World-Herald staff writer Steven Pivovar ranks the Big East men's basketball teams (with national RPI rankings from NCAA.com).
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1. Creighton (22-4, 12-2, 8th)
This week: Seton Hall. Bluejays have trailed 23½ minutes of the 560 that they have played in winning their 14 home games this season.
2. Villanova (23-3, 11-2, 5th)
This week: St. John's, Butler. Wins in two of three road games boost championship hopes for the Wildcats, who play four of their final five at home.
3. St. John's (18-9, 8-6, 52nd)
This week: at Villanova, Xavier. Beaten by 17 points in early-January meeting with Georgetown, Red Storm pound Hoyas in rematch, winning by 22.
4. Marquette (15-11, 7-6, 76th)
This week: at DePaul. Eleven of Golden Eagles' wins have come against teams with RPIs of 124 or higher, including six against opponents ranked 294th or higher.
5. Xavier (18-8, 8-5, 41st)
This week: at Georgetown, at St. John's. Upcoming home games against Villanova and Creighton loom large for a team that has seen once bright NCAA hopes cloud a bit.
6. Providence (17-10, 7-7, 57th)
This week: at Butler. Friars' bid to get back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004 looking shaky as three of last four league games are on the road.
7. Georgetown (15-10, 6-7, 58th)
This week: at Seton Hall, Xavier. After committing 19 turnovers in their three previous games, the Hoyas had 14 in their blowout loss to St. John's.
8. Seton Hall (13-12, 4-8, 140th)
This week: Georgetown, at Creighton, at DePaul. Pirates lead the league in heartbreak with three conference losses by one point, including two against St. John's.
9. Butler (12-14, 2-12, 136th)
This week: Providence, at Villanova. Bulldogs hadn't had a five-game skid in league play since the 1989-90 season; they've had two this year.
10. DePaul (10-17, 2-12, 124th)
This week: Marquette, Seton Hall. Athletic Director Jean Lenti-Ponsetto's two basketball hires — Jerry Wainwright and Oliver Purnell — have produced 99 wins in nine seasons.
Player of the week: Creighton forward Doug McDermott. The senior from Ames, Iowa, claimed league honors again after averaging 32.5 points in wins over Butler and Villanova.
Rookie of the week: St. John's guard Rysheed Jordan. The freshman from Philadelphia had a career-high 24 points in rout of Georgetown. He also had 10 points in win over Seton Hall and committed three turnovers in the two games.
Stat of the week
Seton Hall finished its game against St. John's with advantages of 44-26 in points in the paint, 28-8 in points off turnovers, 16-10 in second-chance points, 10-2 in fast-break points and 20-19 in bench points. The Pirates lost the game by one point.
Quote of the week
“They realize there is a lot of work to do and there isn't a fat-cat syndrome where I sense anyone thinking we've arrived or accomplished anything of significance. They're still hungry.” — St. John's coach Steve Lavin, whose team has won nine of its past 10 games.
Bits and pieces
» Butler freshman guard Rene Castro, apparently upset with his lack of playing time, has decided to transfer. Castro, twice suspended this season, informed coach Brandon Miller last Saturday of his intentions. He is the fourth player to leave the program in the past two years.
» St. John's guard D'Angelo Harrison made 7 of 15 shots in scoring 24 points to lead the Red Storm to an 82-60 win over Georgetown. In his five previous games against the Hoyas, Harrison had scored 42 points while making 12 of 62 shots, including 4 of 33 in the last three meetings.
» Providence had four players log 47 minutes or more in Tuesday night's double-overtime loss to Villanova. Not surprisingly, guard Bryce Cotton did not come out of the 50-minute game, while Josh Fortune played 49 minutes, Kadeem Batts played 48 and Tyler Harris played 47.
» St. John's shot-blocking impresario Chris Obekpa is expected to miss up to two weeks after spraining his ankle in practice.
» Villanova is the only Big East team still unbeaten in games decided by five points or fewer. The Wildcats are 7-0 in such games, including 4-0 in overtime games.
» Butler missed 26 of 30 shots from the field in the second half of Tuesday's loss to St. John's. The Bulldogs led by three points at halftime, then got outscored 47-19 in the 77-52 loss.
» Seton Hall played without starters Brian Oliver and Eugene Teague because of “coach's decision” in its one-point loss to St. John's last Thursday.