Villanova got another big win against an Indiana school, this time against Notre Dame. Josh Hart is having a dominant season and is the current runaway leader in the KenPom player of the year standings. The Wildcats are nearly a lock to finish the nonconference undefeated. The conference season will challenge them quickly though, with @Creighton, @Butler, and Xavier waiting in the first five games.
Creighton, Butler, and Xavier have all flirted with the 2 spot in these rankings. It's Creighton that is the last one standing. They picked up an underrated road win against Nebraska last week. The Bluejays have only one more real threat left before Big East play begins. A road test against Arizona State is all that stands in the way of a perfect nonconference record.
Everyone said it was a trap game, and the Bulldogs fell into it at Indiana State. They came out flat and frankly didn't resemble a top 50 team. But they bounced back strong and looked like a Big East contender in a top 25 matchup against Cincinnati at Hinkle Fieldhouse. They get a shot next week to prove the latter is the real them in a showdown against Indiana.
Xavier may have 2 losses, but they've played by far the toughest schedule in the conference, and both losses are "good" losses. I'm sure the Musketeers wish they could have picked up one of those resume building wins the past 2 weeks, but they've still put themselves in an excellent position for March through the 1st month of the season. Macura and Bluiett have each seen their 3 point percentage regress from last season, but I expect that trend to reverse soon.
Seton Hall picked up their 2nd top 50 equivalent win last week with a neutral court victory over California. I'm a fan of this Pirate team, but they must correct their FT shooting if they want to avoid giving away games in the Big East. They shot only 9-20 from the line against California, the second straight game Seton Hall was under 50%. Junior Khadeen Carrington is somehow shooting 55% from the 3-point line but only 53% from the free throw line.
We all expected Rodney Bullock to see an uptick in his scoring numbers with the departure of Dunn and Bentil, but who had him leading the Big East in points per game after 1 month? He's averaging 21.3 points per game while also pulling down 6.8 rebounds a game, good for 5th in the Big East. Providence just keeps churning out stars.
Markus Howard is trying to put himself in contention for Big East newcomer of the year. His double-digit scoring streak has reached 5 games. The latest was a 22 point performance against Wisconsin after receiving IV fluids a few days prior due to a stomach virus. With 2 buy games remaining to close out the nonconference schedule, Marquette should enter Big East play at a respectable 9-3. KenPom says they are a top 40 team.
Georgetown picked up a neutral court victory over La Salle, which could end up being a decent win as the Explorers project to flirt with becoming a top 100 RPI team. It's been a brutal nonconference season for the Hoyas, but they have a chance to salvage something from it next weekend on the road against Syracuse. Winning that game would be a total Georgetown move. Don't count them out.
It took a late 2nd half rally for DePaul to even make the final score look respectable against Temple. Remember back in 2013 when Billy Garrett averaged 12.4 points a game as a freshman and we thought DePaul had a star in the making? Flash forward 3 years and his average is nearly the same at 12.9 ppg but his shooting percentage has dropped over 5%. No wonder recruits seem to have no interest in the Blue Demons these days.
I keep waiting for the moment when St. John's wakes up and realizes that even though they are young they do have some talent on their roster. That didn't happen this week. Add LIU Brooklyn to the list of bad losses for the Red Storm. Only St. John's can shoot over 40% from 3 and still lose to a school whose initials I had to look up.