential to be just as good. They held Grand Canyon’s leading scorer Josh Braun (15 Points per game) to 13 points on 5-16 shooting and Arizona State’s leading scorer Tra Holder (20 Points per game) to 7 points on 2-12 shooting.
St. John’s has also done something they didn’t do in Chris Mullins first two seasons: Fight Back.
They weathered storms against Grand Canyon and fought back from a double-digit deficit against Arizona State.
This week: St. John’s takes a week off for finals week and takes the court again December 17 as they make their Madison Square Garden debut to take on Iona in the annual Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival.
After falling out of the Top 25 two weeks ago, the Pirates have responded in a major way.
After taking down two Top 25 teams last week, Seton Hall handled VCU easily in their only game this week in the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center…Seton Hall’s home court.
In the 90-67 win over the Rams, all five starters scored in double figures for Seton Hall, highlighted by Angel Delgado recording his sixth double-double on the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
The Pirates are hitting their stride as Big East play opens up in two and a half weeks. While I’ve had them behind Villanova and Xavier all year, they have started to sneak their way into the conversation for one of the top two teams in the conference
This week: Seton Hall plays twice this week as they welcome St. Peter’s to “The Rock” on Tuesday before traveling to Piscataway, New Jersey to take on in-state rival Rutgers.
One of the last seven teams in college basketball being a tumbler? That doesn’t make sense.
Well when their best win was on the road (Their only road game so far) against Richmond who is ranked 220th out of 351 teams according to KenPom. So far, I have not been convinced by their play.
Last week they cracked the national ranks as they received 4 votes to be in the Top 25 which most people believed they were not deserving of receiving votes. This week the Hoyas handled Howard and North Carolina A&T, improving to 8-0, their best start to a season since the 2011-2012 season.
One person that has been interesting to watch has been Jessie Govan. The junior leader has jumped from averaging 10 points and 5 rebounds last season to 20 points and 13 rebounds through the first eight.
This week: Georgetown plays once this week but it’s a doozy as they welcome old Big East foe Syracuse to D.C Saturday.
It’s been a rough start to the Friars season.
With Emmet Holt out for the entire season, the Friars have dropped two of their last three contests including a nine-point loss to the UMass Minutemen Saturday night. It is also worth mentioning that they needed overtime to beat Brown and a buzzer beater to defeat Belmont.
Player performances have been underachieving to say the least as Kyron Cartwright is averaging less points and assists than last season.
The most promising player? Makai Ashton-Langford.
The freshman from Worcester, Massachusetts is averaging 7.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 19.5 minutes per game.
While he is being mentored by Cartwright who is taking a majority of the minutes at point guard, it would be interesting to see if coach Ed Cooley would give Ashton-Langford more time on the court to expedite his development.
I wouldn’t count the Friars out at the moment, but it’s a concerning time in Friartown.