1. Villanova Wildcats (10-0, last week: same)
The Wildcats used a 23-9 run during the final 8 minutes to pull away from Illinois last week, then went 3-0 over their Philadelphia 5 rivals with a rout of Temple. It's been the same old story for Villanova, with each guy giving a significant contribution on a different night. Dylan Ennis and Daniel Ochefu gave Nova a spark when the Illini seem prepared to take over in the Jimmy V classic, while Darrun Hilliard and Josh Hart both dropped 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting in Sunday's win over the Owls. Villanova's hot shooting will need to continue against Syracuse's 2-3 zone on Saturday.
2. St. John's Red Storm (8-1, last week: 4)
Chris Obekpa drew his second technical near the close of the first half against Fordham, so the Johnnies were forced to go with 6-foot-6 Sir'Dominic Pointer at center. What could've been a disaster for Steve Lavin's crew turned into a drubbing of the Rams, who were held to 38-percent shooting and turned the ball over 20 times. Two blowout wins last week pushed St. John's into the Top 25, entering at No. 23. A win over Saint Mary's on Friday would definitely strengthen the Red Storm's resume.
3. Georgetown Hoyas (6-3, last week: 2)
The Hoyas gave Kansas a fight, but were upended by a close margin at home, 75-70. But it was the statement John Thompson III's team made before the game - each player donning the "I Can't Breathe" t-shirts in support of Eric Garner - that was the play of the week for Georgetown. No matter your views on the issue, it shows a ton of character for these young men to take the torch from the NBA stars and lead collegiate athletes in what makes college a beautiful atmosphere: free speech, and the ability to let your voice be heard. Some say athletes should just stick to playing ball, but they did what they set out to do. They got your attention.
4. Seton Hall Pirates (8-1, last week: 5)
A tough first half doomed Seton Hall as they struggled to stay unbeaten at Wichita State last week. They bounced back with a win over cross-state rival St. Peter's. Brandon Mobley scored a game-high 21 points, helping the Pirates to their eighth win of the young season. Isaiah Whitehead is clearly the best freshman in the Big East, averaging almost 13 points a game, but more attention should be paid to Angel Delgado. The Dominican big is nearly dropping a double-double a game, and is quickly becoming one of the better big men in the conference.
5. Butler Bulldogs (8-2, last week: 3)
Knoxville is never an easy place to get a W, and Butler found out just that. The Bulldogs surrendered a 12-point lead just after the half, losing by 12 to Tennessee. The loss dropped Butler eight spots in the AP poll with a huge matchup against bitter rivals Indiana on the horizon, a team looking to avenge an overtime loss two years ago that knocked the Hoosiers from the No. 1 spot. If they can make some adjustments and keep up their strong physical presence on defense, Butler will have only endured a minor setback on the road to Big East competition.
6. Xavier Musketeers (8-2, last week: same)
Xavier made easy work of IUPUI and Mizzou last week, holding onto their spot at No. 6 on our rankings. The Muskies accumulated zero field goals from its top three scorers at halftime, but pulled away late, outscoring the Tigers 30-17 in the final 11:36. Xavier leads the Big East with 82.2 points per game and shooting 52.6 percent from the field. All five starters are averaging 9 points a game or more, and with an Auburn team giving up 67 points on defense playing host to the Muskies this weekend, there's no indication those numbers won't rise.
7. Providence Friars (8-3, last week: same)
After three straight losses, Providence rebounded nicely last week with a home win over in-state rival Rhode Island, and a runaway victory over America East favorite Stony Brook. The core of Henton-Dunn-Harris remains the focal point of Ed Cooley's offense, each guy dropping 15+ on the Rams, while the defense played a major role in Saturday's victory, holding Stony Brook to 31 percent shooting and forcing 15 turnovers. The Friars seem to be almost fully rebounded from their "Kentucky hangover" as they prepare for their final two non-conference games against Umass on Saturday and then Miami (FL) at the Barclays Center on Monday.
8. Creighton Bluejays (8-3, last week: 9)
All great things must come to an end, and now Creighton must focus on building a new home winning streak after their 24-game stretch of home domination was stopped by Saint Mary's Saturday in overtime. The Bluejays had the fifth-longest home winning streak in the country, their last defeat at home coming against Illinois State nearly two years ago. A further blow was dealt when JUCO transfer James Milliken was suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Games against Texas Pan-Am and North Texas should be what the doctor ordered.
9. DePaul Blue Demons (6-3, last week: 8)
DePaul is starting to look very DePaul-ish. After their best start since the Blue Demons were in diapers (or even before that), a cold night at George Washington followed by a late loss at home to Illinois State puts DePaul at 6-3. If there are any consolations to last week's slump from DePaul, it's this: the Demons still rank 1st in the Big East in 3-point percentage, and 2nd in points per game and field goal percentage. You can thank the insertion of Myke Henry and the improvements of Billy Garrett, Jamee Crockett and Tommy Hamilton for that.
10. Marquette Golden Eagles (5-4, last week: same)
Welcome to Milwaukee, Luke Fischer. The 6-foot-11 transfer from Indiana settled in to his new school with an 19-point, 8-rebound performance in Tuesday night's victory over Arizona State. Fischer gives Marquette the low-post presence it so desperately needed after the undersized Golden Eagles were manhandled by Wisconsin a week earlier. With three home games against Alabama A&M, North Dakota and Morgan State in range, Marquette has some time to develop some chemistry before Big East play kicks off New Years Eve at DePaul.