1. Seton Hall Pirates (12-2, last week: 6)
And the Lord said you've got to rise up! As if dismantling your rivals from St. John's wasn't enough, Seton Hall stunned an elite Villanova team in one of the best games of the season. Stepback Gibbs dropped 25 on the Johnnies and 20 on the Cats, and while the absence of Isaiah Whitehead was a scare, Khadeen Carrington has stepped up as the team's secondary option, adding 17 points off the bench against Nova. Seton Hall has risen to No. 19 in both the Coaches and AP polls, and to No. 1 on our rankings. The Hall is officially back.
2. Villanova Wildcats (13-1, last week: 1)
Jay Wright's 300th win with the Wildcats was denied Saturday at The Rock, but like gravy on a biscuit, it's all good for Villanova. The Cats still rank in the top 10 in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom (subscription required), and rarely cough up the ball, averaging 11.4 turnovers per contest. They'll have to deal with the return of Rysheed Jordan when they travel to MSG to play St. John's, but the size difference between Ochefu/Pinkston and Chris Obekpa could play a huge factor in giving Villanova their 13th win over the Johnnies in their last 14 meetings.
3. Georgetown Hoyas (9-4, last week: same)
See, what had happened was... the Hoyas were rolled at Xavier last week, and their stay in the Top 25 is cut short again. The Coaches Poll was a lot more forgiving of the Xavier rout than the AP Poll, only falling to No. 26 in the Coaches compared to No. 40 in the AP. Hopefully a dominating win over Creighton got things back on track for the Hoyas. Freshmen L.J. Peak, Tre Campbell and Paul White are all playing well, tallying at least 10 points apiece in Saturday's win. The shots are falling for Georgetown as well, shooting 58.7 percent against the Bluejays and coming in to Tuesday's game with Marquette ranked 30th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, according to KenPom.
4. Butler Bulldogs (11-4, last week: same)
The Bulldogs finally have some stability with Chris Holtmann officially replacing Brandon Miller as their head coach. In his first game without the interim tag, Butler held off St. John's for a key conference win. It was Kellen Dunham's world on Saturday, and the Johnnies were just paying rent. Dunham got his swerve on, exploding for 28 points and 6 of 7 from deep, including a clutch trey late in the game that helped fend off a Red Storm comeback. Despite a 15-point performance Saturday, the Bulldogs could use a bigger contribution from Alex Barlow, who's shooting just 32 percent from deep.
5. St. John's Red Storm (11-3, last week: 2)
St. John's were full of sound and fury, but signified nothing last week. Reminiscent of last season, the Johnnies are off to a horrid start in conference play, falling at St. John's, then losing a close one at home to Butler. But the return of Rysheed Jordan following the passing of his grandmother should be a welcoming sign for the Johnnies. Can I get a witness from the congregation??? St. John's starters were gassed in Saturday's loss to the Bulldogs, all playing at least 34 minutes, including full games from Sir'Dominic Pointer and D`Angelo Harrison. Jordan's felt a tremendous amount of heartache throughout his tenure at St. John's, but coach Steve Lavin hopes he can lay it all out on the court against Villanova. They need him to in order to avoid another 0-3 conference start.
6. Providence Friars (11-4, last week: 5)
Carson Desrosiers is a steady big man underneath for the Friars. But if PC expects to be in the Big Dance, and they're on the right track at the moment, Kris Dunn and Tyler Harris need to be more productive, starting Tuesday at Butler - a game that could hold some clout on Selection Sunday.is straight butta! The Big East leader in points (21 per game) is an early favorite for Big East Player of the Year, unloading 35 points on Creighton and another 28 points in a loss at Marquette. Henton's virtually been a one-man show over the past week, and
7. Xavier Musketeers (10-4, last week: same)
So Xavier lays waste to a Top 25 Georgetown team, then turns around and loses at DePaul? I ain't saying nothing, but that ain't right. Visiting teams have more of a home-court advantage at DePaul than DePaul! X has accumulated some mind-boggling losses that might hurt them come March, but there's still plenty of time for the Muskies to seize a tournament bid with a strong conference season. Trevon Bluiett is a candidate for Big East Freshman of the Year, despite a cold streak as of late. But with Isaiah Whitehead on the sidelines, now is Bluiett's chance to stake his claim as the conference's top newcomer.
8. DePaul Blue Demons (8-7, last week: same)
Call DePaul butter, cause they're on a roll! There are just two teams coming out of opening weekend with an undefeated conference record: Seton Hall and DePaul. Missing Tommy Hamilton due to a team violation and down 13, the Blue Demons rallied to beat Marquette on New Years Eve, then held off Xavier in a 3-point win Saturday. With Myke Henry struggling, Billy Garrett is getting his swagger back, scoring 19 in a lead role against MU and going 15-10-5 against Xavier. DePaul has started Big East play 2-0 for the first time since 2008, could clinch their first three-game conference winning streak of the Purnell era Wednesday at Creighton.
9. Marquette Golden Eagles (9-5, last week: 8)
Don't playa hate, Marquette. Congratulate. The Golden Eagles let DePaul come back and stun them on New Years Eve. They got a nice bounce back win over Providence that should give Wojo's squad a tremendous boost of confidence in a developmental year. But aside from DePaul, Marquette is the only Big East team absent from KenPom's top 100. They have a chance to get a huge road win Tuesday at Georgetown. With Luke Fischer now in the starting lineup, expect a great game inside between Fischer and the Hoyas' Joshua Smith.
10. Creighton Bluejays (9-6, last week: 9)
Creighton went ice cold against the Hoyas Saturday, bricking 20 of 25 shots from deep en route to their third straight loss. In their defense, they've all been on the road. Creighton's is a good team looking to get off the schneid, and it'll be a relief for the Bluejays when they step inside CenturyLink Center for the first time in nearly three weeks against DePaul. Austin Chatman is the party that rocks the body, leading an offense that's currently in the top 70 in adjusted offensive efficiency (106). And you better recognize, Isaiah Zierden is a growing force from beyond the arc, averaging 41.2 percent from three-point range.