Every Monday during conference play, the Voice Sports Staff will provide its take on each team’s performance to date.
- Villanova (16-2, 6-0 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 1, unchanged
Last week: win at Georgetown (55-50), win vs. Marquette (83-68)
This week: Jan. 20 at Seton Hall, Jan. 23 vs. Providence
Another solid 2-0 week for the Wildcats, who remain undefeated in the league and have won 18 consecutive Big East games dating back to last season, the longest active conference winning streak in college basketball. Good teams find ways to win when facing adversity and that’s exactly what the Wildcats did this week. Villanova found itself down at half against Marquette and only shot 3-of-18 from three-point range against Georgetown, but the Wildcats managed to pull out a win in both games.
- Xavier (16-1, 4-1 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 2, unchanged
Last week: win at Marquette (74-66), win vs. DePaul (84-64)
This week: Jan. 19 vs. Georgetown, Jan. 23 vs. Seton Hall
The Musketeers 31 point loss to Villanova in the conference opener is looking more and more like a fluke. Ever since the blowout loss, which could be partially blamed to freshman guard Edward Sumner’s awful fall that caused him to be taken off in a stretcher, Head Coach Chris Mack’s team has been firing on all cylinders. A tough road win on the road against Marquette helped the Musketeers continue their stretch of hot play, as they used the momentum to blow out cellar-dwelling DePaul. Xavier will host Georgetown and Seton Hall this week, and the Musketeers will need to continue their recent play to avoid a stunning upset.
- Butler (13-4, 2-3 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 6, ↑ 3 spots
Last week: win vs. St. John’s (78-58)
This week: Jan. 19 at Providence, Jan. 23 at Creighton
Tragedy struck for the Butler Basketball program earlier this week, when former center Andrew Smith, a member of the 2010 and 2011 Final Four teams, passed away from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The Bulldogs won an emotional game against the Red Storm and now face a pair of challenging road games at Providence and Creighton. On the first day of conference play, the Bulldogs lost at home against Providence, and the team will look to exact their revenge when they travel to Rhode Island for a rematch.
- Providence (15-3, 3-2 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 3, ↓ 1 spots
Last week: loss vs. Seton Hall (81-72), win at Creighton (50-48)
This week: Jan. 19 vs. Butler, Jan. 23 at Villanova
The Friars were a buzzer-beater away from going 0-2 this past week, but thanks to junior guard Kris Dunn’s heroics against Creighton, it never got that far. The Friars seem hard to figure out early on in conference play. Dunn and sophomore forward Ben Bentil are unstoppable at times but the supporting cast determines the success of this team. A tough week against two ranked opponents, Butler and Villanova, should provide further clarity.
- Creighton (13-6, 4-2 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 4, ↓ 1 spots
Last week: win at DePaul (91-80), loss vs. Providence (50-48)
This week: Jan. 23 vs. Butler
In similar fashion to the Friars, the Bluejays were a Kris Dunn buzzer-beater away from an impressive 2-0 week. Head Coach Greg McDermott’s squad continues to surprise the league with its play after low expectations entering this season. While their conference wins have only come against teams in the bottom half of our power rankings, the Bluejays will have a chance to earn a marquee win at home against Butler this week.
- Seton Hall (13-4, 3-2 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 8, ↑ 2 spots
Last week: win at Providence (81-72)
This week: Jan. 20 vs. Villanova, Jan. 23 at Xavier
Just when it seemed like the Pirates would revert back to last year in terms of team chemistry and underperforming talent, Head Coach Kevin Willard’s team pulled off a gritty road win at Providence. Sophomore guard Khadeen Carrington took another step of improvement Saturday with 22 points, making all 12 of his free throws.
- Georgetown (11-7, 4-2 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 7, unchanged
Last week: loss vs. Villanova (55-50), win at St. John’s (93-73)
This week: Jan. 19 at Xavier, Jan. 23 at Connecticut
Another opportunity against a top-10 opponent turned into another heartbreak as the Hoyas somehow found a way to stay in the game late against Villanova despite shooting a season-worst 33 percent. It won’t getting any easier for the Hoyas this week with road matchups at Xavier and Connecticut. If the Hoyas want to get to the NCAA Tournament this March, they must finish this week with at least one win.
- Marquette (12-6, 2-4 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 5, ↓ 3 spots
Last week: loss vs. Xavier (74-66), loss at Villanova (83-68)
This week: Jan. 20 vs. DePaul, Jan. 23 at St. John’s
The bad news for Marquette? They’ve lost two in a row to the league’s stalwarts in Villanova and Xavier. The good news? They’ve got a relatively easy week against DePaul and St. John’s. The quality wins are there for Marquette résumé-wise, Providence and Arizona State, but a weak non-conference schedule has padded their win total and weakened their RPI. A loss this week to either DePaul or St. John’s would damage their shaky NCAA at-large candidacy. An 0-2 week would be catastrophic.
- DePaul (6-12, 0-6 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 9
Last week: loss vs. Creighton (91-80), loss at Xavier (84-64)
This week: Jan. 20 at Marquette
Is it possible to have two teams ranked at 10? Because DePaul and St. John’s clearly are the junior varsity to the rest of the Big East. But since DePaul’s losses on average haven’t been as large as St. John’s, they’re slated at No. 9 on our list this week. The Blue Demons have lost six in a row since downing then-No. 20 George Washington on Dec. 23.
- St. John’s (7-12, 0-6 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 10
Last week: loss at Butler (78-58), loss vs. Georgetown (93-73)
This week: Jan. 23 vs. Marquette
The Red Storm are counting down the days until the 2016-2017 season. After another week of blowout losses, the Johnnies have proven all they’re winning this year is the Big East participation award. The St. John’s offense is bottoming out with the absence of freshman center Yankuba Sima’s efficient minutes due to a broken hand, as the team was operating at 39 percent both from the floor and downtown in the home loss to Georgetown. We can only wonder what rookie Head Coach Chris Mullin could manage with a legitimate roster.