One more week of Big East Hoops has passed, and boy, was it a crazy one. The three top teams in last week’s power rankings all fell, and things are looking up for the old guard of the Big East. Without any further ado, welcome back to the Mailley Power Index: the only power rankings you should care about.
Another week has passed, and DePaul has not figured out how to win more than one Big East basketball game. They were handled by Butler 68-58, even though senior Javon Freeman-Liberty put up a season-high 26 and 8. This is a common thread for the Blue Demons — they have some good players. Romeo Weems, Charlie Moore, and Javon Freeman-Liberty are a trio that anyone would expect to put up W’s on any other team, but it looks like the obstacle to DePaul’s success recently is coaching.
As a side note, DePaul does have the best names of any team in the conference. You’e got names like “Freeman-Liberty,” “Paulie Paulicap,” “Kobe Elvis,” and my personal favorite, “Courvisier McCauley,” make up a roster that challenges any in Division 1.
Butler didn’t play too hot this week. They fell to Marquette by 3 after being dominated most of the game, and then they only beat DePaul, which honestly is not a game I’m sure you can still put in the win column at this point. They next play a tough St. John’s team tomorrow.
Providence got absolutely worked by Seton Hall this week, with star player David Duke putting up a stat line unbefitting of a Catholic college: 6, 6, and 6. Nate Watson put up another lukewarm performance, but the true key to understanding this L is in the game flow summary:
See that? Seven separate cold streaks. You don’t win basketball games like that. For a second there, I thought Providence was next up. If they beat UConn Wednesday, maybe they can reconvince me.
Marquette has only had an alright week since we last checked in on them. They beat Butler by 3, but in the process committed a jaw dropping 21 turnovers. Theo John struggled on the glass this game, failing to grab a singular offensive board, and his struggles continued into the Golden Eagles’ 3 point loss against Creighton on Saturday. DJ Carton put up 2 long balls down the stretch to bring Marquette into striking distance, but failed to convert. I’ll give him a pass, though, because he went 6-7 from the field vs Butler and did this against Creighton:
The Hoyas are back? That’s what some fans say and, I’ll admit, after the victory against Creighton coming out of Covid Purgatory, I was delusional enough to think that we had a shot against Nova. #15 is the highest ranking we’ve beat in the Ewing Era. But the thing about Georgetown is that they tend to be the team that Big East players have their career highs against, and Jermaine Samuels was the latest player to take advantage of that. Georgetown cannot defend the perimeter, and let Nova shoot 50% from three, with Samuels shooting 6 of 7 from 3 point land. That being said, Georgetown covered the spread. Good teams win, great teams cover.
Now, may ask why I’m putting a 3-6 team above a whole bunch of 5-8’s. You might think its because I’m a fan, but from a totally neutral point of view, I’m seeing things I haven’t seen the Hoyas do all season. They’re playing tighter basketball with less turnovers, Chudier Bile is starting to hit his shots, and the Harris-Blair duo is starting to become dangerous. I like what I see, and looking through the lens of the Hoyas’ last week of basketball, they’re a better team than the ones above. They play (now #19) Creighton tomorrow, a must see game.
St John’s (7-6)
The Johnnies took a huge jump up the power rankings this week, and damn it, they deserve it. They beat the brakes off of Villanova, and their electric backcourt of Julian Champagnie and Posh Alexander combined for 30 points. The team as a whole had a higher 3pt percentage than 2pt percentage — 43.5% to 41%, and actually defended at range, what Georgetown failed to do. They play at Butler tomorrow, what should be an easy dub before they take a break and play Xavier next week.
I don’t really have a whole lot new on Xavier, as they’ve been in Covid Purgatory since they beat Butler, and before that they hadn’t played since the 10th of January. That said, I’m really excited for them to play UConn on Saturday. If they can come out of quarantine and pick up a win, they would solidify themselves on the stronger side of the bracket seedings.
The Good: UConn could get James Bouknight back Wednesday for their game against Providence. If you need a reminder of why this is a big deal, consider the following would-be poster of the decade:
The Bad: Sandro Mamelukashvili and Myles Cale brutalized the Huskies Saturday. UConn fell to an 18-point deficit early on and couldn’t claw themselves out of the abyss.
The Ugly: UConn has a tough stretch to close out the season: they have to play a tough Providence squad looking for a bounce back win, then Xavier, Providence again, and then Villanova. Sheesh.
#19 Creighton (10-4)
Coming off their loss to Georgetown, I had to drop Creighton a ranking. Georgetown is a super easy team to prepare for — they can’t guard the high pick and roll, and they can’t guard the 3. For a team that shoots as well as Creighton does, they really shouldn’t have an excuse. They do have a chance to redeem themselves tomorrow, and to see if they can bury Georgetown early and get back to their winning ways.
Seton Hall (11-7)
I tried to think of a pirate pun to open this section, but the ones I came up with were bad enough to get my blog password revoked. So, I’ll just say this: Seton Hall is getting hot, and they are not the team you want to get hot. They have some time to catch a breather before they close out the rest of their regular season with six eminently winnable games. Honestly, I think their worst case scenario is they close out the season 16-9 before the tournament. If Mamu and Shavar keep turning up, Seton Hall could be a dangerous team in march.
#5 Villanova (7-1)
There have been two constants since I starting writing this blog: DePaul sucks and Villanova is the undisputed king of the Big East, and I don’t see those truths turning false any time soon. However, Villanova did lose to St. Johns off of poor performances from Jermaine Samuels and Colin Gillespie, and they’re in the opposite situation of Seton Hall: their schedule ratchets up in difficulty as they finish off their season. But I fully expect Villanova to win the majority of their final games and roll into march in contention for a 1-seed.
Games to Watch:
#19 Creighton vs. Georgetown, 9PM 2/9 CBSSN
UConn vs. Providence, 4PM 2/10 FS1
#5 Villanova vs #19 Creighton, 5 PM 2/13 FOX