Big East basketball

Mat Mlodzinski gives his Big East basketball power rankings for week 4 of the season.

Matchup of the week: Creighton vs. Texas

Sneaky good matchup of the week: St. John’s vs. Iowa State

All games listed are EST

1) UConn Huskies

Last week’s ranking: 2 (+1)

Record: 8-0

Last week: Oregon (W) 83-59, # 18 Alabama (W) 82-67, Iowa State (W) 71-53

Next week: Oklahoma State (Dec. 1 – 6:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Alabama, Iowa State, Oregon

Worst losses: N/A

The UConn Huskies are arguably the hottest team in all of college basketball winning the Phil Knight Invitational after three consecutive double-digit victories over fellow power conference opponents. Of course, the win that garners the most attention is a 15-point domination over an Alabama team that went on to take down North Carolina. The Huskies are doing it on both ends of the court and have a great blend of bigs and wings. This week, it’s yet another test against Oklahoma State out of the Big 12.

2) Creighton Bluejays

Last week’s ranking: 1 (-1)

Record: 6-1

Last week: #21 Texas Tech (W) 76-65, #9 Arkansas (W) 90-87, #14 Arizona (L) 79-81

Next week: @ #2 Texas (Dec. 1 – 7 p.m.), Nebraska (Dec. 4 – 4:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Arkansas, Texas Tech, UC Riverside

Worst losses: N/A

Call it 1a and 1b, the Creighton Bluejays are in the exact same conversation as the Connecticut Huskies. Creighton only fell to Arizona by two points and holds two wins over top-25 teams. The Jays were picked to win the Big East from the start, and have the talent to get it done. They can reclaim the top spot in the Big East basketball power rankings with wins over Texas and Nebraska this week.

3) St. John’s Red Storm

Last week’s ranking: 4 (+1)

Record: 7-0

Last week: Temple (W) 78-72, Syracuse (W) 76-69 (OT), Niagara (W) 78-70

Next week: LIU (Nov. 29 – 6:30 p.m.), @ #23 Iowa State (Dec. 4 – 3 p.m.)

Best wins: Syracuse, Nebraska, Temple

Worst losses: N/A

While the Red Storm haven’t had an overwhelmingly difficult schedule, they’ve still run the table, picking up a couple of good wins in the Empire Classic over Temple and Syracuse. This week, the 7-0 Johnnies will get their biggest test yet – at #23 Iowa State. Ames is as tough a place to play as anywhere in the country, so if St. John’s can come home 9-0, it might be time to start taking them all the more seriously.

4) Xavier Musketeers

Last week’s ranking: 3 (-1)

Record: 4-3

Last week: Florida (W) 90-83, #8 Duke (L) 64-71, #6 Gonzaga (L) 84-88

Next week: SE Louisiana (Nov. 30 – 8:30 p.m.), West Virginia (Dec. 3 – 6:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Florida, Montana, Fairfield

Worst losses: N/A

It’s tough to fault a team with zero bad losses and a win over Florida, but unfortunately, that’s just the luck of the draw. Xavier had to play Duke and Gonzaga in a three-day stretch, ultimately losing by single digits to both the Blue Devils and Bulldogs. If anything, those losses show that Xavier should be looked at as a contender in the Big East. At the same time, they’ve now played three top-12 teams and lost them all. Moral victories are cool, but the Musketeers need to come away with some more big wins.

5) Marquette Golden Eagles

Last week’s ranking: 6 (+1)

Record: 5-2

Last week: Mississippi State (L) 55-58, Georgia Tech (W) 84-60, Chicago State (W) 82-68

Next week: #6 Baylor (Nov. 29 – 8:30 p.m.), Wisconsin (Dec. 3 – 4:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Georgia Tech, Radford, Central Michigan

Worst losses: N/A

The Marquette Golden Eagles got their first win over a power conference opponent this year, gliding past Georgia Tech by 24 points. They also came close to knocking off Mississippi State, who in their own right is still undefeated. The Golden Eagles have a ridiculously tough schedule this week, playing Baylor in the Big 12-Big East Battle and Wisconsin in a battle for the state. Even a 1-1 split would help solidify just what Marquette is made of.

