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Big East Power Rankings: Week two. Villanova back on top

Nova reclaims the top spot in our power rankings, while Butler climbs the ladder after an impressive week in the Bahamas.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
1. Villanova Wildcats (6-0, last ranking: 2)

A week after sliding to No. 2, Villanova reigns supreme atop the Big East power rankings once again after a strong week at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn. The 'Cats trounced VCU by 24 before inking out a close one in the finals against Michigan. Nova's been efficient on both sides of the ball, complimenting a balanced offensive arsenal with a solid defense. 7 players are averaging between 7 and 13 points a game, and opponents are averaging 55 points against Villanova, who held the Wolverines to their fewest points in a non-conference game in four years

2. Georgetown Hoyas (4-2, last ranking: 3)

Georgetown improves to No. 2, despite falling short to No. 2 Wisconsin in the Battle 4 Atlantis semis and losing a "non-conference" Big East preview to Butler in the third-place game. Still, there are no qualms in DC. Georgetown earned a quality win against a tough opponent in Florida, and took the Badgers to the limit, physically dominating Frank Kaminsky inside the paint. The Hoyas come out of the Bahamas looking strong in spite of the two losses on record.

3. Providence Friars (6-1, last ranking: 4)

Providence is no longer unbeaten after taking a beating at Kentucky, 58-38. LaDontae Henton entered yesterday's game as one of the top scorers in the nation, but he was stymied by the Wildcat defense, knocking down just one field goal in 34 minutes yesterday. Still, he leads the Big East in points with 21.3 PPG, and he's a big reason why the Friars are still ascending in the rankings.

4. Butler Bulldogs (5-1, last ranking: 7)

Butler arguably had the best Feast Week of all the Big East teams. Perhaps the only Butler that had a better week was Jimmy (or the guys that were tipped handsomely at the president's Thanksgiving dinner. The Bulldogs pulled off a stunning 74-66 upset of No. 5 North Carolina in the Bahamas. They didn't come away with the Battle 4 Atlantis championship (that honor goes to Wisconsin), but a win over Georgetown in the third-place game may matter more for the Bulldogs. At 5-1, not only have they proven they can match up with the elite of college basketball, they can contend in a Big East that has improved from top to bottom.

5. Xavier Musketeers (5-2, last ranking: 1)

After stealing the top spot last week, Xavier laid an egg at the Wooden Classic in Southern California. The Muskies failed to protect a halftime lead against UTEP, then struggled mightily against a Long Beach State team they destroyed at the Cintas Center weeks ago. Xavier shot an abysmal 2-for-16 from beyond the arch against LBSU, who nearly handed them the game in the final seconds. Nevertheless, Matt Stainbrook continues to be a force underneath the basket, as he took home Wooden Legacy All-Tournament honors, averaging 14.7 PPG and 9 RPG in the tournament.


6. Seton Hall Pirates (5-0, last ranking: 6)

The Hall are the only other undefeated in the Big East, but they're playing the Rodney Dangerfield card as we enter November. Sterling Gibbs dropped 40 on Illinois State to help Seton Hall capture the Paradise Jam championship, their first in-season tournament title in 7 years. The tournament MVP scored 11 in Saturday's win over George Washington, but he took a bit of a backseat thanks to some excellent play from Isaiah Whitehead, Angel Delgado and Brandon Mobley. The Pirates look sound through the first five games of the season, but they'll need to take down some quality teams to earn some "respect" in the rankings.

7. Creighton Bluejays (6-1, last ranking: 5)

The Bluejays could still be an unbeaten if not for a 12-3 run by Ole Miss to beat Creighton in the Emerald Coast Classic in Florida. They followed that up with a 3-for-14 second-half clip in Saturday's win over Middle Tennessee State. There's no doubt the offense will bounce back from a lackluster end to their weekend in Florida, but the woes that hindered Creighton on the offensive glass last season seem to have stuck with them, collecting an average of 31.7% of offensive rebounds so far this young season. Creighton must turn it around quick with road contests at Tulsa and at in-state rival Nebraska on the horizon.

8. St. John's Red Storm (4-1, last ranking: 8)

The Johnnies advanced to title game of the NIT Season Tip-off before succumbing to No. 10 Gonzaga. Rysheed Jordan earned All-Tournament honors, and he's one of the leading scorers on the Red Storm, averaging 17.6 PPG, but he also turned the ball over an astonishing 9 times in the Gonzaga loss. St. John's got into foul trouble early, and their smaller lineup, accompanied with a myriad of mental errors, became their achilles heel. But this is still a team comprised of 3 seniors in the starting rotation, and a talented guard running the point. They'll get a chance to get back on track Tuesday against Niagara before heading upstate to face old-Big East rival Syracuse this weekend.

9. Marquette Golden Eagles (4-3, last ranking: 9)

In defense of the Golden Eagles, two of their three losses are what you would call "good losses". Forget the debacle at home against Nebraska-Omaha, Marquette kept it close against Michigan State, who wasn't unable to pull away until the second half. MU comes out of the Orlando Classic with a third-place finish, thanks to Matt Carlino's tournament record 38 points on Georgia Tech and Duane Wilson's 30-point performance against Tennessee. But their defense has been atrocious, with opponents are shooting a near 50-percent clip on the Golden Eagles. That needs to be addressed with No. 2 Wisconsin coming to town Saturday. National eyes will be on Wojo and Co., and they'll need to follow Georgetown's blueprint for shutting down Frank Kaminsky if they want to shock the nation.

10. DePaul Blue Demons (3-1, last ranking: 10)

DePaul has beaten a Pac-12 opponent in four consecutive seasons after their take down of Stanford Sunday. It doesn't make up for getting stuffed at home by Lehigh earlier in the week, but it was an example of the dangerous potential this offense can achieve. Myke Henry is becoming the player Illinois thought they'd get when he signed out of high school. He put up 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting and leads the Blue Demons with 19.3 PPG. If DePaul can play to the level of better opponents more often than to the level of lesser opponents, rising from the cellar of the Big East doesn't sound that far-fetched of an idea.