by Dan Gardella
Last Week’s Rankings
- Seton Hall
- St. John’s
This Week’s Rankings
- Villanova (-)
- Xavier (-)
- Seton Hall (-)
- Butler (+2)
- Providence (-)
- Creighton (-2)
- Georgetown (+2)
- Marquette (-1)
- St. John’s (+1)
- DePaul (-2)
What a week in Big East Hoops! It seems that this week, just like most other weeks in the Big East are an indication that the conference is as strong as it’s been since its reconfiguration.
Villanova convincingly took down Creighton and Seton Hall on their way to the best start in school history.
St. John’s, losers of 11 straight, did the unthinkable Saturday afternoon by dethroning Duke at Madison Square Garden.
After another week, Xavier is continuing to keep pace with the number one team in the nation while Creighton, Butler, Seton Hall and Providence are in a race for spots 3-6. Heck, even spots 7-9 are decided by a game and a half (Sorry St. John’s).
After a chaotic week, here is the latest edition of Risers and Tumblers.
The Bulldogs had themselves a week! Entering the week in the middle of the conference at 5-4, Butler took down Marquette and DePaul in convincing fashion over the week to improve to 7-4 in Big East play. LaVall Jordan’s crew now sits at 17-7 overall and are in a tie for 4th in the conference with Creighton.
Butler started the week in Milwaukee in a pivotal game in the conference’s landscape as Marquette stood a game behind the Bulldogs. Behind a career-high 23 points from Tyler Wideman, Butler handled the Golden Eagles 92-72. Butler then returned home and welcomed a reeling DePaul team that hung tough with them for the first half before pulling away in the second half and winning by 23 behind 26 points from Kelan Martin.
The key to Butler’s success has been depth. In both victories this week, at least four players scored in double figures and had two different players lead the way in scoring. The Bulldogs, now winners of four straight have the toughest week in the conference as they welcome Xavier to Hinkle Fieldhouse before heading to Philadelphia in hopes of sweeping the series against the Wildcats
The Hoyas season has been a story of ups and downs. After starting off the season 8-0 and headed into conference play 10-1, the weak non-conference schedule caught up to Patrick Ewing and company as they have gone 3-8 in Big East play so far. Although they have struggled all season, the hustle and heart from the Hoyas has shown. It shows that the talent provided for Ewing upon his arrival is not up to his standards. However, I will use an overrated and overused term to talk about Georgetown: “Trust the Process”.
Nobody expected Georgetown to win three games in the stacked Big East, let alone not sit in the cellar of the conference. However, five of their eight losses in conference play have been by single digits and two by one possession. The program only goes up from here. The Hoyas bring in two four star recruits and a three-star recruit next season along with brining back Jesse Govan and Marcus Derrickson. While it looks like I’m looking ahead to next year, this team has been in a lot of close games and lack of talent has hurt them greatly. That won’t be a problem next year.
In the lone game this week, Creighton felt the loss of Martin Krampelj against Villanova. No Blue Jay recorded more than four rebounds and were outrebounded by 10 in a 20-point loss to the Wildcats. Since Krampelj tore his ACL in Creighton’s win over Seton Hall on January 17th, the Jays are 2-2. The two wins have not been pretty by any means. Their two wins against St. John’s and Georgetown were by a combined 13 points.
In the loss against Villanova, Khyri Thomas and Marcus Foster combined for 32 points on an efficient 13-18. Those two need to get more shots and take a larger chunk of the offensive touches. The biggest question mark for Creighton is freshman big man Jacob Epperson. Epperson, who came out of his redshirt to suit up and play key minutes for Greg McDermott.
Creighton looks to gain momentum as they head into the heart of their conference schedule as they travel to Chicago to face off with DePaul before returning to Omaha to play Xavier.
The Golden Eagles are slumping over the past two weeks. The Golden Eagles have lost five or their last six games and are in trouble of continuing to fall in the Big East. At the beginning of the week, Marquette sat in seventh place with an opportunity to climb into the top five in the conference. It’s safe to say that they did not have the most ideal week.
In game number one of the week, they welcomed Butler to Milwaukee with a chance to tie them in the standings. They fell behind early and did not have a chance as they fell to the Bulldogs by 20. In hopes of splitting the week, the Golden Eagles welcomed Providence, a team on a bad end of a streak. The game was back and forth before a late turnover sealed their fate. Now sitting at 4-7 in the conference, it becomes a must-win game for Marquette for almost the rest of the season.
They look to snap their skid when they travel to Newark and then to Queens to battle with Seton Hall and St. John’s.