by Dan Gardella
Last Week’s Rankings
- Seton Hall
- St. Johns
This Week’s Rankings
- Villanova (-)
- Xavier (-)
- Seton Hall (+1)
- Creighton (+1)
- Providence (-2)
- Butler (-)
- Marquette (-)
- DePaul (+1)
- Georgetown (-1)
- St. John’s (-)
For the first time in conference play it seems like, there were no massive upsets or big storylines. But that does not mean there weren’t any action-packed games.
Marquette took Villanova down to the wire before coming up short on Sunday afternoon. Jalen Brunson had 31 points and should be considered in the Wooden Awards.
DePaul’s Eli Cain scores a season-high 27 including a game winner over Georgetown on Wednesday.
Angel Delgado set the Big East record for career rebounds in Seton Hall’s win over DePaul on Sunday.
Big East Standings:
With another week of conference play finished, teams are beginning to solidify their spots in the standings. Villanova remains atop the conference after a 2-0 week with Xavier and Creighton right behind. The middle of the pack remains a tight race with three teams separated by a half game.
Another week and here’s another edition of Big East Risers and Tumblers.
Just because the Wildcats have not moved in the standings for all of conference play doesn’t mean they can’t be a Riser! The Wildcats have been hit with injuries all season but continue to power through their schedule with the lone blemish coming at the hands of Butler many weeks ago. First, freshman Collin Gillespie broke his hand in practice before Villanova’s game against La Salle on December 10th, sidelining him for a couple weeks. Two weeks later, fellow freshman Jermaine Samuels fractures his hand as well, benching him for extensive time. The biggest blow came on Tuesday as guard Phil Booth, who missed all of last season with a bad knee, broke his hand in the Wildcats win over Providence, keeping him out indefinitely.
In the first game without Booth, Jay Wright’s crew was tested out in Milwaukee. The Wildcats only led by five at the half and were close to losing the lead numerous time before sneaking out an 85-82 lead over Marquette Sunday afternoon. While it was too close for comfort, leaders Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson made big plays down the stretch of the game to help Villanova win their seventh straight. With all the injuries that have struck this season, it seems that Villanova never skips a beat with their “Next man up” mentality.
The ‘Cats look to keep the winning streak alive as they welcome in Creighton to the Wells Fargo Center before taking on Seton Hall.
If this past week was an indicator of the rest of the season, it looks like the Blue Jays will be just fine. A week after discovering they would be without breakout sophomore Martin Krampelj for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, Creighton went 2-0 with wins over St. John’s and Georgetown. The Jays got contributions from Ronnie Harrell Jr. and Toby Hegner on top of the continued success of Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas. Harrell was inserted into the starting lineup after Krampelj went down and has given Greg McDermott significant minutes. Hegner on the other hand, has complimented Foster and Thomas well by averaging 16 points and knocked down 7 three pointers during the week.
While it’s a good sign, Creighton also got a combined 50 points from Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas Saturday against Georgetown. It’s a tall task to remain that consistent for the remainder of the season, but getting help from Hegner and Harrell Jr. goes a long way into the success of Creighton.
The Jays have a tough week ahead as they travel to Philly to face off against top ranked Villanova in their only contest of the week.
Providence saw their four game, momentum building streak come to an end Tuesday evening in embarrassing fashion, losing by 20 to the top team in the country. With the loss, Providence drops from third to a tie for fourth in the Big East standings. The Friars struggled to shoot the ball with any consistency in the loss, shooting 37% from the field in a tough loss. Providence continues however, to get production from Rodney Bullock and Kyron Cartwright. The Friars have also gotten strong numbers from Isaiah Jackson, who averages 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 18 minutes per contest off of the bench.
Now winners of four of their last five, Ed Cooley looks to get his team back to winning this week as they continue their road trip, traveling to Seton Hall and Marquette this week. This is a test for Providence as a strong week puts them back at the top of the conference and a bad week can prove costly come March.
The Hoyas are beginning to spin after a rather shocking start to conference play. After winning two of their first five conference matchups, Georgetown has lost four of their last five contests. This week, the Hoyas fell to DePaul late in a game that was winnable and fell by eight to Creighton, a game that got as close as one point late in the second half before the Blue Jays pulled away late.
While they were right there in both games, inexperience and lack of talent proved costly for Georgetown who still sit in eighth place in the conference, two games behind Marquette for seventh. Ball control has also continued to be a problem for Patrick Ewing and company. The Hoyas turned the ball over 17 times against Creighton and average 16 per game this season.
The look to get back on track this week as travel to Cincinnati on Saturday for a date with Xavier in their only game of the week.