The non-conference schedule for college basketball has been a quick and chaotic one. Despite over 150 cancelations and constant scheduling changes due to COVID, the season has powered through and we’ve made it to conference play.
While there will still be non-conference games, Big East play officially gets underway today with St. John’s visiting Seton Hall and Villanova making the trip to Georgetown. While the conference didn’t have a great non-conference all teams are ranked within the Top-100 according to KenPom. BOC and myself figure it’s a great time to do another power rankings, so let’s get right to it.
Crier’s Power Rankings
1. Villanova- We mentioned on that pod that we weren’t concerned about Villanova dropping a game to Virginia Tech and now you see why. The Wildcats went to Austin to defeat a hot Texas Longhorn team that won the Maui Invitational.
BOC commentary: Even with the surprising loss to VTech, Nova has wins over Arizona State and Texas. Those are two wins against likely top 25 teams all year.
2. Marquette- It pains me to do this but Marquette deserves the 2-spot. They arguably boast the best non-conference win in the Big East by beating rival Wisconsin who was ranked 4th in the nation at the time. Yes they lost to Oklahoma St but they have potential #1 pick Cade Cunningham so I will give them pass. They could quickly fall down with their trip to UCLA Friday night.
BOC Commentary: I’d flip Creighton & Marquette here personally. Marquette has started hot, but I think Wisconsin is overrated. Good win for Golden Eagles, however, and they firmly belong in the top 3 at this point.
3. Creighton- There was a reason I didn’t put Creighton in the 2-spot like most when the season began. They are 3-1 and the 2nd highest Ken Pom rated team but Kansas was their only real opponent and they lost. Granted I liked the fight they showed but this Kansas team isn’t as good as they typically are. Zegarowski has been solid but hardly has set the world on fire and Mitch Ballock has only made 2 shots this year that weren’t 3s. This team sorely misses Ty-Shon Alexander on both sides of the ball. They play at Nebraska Friday before starting BE play.
BOC Commentary: If I were a Creighton fan, I’d actually be pretty happy with the team after the Kansas loss. Ballock was off in the second half, and the game should have went into OT. Their biggest issue all year will be lack of top end talent in the frontcourt. Creighton fans are probably hoping their offense will outweigh any defensive deficiencies.
4. Xavier- The X-men boast the most wins in the nation, as they are off to a 7-0 start, but it has been a rollercoaster. After destroying Oakland they followed it up with wins vs Bradley, Toledo and Eastern Kentucky by a combined 7 points. They did however win the Crosstown Shootout over Cincy and had an impressive win vs Oklahaoma. Zach Freemantle is really blossoming into an all-Big East type player.
BOC Commentary: Xavier fans would argue they should be 1 or 2 in the power rankings, and I can see why.
5. UConn– In their return to the Big East UConn is off to a solid start with a 3-0 record. James Bouknight appears to be as advertised, I may be eating crow on this one. UConn struggled a bit vs Hartford but won a rock fight against USC at Mohegan Sun. They’ve since paused all basketball activities due to covid and their game against PC 12/17 is in jeopardy.
BOC: Whaley looks like a UCONN athlete under the peak Calhoun days. Bouknight is a stud in the backcourt. UCONN should be a top 25 team all year.
6. Providence- The Friars certainly didn’t have a good Maui as they sandwiched a win over Davidson with two blow out losses to Indians and Alabama. Things may be turning around for PC as they looked great against TCU. David Duke is the superstar BOC and I have projected him to be and he’s probably the best player in the conference.
7. St Johns- The Johnnies are 5-1 and while their biggest win is BC and they lost to BYU, I continue to be impressed with what Mike Anderson is building in Queens. This team is going to be a pain in the ass in conference play, with their rampant pace.
BOC Commentary: I wasn’t a huge fan of Anderson’s signing, but he is certainly building something in Queens.
8. Seton Hall– There were a lot of questions going into the year for the Seton Hall Pirates and 6 games in we don’t have a ton of answers. Bryce Aiken is already hurt and out for the foreseeable future. Louisville and Oregon losses aren’t bad but to add a URI loss and the Pirates are sitting at 3-3 and honestly should be 2-4. Penn St was absolutely blasting them but to their credit they rallied to win in OT. Mamu has been fantastic but he needs help.
BOC Commentary: I’d have them at 5 or 6. This is a team testing itself out of conference, and it will pay dividends in conference play. They just need to get healthy.
9. Butler- The Bulldogs have only played 1 game this year and it was a 66-62 win over Western Michigan. Not known as a scorer throughout his career but Aaron Thompson dropped 21 in the opener. Butler has dealt with a bunch of cancelations due to Covid but I’m intrigued to see this team in conference play.
10. Georgetown- The Hoyas are 2-2 with a pair of 7-point losses to Navy and West Virginia. It could be a long winter for Georgetown but think Patrick Ewing will get these guys to compete. The Big East did them no favors in scheduling as they open up conference play against Villanova.
BOC commentary: It should be a rough winter at Gtown. I hope they give Ewing another year, as he is bringing in a good recruiting class.
11. DePaul*– DePaul has yet to play a game this season due to the Covid pandemic. Charlie Moore and Romeo Weems seem to be a good combo but given their past history and the fact I haven’t seen them on the court my hand is forced to put them in the basement.