Big East Basketball Power Rankings: Reestablishing the Second Tier

Welcome to the ninth edition of RoundTable Time’s 2018-19 Big East Power Rankings. Look out for new rankings every week, typically on Sundays or Mondays.

Previous Power Rankings:

6 Week Roundup: 12/16/2018
Closing out the Non-Conference: 12/24/2018
Week 1 of the Big East: 1/6/2019
Another Week, Another New Number One: 1/13/2019
A Two-Horse Race: 1/21/2019
Trying to Separate 3-10: 1/28/2019
Still Searching for Order: 2/5/2019
More Unexpected Results: 2/11/2019

1. Marquette:

21-4 (10-2)
Previous: 2 (+1)

Since Last Week, 1-0: W, @ DePaul

Week Recap: Markus Howard poured in 36 to follow up the 38 he scored in the win versus Villanova, as Marquette took down DePaul in route to their 21st win of the year. That’s now eight games of 30 points or more for Howard on the season. Sacar Anim was in double figures for his fourth straight game and Theo John added 6 blocks. Joey Hauser’s recent struggles continued, his 7 points scored versus DePaul gives him just 15 points in Marquette’s last four games.

Ranking Explained: With Villanova falling to St. John’s at the Garden, Marquette steps up into first place in the rankings.

Looking Forward: The Golden Eagles play Butler (2/20, 9:00) at home before travelling to Providence (2/23, 12:00).

2. Villanova

20-6 (11-2)
Previous: 1 (-1)

Since Last Week, 1-1: W, vs. Providence | L, @ St. John’s

Week Recap: Villanova played a close game versus Providence before pulling away late in their lone win of the week. The senior duo of Eric Paschall and Phil Booth combined for one of their better offensive games of the year. The two fifth-year seniors posted a combined 47 points on 18-29 from the field and 7-11 from 3-point range. Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree found opportunities inside effectively, he scored 12 points on 4-4 shooting to go with 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. In game two of the week, Nova fell at the Garden to St. John’s. Villanova’s big three scorers, Booth, Paschall and Collin Gillespie, combined for just 28 points on 5-30 shooting from the field and 2-20 shooting from 3. With those three struggling, Villanova stayed in the game behind a Big East season high from the bench. The reserves posted 26 points behind a season high 14 points from Joe Cremo. Despite the bench high, Villanova posted their least amount of points in a Big East game this season in the 71-65 loss to the Johnnies.

Ranking Explained: The loss at St. John’s gives the Cats two losses in their last three games. They drop just below Marquette this week.

Looking Forward: Villanova plays two winnable road games this week as they try to get back to their winning ways. They get Georgetown (2/20, 6:30) and later Xavier (2/24, 1:30).

3. St. John’s:

19-7 (7-6)
Previous: 3 (EVEN)

Since Last Week, 2-0: W, vs Butler | W, vs. Villanova

Week Recap: St. John’s started the week with an overtime win over Butler at Carnesecca. Mustapha Heron had a season high 28 points in the win. Marvin Clark had 18 points after he scored a combined 6 over his previous two outings. On Sunday, St. John’s came back from 19 down versus first place Villanova to grab a crucial home win. The Johnnies could not get anything going offensively in the first half, but a Justin Simon 3/4 court halftime buzzer beat and a Jay Wright second half technical foul proved to be enough to electrify both the Garden crowd and the Red Storm themselves. L.J. Figueroa picked up the offensive slack for the Johnnies and made several key 3’s during the St. John’s second half comeback and ended the game with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 4 steals. While this team is often criticized for it’s lack of scoring off the bench, it has plenty of offensive depth in its starting lineup. Not many teams can get 0 points from their bench, have guys like Shamorie Ponds and Marvin Clark combine to shoot just 4-24 and still find a way to score 71 points in a win. With the win St. John’s is now 3-1 against Villanova and Marquette, and just 4-5 versus the rest of the conference. Despite just 6 points in the Nova win, Marvin Clark went over 1,000 points in his collegiate career.

Ranking Explained: The win versus Villanova gives St. John’s a stronghold over the third spot in the rankings. The recent success of Seton Hall and St. John’s has reestablished a second tier in the Big East after Villanova and Marquette. The Big East hierarchy is no longer simply Villanova/Marquette and then everyone else.

