Each week during conference play, the Voice Sports Staff will provide its take on each team’s performance to date.
- Providence (17-3, 5-2 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 4, ↑ 3 spots
Last week: win at Villanova (82-76 OT), win vs. Butler (71-68)
This week: Jan. 26 vs. Xavier, Jan. 30 at Georgetown
What happens when you knock off two ranked opponents, including then-No. 4 Villanova on the road, in the same week? You earn the right to be at the top of our weekly power rankings. Sophomore forward Ben Bentil and junior guard Kris Dunn continue to form the best 1-2 punch in the league. It was Bentil this week who got all the glory, earning Big East Player of the Week after playing all possible 85 minutes this week and averaging 25.5 points and 10 rebounds per game.
- Villanova (17-3, 7-1 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 1, ↓ 1 spot
Last week: loss vs. Providence (82-76 OT) , win at Seton Hall (72-71)
This week: Jan. 31 at St. John’s
The Wildcats saw their 22-game conference winning streak snapped Sunday afternoon at the hands of Providence. But there is no reason to be concerned for Head Coach Jay Wright’s team. Villanova showed incredible mental toughness at Seton Hall, fighting a hostile crowd and one of the nation’s most surprising teams. The Wildcats then battled with Providence until the final seconds, but had no answer for Providence’s combination of Dunn and Bentil. With only one game against cellar-dwelling St. John’s on the slate this week, the Wildcats can finally catch up on some much needed rest.
- Xavier (17-2, 5-2 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 2, ↓ 1 spot
Last week: win vs. Seton Hall (84-76), loss vs. Georgetown (81-72)
This week: Jan. 26 at Providence, Jan. 30 at DePaul
The Musketeers bounced back Saturday after an uncharacteristic home loss to Georgetown, a team that Head Coach Chris Mack and company have had success with since joining the Big East in 2013. Xavier is still nationally ranked within the top 10, and will have a chance to prove its worth against a stellar Providence team on the road this Tuesday.
- Creighton (14-6, 5-2 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 5, ↑ 1 spot
Last week: win vs. Butler (72-64)
This week: Jan. 26 at Georgetown, Jan. 30 vs. Seton Hall
Surprise! Surprise! The Bluejays have defied all expectations this year, sitting at 5-2 in the Big East after downing a then-ranked Butler opponent at home. Junior guard Maurice Watson Jr. continues to lead the charge, making himself a darkhorse candidate for Big East Player of the Year. The Bluejays have an opportunity to complete the season sweep against two opponents, Georgetown and Seton Hall, to put themselves in solid position for an NCAA Tournament bid.
- Georgetown (12-8, 5-2 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 7, ↑ 2 spots
Last week: loss at Connecticut (68-62), win at Xavier (81-72)
This week: Jan. 26 vs. Creighton, Jan. 30 vs. Providence
Last week could have been a catapult for the Hoyas in their push for an NCAA tournament berth. A victory on the road over then-fifth-ranked Xavier certainly gave the Blue and Gray a quality win to work with, but the team failed to convert on the opportunity to add another victory over rival UConn on Saturday. We saw the Hoyas at their best versus Xavier—moving the ball, running in transition, locking down on defense. As has been the case in past years, it is inconsistency that plagues Georgetown, as they failed to score a point in the final 4:32 on Saturday. The Hoyas need a sweep versus Creighton and Providence this week to stay in at-large bid contention.
- Seton Hall (13-6, 3-4 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 6, unchanged
Last week: loss at Xavier (84-76), loss vs. Villanova (72-71)
This week: Jan. 27 vs. St. John’s, Jan. 30 at Creighton
The Pirates stumbled against the very top of the conference last week after their nine-point victory over Providence. It’s tough to fault Seton Hall for falling to the sixth and seventh-ranked teams in the nation, especially the one-point loss to Villanova. The bright side from last week came in the form of sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead, who dropped 21 against Villanova and 17 against Xavier. With a near sure-fire win against St. John’s at home coming up for the Pirates to find their footing, it will come down to a road trip against a legit Creighton squad for Seton Hall to break .500 in conference play.
- Butler (13-6, 2-5 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 3, ↓ 4 spots
Last week: loss at Creighton (72-64), loss at Providence (71-68)
This week: Jan. 27 vs. DePaul, Jan. 30 at Marquette
Panic is in the air at Hinkle Fieldhouse. After starting their season 11-1, the Bulldogs have completely faltered in conference play. Another 0-2 week has put what looked like a surefire tournament team right on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. However, there’s nothing a week with league bottom feeders DePaul and Marquette can’t fix. Well, unless you’re Marquette, who went 1-1 with a similar stretch against St. John’s and DePaul last week.
- DePaul (7-12, 1-6 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 9, ↑ 1 spot
Last week: win at Marquette (57-56)
This week: Jan. 27 at Butler, Jan. 30 vs. Xavier
Head Coach Dave Leitao picked up his first Big East win as returning coach on the road at Marquette. Although the Golden Eagles may be having a down year, it’s always impressive to get a road win up at the Bradley Center. Yet an upcoming week that includes Butler and Xavier may deflate any goodwill recently built up.
- Marquette (13-7, 3-5 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 8, ↓ 1 spot
Last week: win at St. John’s (78-73), loss vs. DePaul (57-56)
This week: Jan. 27 vs. Stetson, Jan. 30 vs. Butler
The Golden Eagles can virtually kiss their NCAA Tournament hopes goodbye with a home loss to DePaul. But freshman forward Henry Ellenson continues to shine, earning Big East Freshman of the Week for the fourth time this season, after averaging 13.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 4.0 blocks per game this past week.
- St. John’s (7-13, 0-7 Big East)
Last week’s ranking: 10, unchanged
Last week: loss vs. Marquette (78-73)
This week: Jan. 27 at Seton Hall, Jan. 31 vs. Villanova
Is this really anything that can be said? Head Coach Chris Mullin knew his rebuilding process would take a while. But based on the Red Storm’s 0-7 start, that wait may be even longer.