This is the fourth installment of a weekly series recapping the previous week of action in the Big East.
Providence’s Justin Minaya earned Big East Player of the Week after logging a total of six blocks in wins against Marquette and Xavier. The Friars have heavily relied upon the efforts of the grad transfer from South Carolina, as Minaya has only sat for three minutes of game action in the last five games.
Posh Alexander is the lone St. John’s player to be named to this week’s Big East honor roll after he scored a team-high 19 points in an 84-63 rout of Seton Hall last Monday night
This week’s conference honor roll winners are listed:
- R.J. Cole, UConn, G
- Posh Alexander, St. John’s, G
- Justin Lewis, Marquette, F
- Eric Dixon, Villanova, F
- Jack Nunge, Xavier, C
A recap of last week’s storylines...
Providence is the “never say die” team of the Big East
Yes, Providence played UConn and Seton Hall when they didn’t have their shut-down centers. Yes, advanced stats say that Providence is the luckiest team in the country and they have won more games than they should. But no matter how much doubt is cast on the Friars, they continue to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
On Wednesday night, after letting Xavier pull even in a game where the Friars were leading the majority of the time, Jared Bynum silenced the Cincinnati faithful by sinking a game-winning three with 1.5 seconds remaining to give Providence another ranked victory.
JARED BYNUM. IN CINCINNATI! @PCfriarsmbb wins at the Cintas Center, and the Friars are 17-2! #GoFriars x #BIGEASThoops pic.twitter.com/mIjs80XKdc— BIG EAST MBB (@BIGEASTMBB) January 27, 2022
On a snowy Sunday afternoon, Providence came from behind to defeat Marquette in a battle of two of the conference’s most surprising teams. Unlike the Xavier game, the Friars trailed for the majority of the contest until they pulled ahead in the waning moments thanks to a gutsy put-back dunk by Nate Watson to give the Friars the and-one and the lead.
OH DEAR LORD!! Nate Watson (@TheNate156) Condemns Darryl Morsell and his subsequent 3 generations to the SHADOW REALM with their REDICULOUS AND-1 SLAM DUNK for the #17 Providence Lead over #22 Marquette with 44.0 seconds left (Video via @MrMatthewCFB)pic.twitter.com/mYBh8gw5ty— NCAA Buzzer Beaters & Game Winners (@NCAABuzzerBters) January 30, 2022
Now the 18-2 Friars sit at the summit of the Big East with a conference record of 8-1 with 11 games to go until the Big East tournament.
Is this run of success sustainable? The stats say “probably not”. Even Vegas prefers a moribund St. John’s team as two-point favorites over the Friars in tomorrow’s clash.
Say what you will about how lucky Providence may be, but for now, they have just kept winning.
Creighton is finally slipping like most inexperienced teams do
Back on December 17th, Creighton trounced No. 9 Villanova in an impressive 20-point victory in which they held the Wildcats to 20 points. For a time, we had to wonder if Creighton could return to the Big Dance in the one season no one expected them to come close. Six weeks later, the Bluejays have come crashing down to earth and are looking like the inexperienced team many expected them to be this season.
A once-dormant Butler team came alive and drained 10 threes versus Creighton in a surprising 72-55 victory over the Bluejays on Wednesday night. In Creighton’s next game, they squandered a 36-19 halftime lead by allowing Xavier to open the second half on a 29-2 run through 11 minutes to beat the Bluejays, 74-64.
The nature of college basketball shows that experience will trump talent. For a team largely made up of freshmen and sophomores, Creighton fans should exercise patience and know their team is going to have to take their lumps before they can fully realize their potential. The Bluejays may not make the tournament this year, but the team’s cadre of electric 4-stars is already showing plenty of promise.