1. Villanova Wildcats (17-2, last week: same)
Villanova fans should be unfazed after a bad night in DC. Despite being pushed around by a physical Georgetown team en route to their 2nd loss of the season, Nova still has a favorable schedule looking forward. Three games against Creighton, DePaul and Marquette will get the 'Cats ready for a big rematch in Philly with the Hoyas. The lone bright spot in Monday's loss has to be Ryan Arcidiacono, who has let loose for 48 points in his last three conference games. The trend may continue against a dreadful Creighton backcourt Sunday.
2. Seton Hall Pirates (13-4, last week: same)
The Pirates were dealt their first home loss of the season by a good road team in Butler, but don't question the fight from The Hall. Sterling Gibbs fouled out in overtime after exploding for 30 points, freshmen Khadeen Carrington (20 points) and Angel Delgado (15 rebounds) both posted career-bests, and Seton Hall needed a run late in regulation just to send it to OT. The 24th-ranked team in the country welcomes DePaul to the Rock Wednesday, a team who has never beaten Seton Hall in Jersey and have lost 49 straight to ranked opponents. DePaul does have Seton Hall's number though. Billy Garrett had 15 points in the Demons' 65-60 home win over The Hall last February.
3. Georgetown Hoyas (13-5, last week: 5)
The Hoyas are in sole possession of first place in the Big East, but is number 3 in our rankings? THE DISRESPECT! Georgetown had a helluva week, taking down an improved DePaul team on the road, beating Butler on a Isaac Copeland 3-pointer with 5 seconds left, then putting a dub up on No. 4 Villanova. So why are they number 3? Beats me, the Hoyas have every right to claim they're the best in the Big East. They forced a Villanova team that rarely coughs up the rock to give up 17 turnovers and turned them into 24 points. Isaac Copeland is showing why he was one of the more highly-touted recruits coming out of college, setting a career-high with 17 points on just six shots. Georgetown's ability to stay balanced on offense and give a shutdown effort on the defensive end has the Hoyas on top of the conference after three weeks of play.
4. Butler Bulldogs (13-6, last week: same)
Butler could very well be No. 1 in our rankings if a few things have gone their way. They've played one of the toughest schedules in the country, currently sitting 17th in the latest RPI rankings, knocked off two Top-25 teams on the road in St. John's and Seton Hall, and their conference losses have come to three of the five best teams in the Big East, with a second half comeback by Providence and an Isaac Copeland three keeping them from a 5-1 conference record. The Bulldogs get Creighton at home before the Pirates come to Indianapolis to avenge last week's overtime loss. Best of luck to The Hall, as Butler boasts one of the best defenses in the country, according to KenPom ($$$).
5. Providence Friars (14-5, last week: 3)
PC bounced back from a rough home loss to St. John's by cruising over Creighton last Saturday. The two-headed monster of Kris Dunn and LaDontae Henton in the backcourt scored 39 points on the Bluejays, and Tyler Harris also scored in double figures with 13 points of his own. Providence needs to lean on their top three scorers with one of the best offenses in the Big East coming to town in Xavier. A matchup to watch will be how Carsons Desrosiers matches up with the machine down low known as Matt Stainbrook.
6. DePaul Blue Demons (10-9, last week: same)
The Blue Demons have already exceeded their conference win total from last year, coming back from down 11 points to get an OT victory over St. John's at the Rosemont. DePaul overcame 22 turnovers and a poor shooting performance to best the Johnnies for their fourth conference win of the season, putting them in good position with three tough road games coming up at Seton Hall, Xavier and Providence. The good thing is, they already have the formula to beating Xavier, and although they have never beaten Seton Hall on the road, the Blue Demons are riding a wave of momentum they haven't seen since the Wilson Chandler era.
7. Xavier Musketeers (12-6, last week: same)
Xavier is one of the best home teams in the nation, holding a perfect 10-0 record at the Cintas Center this season. But they've lost their last four games away from Cincinnati, five of their last six, and three of their next four is away from home, starting Thursday night at Providence. Xavier might have one of the best offensive teams in the country, ranking among the top of most categories on KenPom's scouting report ($$$), but they've been horrendous around the perimeter, allowing 36 percent from deep this season. Coach Chris Mack will have to patch up his team's defensive woes as the Muskies approach their toughest stretch of the season.
8. St. John's Red Storm (12-5, last week: same)
St. John's is still in great position to make the NCAA Tournament, despite a 1-4 start to their conference schedule. Rysheed Jordan has been great since his return, scoring 17 points in each of his last two games, and D`Angelo Harrison and Phil Greene IV keep putting up points in bunches. The Johnnies, one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the country, made a season-high 10 three's in their win over Providence. A missed opportunity at DePaul shouldn't drop St. John's confidence, however, with Marquette coming to the Garden Wednesday and a chance to spoil Coach K's shot at 1,000 wins when Duke visits MSG Sunday.
9. Marquette Golden Eagles (10-7, last week: same)
Marquette has been pretty competitive thus far in conference play. They've made DePaul, Georgetown and Xavier work for their wins while staying perfect in Big East play at home. But Wojo's boys face a daunting schedule ahead of them: at St. John's, vs. Georgetown, vs. Seton Hall, vs. Butler, at Villanova, at Seton Hall, vs. Xavier. Matt Carlino and Juan Anderson have played solid ball in conference play, and Luke Fischer's added a great low-post presence for the Golden Eagles, but Marquette is in for a rough stretch of games these next few weeks.
10. Creighton Bluejays (9-10, last week: same)
After a hot start to open the season, Creighton has fizzled, losing its last seven games, 8 of their last 9. The Bluejays' leading scorer Austin Chatman was held scoreless in Sunday's loss to Providence, but James Milliken kept Creighton's offense going with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Milliken has played his way out of the doghouse after an early-season suspension, scoring 47 points since he entered the starting rotation against Seton Hall. If Milliken's hot streak continues and Chatman can find his shot, the Bluejays are due for a win very soon.