Mat Mlodzinski gives his Big East basketball power rankings for week 13 of the season.
Matchup of the week: Providence vs. Xavier
Sneaky good matchup of the week: Seton Hall vs. St. John’s
All games listed are EST
1) Marquette Golden Eagles
Last week’s ranking: 1 (-)
Record: 17-5 (9-2)
Last week: @ DePaul (W) 89-69
Next week: Villanova (Feb. 1 – 8:30 p.m.), Butler (Feb. 4 – 2 p.m.)
Best wins: Baylor, UConn, Providence, Creighton, @ Seton Hall
Worst losses: N/A
Marquette took care of business, handling DePaul on the road by 20 points. David Joplin channeled his inner Markus Howard, draining 8 three-pointers in the win. Don’t look now, but the Golden Eagles are the highest-ranked team in the Big East and have been atop the power rankings for two straight weeks.
2) Providence Friars
Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)
Record: 17-5 (9-2)
Last week: Butler (W) 79-58, @ Villanova (W) 70-65
Next week: @ #16 Xavier (Feb. 1 – 6:30 p.m.)
Best wins: UConn, Marquette, @ Seton Hall, St. John’s
Worst losses: N/A
Providence won both games last week, extending its win streak to three games. But this week, the Friars have a chance to put the rest of the country on notice. A win at Xavier would arguably be their best of the season, and with the Musketeers being without Zach Freemantle, the odds are trending in the Friars’ favor.
3) Xavier Musketeers
Last week’s ranking: 3 (-)
Record: 17-5 (9-2)
Last week: @ #19 UConn (W) 82-79, @ Creighton (L) 67-84
Next week: #17 Providence (Feb. 1 – 6:30 p.m.), St. John’s (Feb. 4 – 5 p.m.)
Best wins: UConn (x2), Marquette, Creighton, Florida
Worst losses: @ DePaul
How do you even sum up last week for Xavier? First, they go into UConn, and lead by double-digits for a good part of the game, and hold on for the season series sweep. Then, a second away game in a row proves difficult, as Creighton pummels Xavier by 17 points.
To make matters worse, big man Zach Freemantle, who is having a career year, has now been ruled out for at least a month with a foot injury. It’s a bleak outlook for a Xavier team competing to be on the top-four seed line in the NCAA Tournament. And it doesn’t get easier against Providence on Wednesday.
4) Creighton Bluejays
Last week’s ranking: 5 (+1)
Record: 13-8 (7-3)
Last week: St. John’s (W) 104-76, #13 Xavier (W) 84-67
Next week: @ Georgetown (Feb. 1 – 6:30 p.m.), Villanova (Feb. 4 – 7:30 p.m.)
Best wins: Xavier, Providence, Arkansas, Seton Hall
Worst losses: Nebraska, BYU
The Creighton Bluejays have officially entered the chat! After most people lost faith, this team has now won four straight, with two of those wins coming against ranked opponents.
But it’s also about the way Creighton is doing so. All five starters scored in double-figures in the 104-point offensive outburst against St. John’s. It was the same story against Xavier, but with defense and rebounding helping to hold the Musketeers to under 70 points. If you bought stock of Creighton in early January, you’d probably be a rich man by now.
5) UConn Huskies
Last week’s ranking: 4 (-1)
Record: 17-6 (6-6)
Last week: #13 Xavier (L) 79-82, @ DePaul (W) 90-76
Next week: @ Georgetown (Feb. 4 – Noon)
Best wins: Alabama, Iowa State, Creighton, Oregon, Oklahoma State, Florida
Worst losses: St. John’s, @ Seton Hall
UConn did absolutely nothing wrong to move down a spot – they just fell victim to a surging Creighton team in the power rankings.
The Huskies losing woes did continue early last week against Xavier. Dan Hurley’s squad did a nice job of battling back to make it close, but a home loss for a team desperate for a win still doesn’t make UConn fans too happy. As for DePaul, it was the Jordan Hawkins show, which should come as no surprise to anyone in Storrs.