6) Providence Friars

Last week’s ranking: 9 (+3)

Record: 5-2

Last week: Merrimack (W) 71-57, Columbia (W) 78-64

Next week: @ TCU (Nov. 30 – 8 p.m.), @ URI (Dec. 3 – 5 p.m.)

Best wins: Rider, Northeastern, Merrimack

Worst losses: N/A

While the Friars only beat two mid-majors by 14 points each, the rest of the Big East not named UConn or Creighton was absolutely terrible during Feast Week. So, Providence benefitted from a light schedule. Against Merrimack and Columbia, Ed Cooley’s bunch dished out 39 assists on 59 made buckets, showing great team chemistry. They’ll try and keep that up with two road games against TCU and Rhode Island this week.

7) Seton Hall Pirates

Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)

Record: 4-3

Last week: Memphis (W) 70-69, Oklahoma (L) 64-77, Siena (L)55-60

Next week:

Best wins: Memphis, Monmouth, Saint Peter’s

Worst losses: Siena

Virtually the only thing Seton Hall had going for them last week was a banked-in three-point buzzer-beater over Memphis. Had that not dropped, the Hall might be 3-4 and looking at a date with Kansas. But, a win is a win, and as stated before, the rest of the Big East was really that bad, the Pirates catch a break in this week’s power rankings. But against Kansas, things could get ugly unless Shaheen Holloway can bring back a bit of his March magic.

8) Villanova

Last week’s ranking: 5 (-3)

Record: 2-5

Last week: Delaware State (W) 60-50, Michigan State (L) 71-73

Next week: Oklahoma (Dec. 3 – 12:30 p.m.)

Best wins: La Salle, Delaware State

Worst losses: Portland, Temple

Has it been a very hard schedule? Yes. Have the Wildcats been killed by early-season injuries? Double yes. But should this team be better than a 2-5 start? Absolutely. Kyle Neptune is on thin ice with Cats fans, as Nova continues to underperform, even under not-so-ideal circumstances. This week, there is only one game in front of Villanova and it’s at home against Oklahoma. It’s another tough test, but a win would put the Wildcats at 3-5 with a quality win and a glimmer of hope.

9) Butler Bulldogs

Last week’s ranking: 8 (-1)

Record: 4-3

Last week: #22 Tennessee (L) 45-71, BYU (W) 75-70, NC State (L) 61-76

Next week: Kansas State (Nov. 30 – 6:30 p.m.), Tennessee Tech (Dec. 3 – 2 p.m.)

Best wins: BYU, New Orleans, St. Francis – PA

Worst losses: N/A

Give Butler some credit for taking down BYU one day after getting dismantled at the hands of Tennessee. But then, the Bulldogs were back to being blown out, this time by North Carolina State. We knew Butler might be a work in progress to start the year, but there are still many concerns. The Bulldogs are near the bottom of the country in rebounding and free throw shooting – two aspects of the game that will certainly alter things.

10) DePaul Blue Demons

Last week’s ranking: 10 (-)

Record: 3-3

Last week: Texas A&M (L) 66-82

Next week: Samford (Nov. 30 – 9 p.m.), @ Loyola Chicago (Dec. 3 – 4 p.m.)

Best wins: Minnesota, Loyola-MD, Western Illinois

Worst losses: Santa Clara

DePaul only had one game over Feast Week, losing by 16 points to a solid Texas A&M team. The Blue Demons turned the ball over 16 times and only hit 33.9% of their shots from the field. Umoja Gibson has been impactful but isn’t getting a lot of help, especially in the assists department.

11) Georgetown Hoyas

Last week’s ranking: 11 (-)

Record: 4-3

Last week: American (L) 70-74, UMBC (W) 79-70

Next week: @ Texas Tech (Nov. 30 – 8 p.m.), South Carolina (Dec. 3 – Noon)

Best wins: La Salle, Coppin State, Green Bay

Worst losses: American, Loyola Marymount, Northwestern

The Hoyas have now had three very questionable losses, the latest being the worst to American. While the Eagles are 4-2, they’ve in turn lost by 16 points to Marist and by 17 to George Mason. Georgetown got by against UMBC, but clearly, it’s another year in which GTown might be holding down the bottom of the conference. Games against Texas Tech and South Carolina give the Hoyas a chance to redeem themselves this week.

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