Looking Forward: St. John’s has two revenge games this week. They first go to Providence (2/20, 8:30) to avenge their Mustapha Heron-less Garden loss from a couple weeks ago. They then welcome Seton Hall (2/23, 8:00) to the Garden to get revenge for what was their first loss of the season in their first Big East game of the season. This is one St. John’s has had circled on the calendar for a long time after a questionable whistle (to say the least) and a Seton Hall buzzer beater.

4. Seton Hall:

16-9 (7-6)
Previous: 7 (+3)

Since Last Week, 2-0: W, vs. Georgetown | W, @ Creighton

Week Recap: Seton Hall started the week with a big win over Georgetown at home that saw the Pirates lead by double digits throughout a majority of the game. Myles Powell scored 30 points, his fifth 30 point game of the season and second since the 3 point game he had at Villanova. In five games since that blowout loss at Villanova, Powell is averaging 24.6 PPG and Seton Hall is 4-1. Michael Nzei added 18 points and 9 rebounds in the win over Georgetown. 18 points is a high for Nzei since he posted 21 in the win over Miami back in November. Seton Hall closed the week by grabbing a huge win at Creighton. Myles Cale and Sandro Mamukelashvili both posted Big East season highs with 20 points and 17 points respectively. Quincy McKnight had 6 steals, including 3 in the last three minutes that were instrumental in securing the win. Myles Powell came on strong late, as he usually does, and had 19 points on 5-10 from 3. Mamu had 28 points in two games this week after posting just 13 total points over Seton Hall’s previous four games. Cale had 37 points on the week and led the offense for much of the win at Creighton. If these two can build off what they did last week and carry that over consistency into the stretch run, the Pirates could be a dangerous team with a solid group of scorers.

Ranking Explained: The recent success of Seton Hall and St. John’s has reestablished a second tier in the Big East after Villanova and Marquette. The Big East hierarchy is no longer simply Villanova/Marquette and then everyone else. Seton Hall is back.

Looking Forward: The Hall get Xavier (2/20, 7:00) before going to the Garden to play St. John’s (2/23, 8:00) in a highly anticipated rematch of their Big East opener.

5. Butler:

15-11 (6-7)
Previous: 4 (-1)

Since Last Week, 1-1: L, @ St. John’s | W, vs. DePaul

Week Recap: Butler fell in their first game of the week at Carnesecca Arena versus St. John’s. Paul Jorgensen had 15 and a career high 9 rebounds off the bench for the Bulldogs. His floater with 16 seconds remaining gave Butler a late lead, before a 1-2 trip at the line from Shamorie Ponds forced overtime where Butler ran out of gas. Kamar Baldwin led the Bulldogs with 16 points and Henry Baddley had 9 points and 8 rebounds. Butler finished the week by beating DePaul at Hinkle Fieldhouse. 91 points was Butler’s highest point total of Big East play and their second highest of the season. Kamar Baldwin led the way with 25, while Sean McDermott added 15 and Jordan Tucker and Jorgensen both chipped in 11. Jorgensen and McDermott both went 3-7 from deep and as a team, Butler went 12-28 from 3-point range.

Ranking Explained: Butler is sticking around in the conference and is now 3-1 in their last four games. They hang around as a borderline tier two team.

Looking Forward: Butler goes to Marquette (2/20, 9:00) in their only game this week. Butler also still plays a road game at Villanova later in the season. They probably need to get one of these games to have a chance at an at-large NCAA bid.

6. Georgetown:

15-10 (5-7)
Previous: 5 (-1)

Since Last Week, 0-1: L, @ Seton Hall

Week Recap: Georgetown fell to Seton Hall in their only game this week. Jessie Govan was the only starter to get going in this one, he had 20 points compared to 24 from the other four starters. Greg Malinowski had 16 points on 7-10 shooting. He had previously just scored 8 points in Georgetown’s last five games. He has not been nearly as effective as a bench player compared to when he was starting during Mac McClung’s injury.

Ranking Explained: While it looked like the Hoyas had a chance to make some noise this year, they have now lost three of four and are trending back down in the conference.

Looking Forward: Georgetown plays Villanova (2/20, 6:30) in D.C. before going to Omaha to play Creighton (2/23, 2:30).

