The Big East continues to bring the drama and this week was a fantastic example of that. Big time players really stepped up this week and we also have a new name that has made the list for the first time. One thing that is certain is that the gap is closing in this race. Players are coming for that top spot. It is going to be very interesting as we hit the home stretch and the games continue to get better. Let’s start with the new face in the crowd who was technically on the list last week, but was listed with a bunch of others looking to crack into the rankings.
5) Kamar Baldwin, Butler Bulldogs
Last week: A jumbled mess
The goal is to finish in the top five for the Bachelor rose finale. Baldwin is making a really good case to be there when you consider his full body of work, the past week he has had and the fact that the Bulldogs still have a chance to get into the NCAA Tournament.
Baldwin is one of the top scorers in the league at 17.5 points per game along with five rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He has been one of the more clutch players in the conference in recent seasons and is keeping Butler hanging around in the Big East Conference.
This week, Butler went 1-1 with a loss at St. John’s in overtime and a win at home against DePaul. Baldwin had 16 points, five rebounds and three assists despite being in foul trouble in the loss to the Red Storm. He would bounce back with 25 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals in a home win over the Blue Demons. Player of the year candidates put together performances like that. That’s why Baldwin is on this list.
4) Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s Red Storm
Last week: T-3
It was a good week for the Red Storm despite two tough offensive performances from Ponds as his teammates really picked him up this week.
St. John’s defeated Butler and Villanova, but Ponds really struggled in both of the wins, which lowers him on this list.
In the win against Butler, Ponds had 14 points on 4-12 shooting from the field with seven rebounds and four steals. The Bulldogs had multiple chances to win the game, but couldn’t get it done. The Johnnies dodged a bullet and Ponds’ performance from the field made things more difficult.
On Sunday, the Red Storm knocked off Villanova at MSG for the first time since 2002. Ponds struggled again as he only had 11 points on 2-13 shooting from the field, five rebounds and three assists. Once again teammates really stepped up on both ends to help get the big win.
Despite the team’s success, Ponds had less of a role than expected and when you shoot 6-25 (24 percent) from the field in a week, that will drop you in the power rankings.
T-2) Myles Powell, Seton Hall Pirates
Last week: T-3
Powell and the Pirates had a big week. Seton Hall defeated Georgetown at home in a strong performance before defeating the Creighton Bluejays in Omaha and in the process swept the season series with the Jays.
In those wins, Powell played a massive role in the victories as he had 30 points, five rebounds and two assists in the win over the Hoyas and had 19 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win over the Jays.
Powell hit what turned out to be the game-winning three point shot against Creighton in front of a hostile environment with just under a minute to play.
The stock is rising for Powell who is gaining on the top contenders in the power rankings. This is the time to step your game up and the junior is doing just that.
T-2) Phil Booth, Villanova Wildcats
Last week: 2
Booth really struggled this week in what might have been his toughest week offensively in sometime. Villanova went 1-1 this week with a win against Providence behind 22 points, four rebounds, three assists, but five turnovers.
In the loss to St. John’s, Booth had 13 points, three rebounds and three assists on 2-11 shooting from the field.
The Cats will be fine. Booth will be fine as well, but that was the worst performance he has had in some time and it drops him on the list.
Booth is still right on Howard’s heels and if he can put together a better week he is on track to possibly catch the Marquette star.
1) Markus Howard, Marquette Golden Eagles
Last week: 1
From the start, Howard has been the man to beat and he kept it that way with one really solid performance in a win over DePaul on Tuesday.
Howard had 36 points, four rebounds and three assists in the win and is still the top dog and front runner for the award.
Short, sweet and to the point. Kind of like Howard’s jump shot.
It will take a great finish to the season to knock Howard off, but it is possible.
Did we miss anyone? Make your case in the comments or on Twitter @becb_sbn and @SSaintj7. We will be back next Monday to update the rankings!