6) Seton Hall Pirates
Last week’s ranking: 6 (-)
Record: 13-9 (6-5)
Last week: @ Butler (W) 70-49
Next week: @ St. John’s (Feb. 1 – 8:30 p.m.), DePaul (Feb. 5 – Noon)
Best wins: UConn, Rutgers, Memphis, St. John’s
Worst losses: Siena
A few blowout losses have hurt Seton Hall this season, but the Pirates returned the favor last week, beating Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse by 21 points.
This week, SHU has a legitimate chance to go 2-0 and assert itself in the conversation for the NCAA Tournament. A win at St. John’s would also give the Pirates the season series sweep.
7) Villanova Wildcats
Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)
Record: 10-11 (4-6)
Last week: #23 Providence (L) 65-70
Next week: @ #14 Marquette (Feb. 1 – 8:30 p.m.), @ Creighton (Feb. 4 – 7:30 p.m.)
Best wins: Oklahoma, St. John’s (x2), Boston College
Worst losses: Portland, Temple, @ DePaul, @ Butler
I’m sure Villanova fans can make an educated guess that the Big Dance has officially slipped away. But you’ve gotta love the effort, losing to a tough Providence team by just five points. Cam Whitmore had a game-high 21 points to go along with 9 rebounds and is looking more and more like a lottery pick in the NBA Draft every day.
8) St. John’s Red Storm
Last week’s ranking: 8 (-)
Record: 14-8 (4-7)
Last week: @ Creighton (L) 76-104, Georgetown (W) 75-73
Next week: Seton Hall (Feb. 1 – 8:30 p.m.), @ #16 Xavier (Feb. 4 – 5 p.m.)
Best wins: @ UConn, Syracuse, Butler
Worst losses: Villanova
One has to wonder how long Mike Anderson will still be in town. Now in his 4th year in Queens, Anderson’s Red Storm teams have never won more than 17 games in a season. While they should still break that this year, the early season hope was an NCAA Tournament berth, and that seems far-fetched at this point.
9) DePaul Blue Demons
Last week’s ranking: 9 (-)
Record: 9-14 (3-9)
Last week: #16 Marquette (L) 69-89, #24 UConn (L) 76-90
Next week: @ Seton Hall (Feb. 5 – Noon)
Best wins: Xavier, Villanova, Minnesota
Worst losses: Duquesne, @ Butler, @ Georgetown
DePaul is just having trouble all over the court. They’ve allowed 80 points in the last three games, giving up 90 to UConn in Tuesday’s loss. At this point, DePaul’s goal should be surpassing last year’s six wins in Big East basketball play, because postseason speak is long gone.
10) Georgetown Hoyas
Last week’s ranking: 10 (-)
Record: 6-16 (1-10)
Last week: @ St. John’s (L) 73-75
Next week: Creighton (Feb. 1 – 6:30 p.m.), #24 UConn (Feb. 4 – Noon)
Best wins: DePaul, Siena, La Salle
Worst losses: Loyola Marymount, American, @ Texas Tech, South Carolina, @ DePaul, @St. John’s
You can’t tell me that with better coaching, Georgetown wouldn’t have a little bit better of a record. The Hoyas have started to make things a bit closer, only falling by two points to St. John’s. Closing the deal is the issue.
11) Butler Bulldogs
Last week’s ranking: 11 (-)
Record: 11-12 (3-9)
Last week: @ #23 Providence (L) 58-79, Seton Hall (L) 49-70
Next week: @ #14 Marquette (Feb. 4 – 2 p.m.)
Best wins: Kansas State, BYU, Yale
Worst losses: Seton Hall (x2), @ St. John’s
Butler’s losing is becoming worse because the Bulldogs can’t seem to make games close. They’ve now lost four straight games by at least 19 points, holding down the bottom spot of the Big East basketball power rankings for a second week in a row.