As many of us already know, St. John's dropped both of their conference games this week, first falling in their Big East opener to Seton Hall before losing at home to Butler on Saturday amid some turmoil regarding one of their marquee players, Rysheed Jordan.
Despite all of this bad news however, the Johnnies still cling on to their national ranking for another week, as they dropped nine spots in the AP Poll and seven in the USA Today Coaches Poll to fall to 24th in each. Despite the national ranking, things do not get any easier for the Red Storm this week, with a date against Villanova at Madison Square Garden looming on Tuesday night in what some players are calling the "biggest game of their career."
AP Top 25
|1||Kentucky Wildcats (64)||1600||1|
|2||Duke Blue Devils||1535||2|
|13||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||775||14|
|14||West Virginia Mountaineers||712||17|
|15||Wichita State Shockers||686||16|
|17||Iowa State Cyclones||663||9|
|18||North Carolina Tar Heels||591||19|
|19||Seton Hall Pirates||448||-|
|20||Virginia Commonwealth Rams||311||27|
|22||Ohio State Buckeyes||184||20|
|24||St. John's Red Storm||92||15|
|25||Old Dominion Monarchs||80||30|
|Others Receiving Votes: Northern Iowa (12-2) 72; Iowa (10-4) 63; Butler (11-4) 53; LSU (11-2) 50; George Washington (11-3) 39; TCU (13-1) 33; Temple (11-4) 33; Colorado State (14-1) 31; Stanford (10-3) 29; South Carolina (9-3) 16; Washington (11-3) 13; Wyoming (13-2) 11; Indiana (11-3) 9; Oklahoma State (11-2) 9; Georgetown (9-4) 7; Cincinnati (10-3) 6; Dayton (11-2) 5; Brigham Young (13-4) 3; Xavier (10-4) 2; Hofstra (10-4) 1; Davidson (10-2) 1|
Poll Movements in the Big East
Dropping as well in the polls this week were the Villanova Wildcats, who lost for the first time all season on Saturday to an increasingly-dangerous Seton Hall team in overtime. Still sitting at 13-1 and in a good position nationally, the Wildcats dropped two spots in the AP and three in the Coaches to come in at 8th overall in each poll. They'll look to avenge their first loss of the season on Tuesday night against St. John's.
As expected, after beating the two teams listed above in their first two games of Big East play, the Seton Hall Pirates made their first appearance in the polls this season, standing tall at number 19 in both the AP and Coaches Poll.
This marks the first time that The Hall has been ranked since a brief stretch in January of 2012, and it's their highest ranking since the 2000-01 season. With already two top 25 wins in their back pocket going forward, the Pirates can continue their rise in the rankings this week when they travel on the road to Xavier on Wednesday and Creighton on Saturday.
Villanova, Seton Hall, and St. John's are currently the only three ranked teams in the conference right now, however the depth of the Big East this season is becoming increasingly clear as the weeks go on. In his latest "Bracketology" rankings posted earlier today, ESPN's Joe Lunardi had seven of the 10 teams in the conference currently in the tournament, a staggering increase from the four who made it last season.
Leading the way of the Big East teams not currently ranked in the top 25 this week are Butler and Georgetown. The Hoyas dropped from the AP top 25 after a 70-53 loss on New Year's Eve to Xaiver. Despite defeating Creighton three days later, it wasn't enough to get the 9-4 Hoyas ranked, and they came in at 27th in the Coaches Poll and 40th in the AP. They'll get a chance to possibly jump back into the top 25 this week with games against Marquette and at Providence.
Butler was able to hang with Villanova for much of their conference opener, but eventually fell 67-55. They responded nicely for their new, official head coach Chris Holtmann on Saturday when they dealt St. John's their first loss at Carnesecca Arena all season. After splitting the week the Bulldogs just missed the AP top 25, coming in at number 28, however they still have some work to do to impress the voters of the Coaches Poll, where they sit at 35th overall. Butler will face Providence and Xavier this upcoming week.
The sixth and final Big East team to receive votes in the polls this week was Xavier. The 10-4 Musketeers upset number 25 Georgetown on New Year's Eve before they dropped their first conference road game of the season to DePaul on Saturday. They have a chance to possibly propel themselves into the rankings next week when they take on Seton Hall and Butler on Wednesday and Saturday.
The four Big East teams absent from today's polls were DePaul, Creighton, Marquette, and Providence. However, it is early, but after two conference games DePaul fans can look at the Big East standings and see their Blue Demons tied for first place in the conference after crushing their six-game losing streak and opening up 2-0 in conference play.
Will this type of play hold for the rest of the season in Rosemont? Or will it soon be back to the Big East cellar for the usually lackluster Blue Demons? We should get an answer to that question right away as they'll face road tests at Creighton and Villanova this week.
Marquette and Providence each split their first two conference games, while Creighton joins St. John's as the only two winless teams in Big East play so far. They'll have two chances to pick up their first conference win this week with games at home against DePaul and Seton Hall.
Weekly Awards Recap
It was a Seton Hall sweep of the weekly awards handed out today in the conference, and rightfully so. Sterling Gibbs was named Big East Player of the Week after leading his team with 25 and 20 points in wins over St. John's and Villanova.
His teammate Khadeen Carrington was named Big East Rookie of the Week after averaging 14 points per game and scoring critical baskets down the stretch in the Villanova upset.
The Red Storm's D'Angelo Harrison made the Big East Honor Roll once again, and joining him were Butler's Kellen Dunham, DePaul's Billy Garrett Jr., Providence's LaDontae Henton, and Villanova's Daniel Ochefu.