The St. John's Red Storm were predictably absent from the top 25 polls today, however two Big East teams still made the rankings, while three others received some votes.
The Red Storm were blown out on the road against Butler on Tuesday night, 85-62, however they rebounded with a blowout of their own in a must win at home on Saturday against Creighton. Now at 15-8 overall and with a 4-6 record in the conference, the Johnnies still do rank in the nation's top 50 in RPI, BPI, and strength of schedule, however they were the first team left out of the NCAA Tournament according to Joe Lunardi's latest "bracketology," released earlier today.
This week they will get a chance for a rematch against DePaul on Wednesday before they travel to the Cintas Center to take on Xavier for the first time this season on Saturday.
Poll Movements Across the Big East
The Villanova Wildcats were able to move up one spot in both polls to number six in the nation after they rolled to two dominating wins this week over Marquette and Georgetown. The 21-2 Wildcats are currently riding a four game winning streak, with each victory coming by double-digits, and have won eight of their last nine as well.
They will face a pair of very tough road games this week, beginning when they travel to Providence to face the Friars on Wednesday, and ending with a matchup against Butler on Saturday. With Butler and Providence being the second and third ranked teams behind Villanova in the conference at this point, this week could be a big opportunity for the Wildcats to assert their dominance as the Big East's top team.
Speaking of Butler, the Bulldogs moved up four spots in both polls to number 18 today, making them the second highest-ranked team in the conference. Butler won the first two games of a three game home stand with relative ease this past week, easily dismantling St. John's on Tuesday, while then holding off DePaul over the weekend.
The past week's victories now push the Bulldogs winning streak in the conference to five games, and they have now taken seven of their last eight in the conference on their way to an 18-6 overall record and an 8-3 conference record. Their only game this week will be a big one, on Saturday against Villanova in a game that will likely be for first place in the conference.
No other Big East teams were able to achieve a top 25 ranking for this week, however three teams did receive some votes, with the Providence Friars leading the way among them.
The Friars were ranked 27th in the AP Poll and 33rd in the USA Today Coaches Poll after a second straight 1-1 week. They scored a huge road win over then-24th-ranked Georgetown on Wednesday, but over the weekend they could not build upon that momentum in a loss at Xavier.
Once leading the conference as January came to a close, Providence has fallen two spots to third place with a 7-4 record in the Big East, along with a 17-7 overall mark. They'll host Villanova and Seton Hall this week on Wednesday and Saturday.
The Georgetown Hoyas predictably were dropped from both polls today after they were defeated in both of their games this week against Providence and Villanova. The Hoyas have now fallen in three of their last four games after winning four straight, and they have dropped to fourth in the conference with a 7-5 Big East record and a 15-8 overall record.
Their only game this week will be against another struggling team in Seton Hall on Tuesday, and they will then get a week off before taking on St. John's on February 17th.
Xavier also made their mark, however so slightly, on the AP Poll this week, as the Musketeers 78-69 win over Providence this weekend was able to get them two votes in the AP poll. Xavier is in a fifth place tie in the Big East right now at an even 6-6 in the conference, and they will go at Marquette and return home against St. John's this week.
But while Xavier climbed their way into the top 25 discussion this week, Seton Hall continued to play their way out of it. The Pirates were dropped completely out of the top 25 rankings today, receiving zero votes in each poll after they suffered back-to-back resume-crushing losses to both DePaul and Marquette this week.
Although their star freshman Isaiah Whitehead returned from injury on January 31st, he has struggled shooting the ball over his last two games, going just 4-21 from the field in that span. The Pirates are still in a good position to make the tournament, but they will need to get things going this week when they take on Georgetown on Tuesday and Providence on Saturday.
DePaul, Marquette, and Creighton all were able to pick up wins in the conference this week, however it's looking like all three will be ending their season hoping that they can play spoiler to a team with tournament aspirations.
The Blue Demons are still in a fifth-place tie in the conference with a 6-6 record, but they have dropped six of their last nine after a 3-0 start to Big East play.
Marquette was able to halt a six game losing streak with a win over Seton Hall this week, however they are still in ninth place in the Big East with a 3-8 conference record.
And still in the conference's cellar are the Creighton Blue Jays, who after an improbable win over Xavier on Wednesday were thrashed by St. John's over the weekend. The Blue Jays have won two of their last four, and now own a 2-10 conference record.
Weekly Awards Recap
Kellen Dunham of Butler was the choice for Big East Player of the Week today after he led the Bulldogs to an undefeated week. Dunham led the Bulldogs with 21 points against St. John's on Tuesday and followed that up with a 24-point performance against DePaul.
Freshman forward Ben Bentil of Providence was named Big East Rookie of the Week as well with averages of 16 points and just under nine rebounds for the Friars this week.
Sir`Dominic Pointer once again represented St. John's in the Big East Honor Roll today for the third straight week. Sir`Dom has been playing lights out for the Red Storm in Big East play, and that continued this week when he nearly put up a triple-double on Saturday against Creighton, including eight blocks.
With his spectacular play Pointer has to be putting himself in the conversation to take home some hardware down the road at the season's end. He is joined on the Honor Roll by Creighton's Geoffrey Groselle, DePaul's Jamee Crockett, Villanova's Darrun Hilliard, and Xavier's Jalen Reynolds.