by Dan Gardella

Last Week’s Rankings 

  1. Seton Hall (-) 
  2. Creighton (+1) 
  3. Villanova (-1) 
  4. Marquette (+1)
  5. Xavier (+2) 
  6. Providence (+1) 
  7. Butler (-3) 
  8. Georgetown (+1) 
  9. St. John’s (-1) 
  10. DePaul (-) 

This Week’s Rankings 

  1. Seton Hall (-) 
  2. Creighton (-)
  3. Marquette (+1)
  4. Villanova (-1) 
  5. Xavier (-) 
  6. Providence (-) 
  7. Georgetown (+1) 
  8. Butler (-1) 
  9. St. John’s (-)
  10. DePaul (-)




Seton Hall 


Yes, Seton Hall has been in the driver’s seat for most of, if not all of conference play. But in their recent gut-check win against Villanova, the Pirates snapped a 26-year long drought in Philadelphia and almost solidified themselves as regular season champions. The Pirates lead the league by three games with seven games to play and have four of their last seven games inside the Prudential Center.


Outside of the obvious fact that Myles Powell should be a frontrunner to win National Player of the Year, Jared Rhoden has quietly become that final piece that Kevin Willard needs to run the table and make the Final Four. Rhoden plays bigger than his 6’6 frame and is always a positive when he is on the floor. Add in the fact that Sando Mamukelashvili is beginning to find his rhythm since coming back from a broken wrist. 


The Pirates host the hot-shooting Creighton Blue Jays on Wednesday in the opener of a top-25 showdown doubleheader within the conference. They finish the week with a trip to the Dunkin Donuts Center to play Providence on Saturday. 




Marquette has seemingly become the next team in the Big East to find its resurgence in conference play. After a sluggish start since the calendar turned to 2020, the Golden Eagles are winners of three in a row and sit in a three-way tie for second place in the conference, along with Villanova and Creighton. Over their winning streak, they have taken down a hot Xavier team in double-overtime and handled top-20 foe Butler at home to improve to 17-6 on the season. 


This team, that lives and dies with Markus Howard is beginning to profit on one of the senior’s hot streaks. Howard has averaged 22 points a night over the team’s winning streak and looks to continue it against Villanova on Wednesday. Howard broke out for 29 against the Wildcats in their first meeting of the season, which ended in an upset victory for Marquette. 






The Wildcats have now lost three straight games and have fallen into a tie for second place with two other teams. Just two weeks ago, Villanova was banging on the door of first place behind a Seton Hall team that had just suffered their first (and only) conference loss of the year. While it is tough to fathom this skid, it is even more impossible to believe that two of the three losses have been on Villanova’s home floor, which had been impossible for road teams to get a win on. 


Sure, they were on the wrong end of a Kamar Baldwin buzzer beater in the other loss, but this is something basketball fans haven’t seen out of Jay Wright’s team in many years. The host Marquette, a team that locked them down from the perimeter in their first matchup of the year. After that, they embark on a three game road trip.




Since their amazing start to the season defensively, it’s been a Jekyll and Hyde type story for the Bulldogs. They have been playing .500 basketball in conference play and sit behind a slew of teams as conference play begins to hit the final stretch. Most recently, the took the positive momentum of a thrilling buzzer-beating win over Villanova and put up just 57 points in a 19-point loss to Marquette on Sunday. 


It has been tough to tell which Butler team you are going to see on a nightly basis and it doesn’t seem that any consistency is coming soon. Sure, the Bulldogs are bound for the NCAA Tournament once again, but how quickly will their appearance be? How quickly will their appearance be in the Big East Tournament? As of now, the answer to both of those questions is “short” unless they find a way to play consistently over the final seven regular season games.