7. DePaul:

13-11 (5-8)
Previous: 6 (-1)

Since Last Week, 0-2: L, vs. Marquette | L, @ Butler

Week Recap: The Blue Demons dropped two games this week. They first fell at home to Marquette where Femi Olujobi led the way with 19 points off the bench. He showed his offensive versatility in this one, hitting 5-8 from the field and 3-4 from deep, including a few outside shots off the dribble. Outside of Olujobi, Lyrik Shreiner tied a season high with 9 points, but no one else really got going to keep up with a 92 point output from Marquette. At Butler, Max Strus had one of his better games of Big East play with 23 points on 7-14 shooting. Eli Cain added 17 on 6-10 shooting as the Strus-Cain duo had one of their best combined games of conference play. Olujobi added 15 in his return to the starting lineup, after coming off the bench in four straight games in favor of Jaylen Butz. However, DePaul surrendered 91 points in the loss. Paul Reed had scored in double figures in eight of nine games for the Blue Demons, but he posted just 9 points in each game this week. DePaul allowed a whopping 183 points in two games this week.

Ranking Explained: DePaul’s 0-2 week has them falling a spot in the rankings this week.

Looking Forward: The Blue Demons have just one game this week, they play Creighton (2/20, 9:00) at home.

8. Xavier:

13-13 (5-8)
Previous: 10 (+2)

Since Last Week, 2-0: W, vs. Creighton | W, @ Providence

Week Recap: Xavier ended their six game losing streak by winning twice this week. They first took down Creighton at home behind 23 from Naji Marshall. 23 gave Marshall his first back-to-back 20 point game sequence of his career after he put up 22 on DePaul late last week. The inside duo of Tyrique Jones and Zach Hankins combined for 22 points and 12 rebounds. In the win versus Providence, Tyrique Jones had 19 points on 9-11 shooting to do along with 12 rebounds and 2 blocks. Marshall had 14 points to continue his solid play of late. Paul Scruggs had 9 points and 10 turnovers combined in the two games this week, but the X-men overcame his struggles.

Ranking Explained: Right after I pronounced Xavier the worst team in the conference, they win two in a row. They’re out of the basement in this week’s rankings.

Looking Forward: The Musketeers go to Seton Hall (2/20, 7:00) before welcoming Villanova (2/24, 1:30) to the Cintas Center. It’s a tough week ahead for Xavier as they try to avoid two season sweeps.

9. Providence:

14-12 (4-9)
Previous: 8 (-1)

Since Last Week, 0-2: L, @ Villanova | L, vs. Xavier

Week Recap: Providence stuck around with Villanova for a good portion of the game, but ultimately could not keep up with the superior Cats and the Phil Booth-Eric Paschall duo. Nate Watson lead the way for the Friars with 18 points and 6 rebounds. Alpha Diallo had just 11, and Providence’s 67 point scored was not enough compared to 85 from Nova. In game two, Providence lost a very winnable game at home to Xavier. Watson had another productive game with 16 points, but Diallo had his second lowest scoring game of the season with just 7 and Watson was the only Providence scorer in double figures. The Providence offense does not have enough firepower as is, but when Diallo struggles they do not stand much of a chance. Providence fell to Xavier scoring just 61 points. For the week they score just 128 points.

Ranking Explained: Another poor showing from the Friars has them toward the bottom of the rankings.

Looking Forward: Providence has two tough home games this week. First, they play St. John’s (2/20, 8:30) and then they they give it a go against Marquette (2/23, 12:00).

10. Creighton:

13-13 (4-9)
Previous: 9 (-1)

Since Last Week, 0-2: L, @ Xavier | L, vs. Seton Hall

Week Recap: Creighton dropped their first game of the week at Xavier in a game that they should have won, if it weren’t for some poor late game execution. The Jays scored just 61 points and shot just 35.9% from the field. Martin Krampelj, Ty-Shon Alexander, Davion Mintz and Mitch Ballock combined to shoot just 13-45 from the field. Despite a broken bone in his hand, Marcus Zegarowski returned at home versus Seton Hall. He was effective despite the obvious discomfort. Ty-Shon Alexander had his first 20 point game since January with 20 points on 5-11 shooting from deep. Most of his offense came in the second half. The offense, as a whole, bounced back as Creighton put up 75 points versus the Hall after a three game stretch where the Jays scored 59 points, 58 points and 61 points. However, their effort did not prove to be enough as they surrendered 81 points in the loss. In their now four game losing streak, Creighton has lost by 7, 5, 3 and 6 points. Close losses are certainly not uncommon for teams that rely heavily on young players.

Ranking Explained: Two more losses moves Creighton to the bottom of the rankings. It’s been a tough year for the young Jays.

Looking Forward: Creighton goes to Chicago to play DePaul (2/20, 9:00) before coming back home to play Georgetown (2/23, 2:30).

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