After getting off to their best start to a season in nearly three decades, the St. John's Red Storm have climbed another rankings plateau today as they entered the AP top 15 for the first time this season after another undefeated week.
The Red Storm are up two more spots in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Polls from 17th to 15th in the AP and from 19th to 17th in the Coaches after convincing wins over Long Beach State and Tulane over the past few days. They begin conference play with their second big road test of the season at Seton Hall on Wednesday before facing Butler at Carnesecca Arena on Saturday.
AP Top 25
|Kentucky Wildcats (65)
|Duke Blue Devils
|Iowa State Cyclones
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish
|St. John's Red Storm
|Wichita State Shockers
|West Virginia Mountaineers
|North Carolina Tar Heels
|Ohio State Buckeyes
|Northern Iowa Panthers
|Colorado State Rams
|Others Receiving Votes: TCU (12-0) 132; Virginia Commonwealth (9-3) 101; San Diego State (10-3) 40; Arkansas (10-2) 27; George Washington (9-3) 7; LSU (9-2) 7; Old Dominion (10-1) 7; Penn State (12-1) 5; UNLV (9-3) 5; Indiana (10-3) 4; Florida (7-4) 2; Minnesota (11-2) 2; Stanford (7-3) 2; Army (9-2) 1; California (10-3) 1; Davidson (9-1) 1
Poll movements in the Big East
The Villanova Wildcats have yet to relinquish the Big East's top spot in the rankings so far this season, and they moved up one spot in the AP Poll from 7th to 6th, and two spots in the Coaches from 7th to 5th today. Villanova was able to pull away from an upset-minded NJIT squad on Tuesday night for an easy 92-67 victory in their only game this past week.
With conference play beginning Wednesday, the Wildcats will also face a few tough tests to open things up when they take on Butler at home before going at Seton Hall on Saturday.
The only other Big East team to be ranked this week was Georgetown, who came in at number 25 in the AP Poll today and finally cracked the top 25 after receiving votes in each of the polls for the past seven weeks. Despite entering the AP Poll, Georgetown still somehow sits unranked in the Coaches at 27th overall.
An overtime victory against a very talented Big Ten team in Indiana propelled the Hoyas into the rankings, and they will now look to remain a top 25 contender as they face their first conference test of the season on Wednesday on the road against Xavier. Georgetown will also face Creighton at home on Saturday.
Aside from the old-school Big East powers of Villanova, St. John's, and Georgetown, only one other team in the conference was able to gain any votes in either of the polls, as Seton Hall received 12 votes in the Coaches Poll and none in the AP.
With a 10-2 record on the season, the Pirates will know a lot more about where they stand nationally and within the conference at this time next week after back to back games against top 25 conference rivals in St. John's and Villanova. The bad news for Seton Hall fans is that they will likely be without their sensational freshman Isaiah Whitehead, who is currently sidelined with a foot injury.
After dropping from the top 25 rankings last Monday, the Butler Bulldogs responded nicely this week with a pair of victories over Tennessee-Martin and Belmont. Just like Seton Hall, Butler will find out a great deal about themselves this week when they take on Villanova on Wednesday before traveling to St. John's on Saturday.
Rounding out the conference's top half currently is Providence, who after a big win against Miami on Sunday and four straight victories, may finally be getting back on track going into Big East play. The Friars are one of five teams in the conference with double-digit wins so far at 10-3, and they'll kick off conference play with games at home against Creighton and on the road at Marquette.
Coming in right behind the Friars is Xavier, with a record of 9-3 after they won their only game this week against Florida Gulf-Coast. Xavier has a chance for a statement win as Big East play begins for them with a game at home against Georgetown before they face DePaul on Saturday.
And sitting at the bottom of the conference are Creighton, Marquette, and DePaul, although with records of 9-4, 8-4, and 6-7, respectively, the three don't have a whole lot to be ashamed of. Marquette has rebounded nicely from a shaky start, and they have now won five of their last six to get some momentum going as conference play kicks off.
DePaul on the other hand, is surging downwards. The Blue Demons have dropped six straight including a winless trip to Hawaii, and at 6-7 they could be setting themselves up for yet another finish in the Big East's cellar this season. Creighton did not play a game this week and they will take on Providence on Wednesday.
Big East weekly awards
With the Big East weekly awards being handed out today as well, Georgetown's D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera took home the conference player of the week award after he scored 29 in the Hoya's win over Indiana on Saturday. Seton Hall's Angel Delgado was named Big East Rookie of the Week, while St. John's was represented by Sir'Dominic Pointer, who was named to the Big East Honor Roll along with Butler's Kellen Dunham, Marquette's Jajuan Johnson, Providence's LaDontae Henton, and Seton Hall's Sterling Gibbs.
Harrison moves up St. John's all-time scorers list
D'Angelo Harrison did not take home any awards from this past week, but he did secure a piece of St. John's history. With 21 points against Tulane on Sunday Harrison moved into sole possession of fourth place on the St. John's all-time leading scorers list with 1,829 points.