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Big East Coast Bias Power Rankings: Xavier ascends to No. 1 despite weekend loss

Despite a loss in South Orange over the weekend, Xavier ascends to No. 1 in this week's power rankings after a dominant win over Villanova

Xavier stumbled over the weekend in South Orange, but the Musketeers reclaim the No. 1 spot in our power rankings after a big win over the No. 1 team in the country.

Xavier avenged a New Years loss to Villanova with a seven-point win over the Wildcats, all but solidifying themselves as a top 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. A nine-point loss on senior night at Seton Hall doesn't hurt their case too much, but it means X can only clinch a share of the Big East regular season title if everything else falls their way.

Seton Hall also punched their ticket to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in a decade with their victory over Xavier. The Hall has avoided the typical February pitfalls that cripple the Pirates, winning eight of their last nine games and pulling away from the middle of the pack.

Speaking of, there's still some time for those teams on the bubble to crash the dance. Butler has two home games - against Seton Hall and Marquette - to prove to the committee they belong in the tournament. A win over the Hall on Wednesday could be enough to clinch a berth. Creighton and Providence do battle Wednesday night as well in a bout that could be a Day 2 matchup next week in New York.

Rank Team/Record Trending Comments

1

(25-4, 13-4)

+1

A huge win over Villanova has the Musketeers back on top of the power rankings. Even though they followed that up with a loss to Seton Hall, Xavier seems locked in to a 1 or 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament - Robert O'Neill

2

(25-4, 14-2)

-1

An angry Villanova Wildcat team bounced back from a tough loss at Xavier with a 10-point win at Marquette, stifling the Golden Eagle offense and converting turnovers into points to help pull away. Nova has a favorable end to their regular season schedule - home tilts with DePaul and Georgetown - and a win locks them in as the outright Big East regular season champs for the third year in a row. - Pierce Roberson

3

(21-7, 11-5)

--

There is an argument to be made that Seton Hall is currently the second best team in the Big East. The Pirates have won four straight and eight of their last nine. They earned two marquee wins this past week as they laid the smack down on Providence (70-52) and rode straight through No. 5 Xavier, which was fresh off an upset of then-No. 1 Villanova. With Isaiah Whitehead playing at a Player of the Year kind of level and the Pirates possessing a favorable end to the schedule (at Butler, at DePaul), they are set up for greatness. - Phil Neuffer

4


(20-9, 8-8)

-- Coach Ed Cooley noted that a trio of Friars - Kris Dunn, Junior Lomomba and Rodney Bullock - played this week at less that 100 percent while battling a virus. It certainly looked that way on Thursday night, as Seton Hall ran the Friars off the court in a 70-52, wire-to-wire victory. Dunn had a marginal impact and only Ben Bentil's 31 points kept the Friars within striking distance in the second half. Saturday brought about a welcome cupcake opponent in DePaul, and Providence rolled to an 87-66 victory despite Dunn playing just 17 minutes. A promising takeaway from Saturday's game was Kyron Cartwright and Jalen Lindsey, who chipped in with 16 and 14 points respectively. If that continues into this week, then Providence should clinch fourth place in the Big East tourney for the third straight season. Their final week includes games at home against Creighton on Wednesday, and a Saturday afternoon trip to Madison Square Garden to take on St. John's. - Joey Ciccarello

5

(18-11, 9-7)

-- The uncertainty of the Creighton Bluejays became clear in their loss to Marquette on Wednesday, yet the offensive behemoth we presumed they were unleashed itself on an unsuspecting St. John's team. With road games against Xavier and Providence to finish off the schedule this week, one thing is certain: Creighton got their groove back. - Alex Sindelar

6

(19-9, 8-8)

--

The Bulldogs had one game this week and passed the test. It might have taken an effort they didn't expect to have to exhaust, but they got the win. That's all that matters for the Bulldogs at this point and all that should matter. Win ugly? Win impressively? A win's a win this late in the season. With more victories they obtain, the more we can expect them to play their way off the bubble. - Chris Novak

7

(18-11, 7-9)

+1

It was a mixed bag for Marquette this week with an impressive victory away at Creighton in a matchup of two bubble teams before falling at home against an angry Villanova team. This week, they face two must-wins against a struggling Georgetown and a regular season finale away at Butler. As the season progresses, their lack of top tier caliber wins seems to be preventing the Golden Eagles from confirming an NCAA tournament birth. Barring a massive victory over Villanova or Xavier in the Big East tournament, Marquette seems to be headed towards the NIT. - Adam Hillman

8

(14-15, 7-9)

-1

The final nail has been hammered in Georgetown's NCAA Tournament hopes, losing their fourth straight and seventh in their last eight games. It is a really disheartening thing to see considering this is D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera's last season for the Hoyas. At 14-15 overall and 7-9 in league play, and with games at Marquette and at Villanova all that remains, Georgetown is more or less just limping to the finish line. - Phil Neuffer

9

(9-19, 3-13)

+1

The Demons rolled through the Johnnies in a rematch of the bottom two teams in the conference, highlighted by a 19-point, 10-assist performance from Billy Garrett Jr. As the season comes to a close for Chicago's Big East team, the focus turns to Garrett and whether or not he decides to test his luck and declare for the NBA Draft with the withdrawal deadline extended 10 days after the combine. - Pierce Roberson

10

(8-22, 1-16)

-1

An 0-2 week puts the Red Storm back at No. 10. Chris Mullin deserves credit for never getting downtrodden, at least publicly, but you have to assume everyone in Queens is counting the seconds until this season ends. - Robert O'Neill


Send it in, Jalen!

It's been more than a quarter century since Bill Raftery made Jerome Lane a household (first-name) name. 28 years later, it's Jalen Reynolds' turn to send it in.

Poor Whitehead. You got the win, but was it worth the poster?

Droppin' Dimes

Isaiah Whitehead has really grown in confidence during this recent stretch by Seton Hall. Beautiful dimes like this are a testament of that

Malik Albert with an exclamation point

JuCo transfer Malik Albert put a stamp on Creighton's huge win over St. John's, and got some elevation while doing it.

Big East Alum of the Week

This week's Alum of the Week goes to Kyle Lowry, who capped off a career night, scoring a career-high 43 points to help the Raptors beat the East-leading Cavaliers, with a stepback and a dagger