1. Villanova Wildcats (12-0, last week: same)
No. 7 Villanova was close to done against Syracuse on Saturday before some late 4th-quarter magic and a dominating overtime saved their undefeated record. Nova trailed by 15 at the half, but shot 54 percent from the floor to climb back and thwart a Syracuse upset. The Wildcats are looking to go 12-0 for the first time in 53 years when they host NJIT on Tuesday. They don't want to sleep on the Highlanders, though. NJIT shocked then-No. 17 Michigan in Ann Arbor earlier this month, shooting 58.7 percent and knocking down 11 of 17 from long range.
2. St. John's Red Storm (11-1, last week: same)
The Johnnies continue to move up in the polls, jumping to No. 17 in the AP and No. 19 in the Coaches poll. The Red Storm made easy work of Long Beach State. Chris Obekpa scored 16 points to go with eight rebounds and seven blocked shots. Phil Greene IV matched Obekpa in points, while Sir'Dominic Pointer added 11 points, seven boards and seven assists of his own. The last St. John's team to start a season 10-1? The 1990-91 team that finished 23-9 before falling to eventual National Champion Duke in the Elite Eight.
3. Georgetown Hoyas (8-3, last week: same)
The Hoyas narrowly missed out on being in the Top 25, ranking No. 26 in both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls. An 81-78 win over Charlotte wasn't enough to turn voters heads. A near collapse against the 49ers was almost catastrophic. The Hoyas held a 16 point lead in the 4th before Charlotte began to fight back, pulling within one before L.J. Peak sealed it with two freebies at the end, finishing with 18 points. But a win over Indiana sure should do the deed and give the Hoyas enough to break into the polls after Christmas.
4. Seton Hall Pirates (10-2, last week: same)
Seton Hall was rolled over by a Georgia team on two-weeks rest. One of the nation's best 3-point teams (39 percent from deep) went 3-of-20 from beyond the arc. Sterling Gibbs bricked his first seven field-goal attempts and finished with just 3 points on 1-of-11 shooting. They were outscored, out-rebounded, and even out-hustled, with Georgia winning the fast break points 16-0. Nevertheless, The Hall stays stagnant at No. 4 in our rankings. A tune-up against 1-win Maine should get them back on track before Big East play begins against St. John's next week.
5. Butler Bulldogs (10-3, last week: same)
Butler dropped out of the Top 25 after a nine-point loss to Indiana. Poor shooting and too many missed opportunities doomed the Bulldogs, who allowed their first 70-point game on defense. Butler shut down Tennessee-Martin Monday, holding UT-Martin to 16-of-48 from the field. The conference's 3rd-leading scorer Kellen Dunham put up 15 points as he continues his hot shooting. Butler welcomes a Belmont team looking to return to winning form before a New Years match-up with Villanova.
6. Providence Friars (10-3, last week: 7)
The Friars notched their fourth-straight win in their non-conference finale over Miami in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational. Big East-leading scorer LaDontae Henton scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half to give Providence a double-digit boost to defeat the Hurricanes. Henton is averaging 20 points per game, and has surpassed 20 points seven times this season. With Henton in a rhythm on offense, Providence has a lot of momentum going into their Big East opener next week against Creighton.
7. Xavier Musketeers (9-3, last week: 6)
Xavier gave up a 13-point lead in the second half, but let one slip away at Auburn in a double overtime loss to the Tigers. Bad officiating was a factor, but Dee Davis was non-existent before fouling out, and despite a double-double, Matt Stainbrook didn't necessarily have his best game in an Xavier uniform. Remy Abell did score 18 points for the Musketeers, and Jalen Reynolds and Trevon Bluiett added 16 of their own, but X lost a game they should've had in the bag. The Muskies have until Sunday to clear their mind before hosting Florida Gulf Coast, the darlings of the NCAA tourney just a couple years ago.
8. Marquette Golden Eagles (7-4, last week: 10)
Deonte Burton has made up his mind and chose to transfer to Iowa State. Burton will be eligible next December with two and a half years of eligibility remaining. Regarding the current crop of Golden Eagles, they used a big second half to cruise over North Dakota on Monday. JaJuan Johnson scored 19 points and Derrick Wilson scored 15 and grabbed nine rebounds. Marquette has won three straight, and they feel like a team that's rejuvenated with the inclusion of Luke Fischer in the lineup, who led the Eagles with 22 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting in their Friday win over Alabama A&M.
9. Creighton Bluejays (9-4, last week: 8)
After a runaway victory over Texas-Pan American, the Bluejays' comeback attempt failed at North Texas on Sunday. Creighton overcame a 17-point deficit thanks to a 31-6 run, but four missed three-balls near the end gave North Texas the W. Creighton finishes non-conference play with a 9-4 record, with two solid wins over Oklahoma and at Nebraska. Austin Chatman ranks eighth in the Big East with 13.9 points per game, with Isaiah Zierden trailing not far behind with 12.2 a game.
10. DePaul Blue Demons (6-5, last week: 9)
So much for that strong start. DePaul has dropped four straight, including a blowout loss Monday night to Colorado. They get a matinee bout with Ohio Tuesday in the Diamond Head Classic, a game that the Blue Demons need to win headed into conference play. Good news? Tommy Hamilton is flourishing; he dropped a double-double in last night's loss, scoring 16 points and pulling down 12 boards. Myke Henry continues his renaissance with the Blue Demons; he currently sits fourth in the conference with 15.6 points per game.