BIG EAST Power Rankings - Dec. 19
1. Villanova (11-0)
Last Week's Ranking: 1
Villanova crushed Temple 78-57 to win their fourth consecutive Big 5 Title and give seniors Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins and Darryl Reynolds an unblemished 16-0 career record in Big 5 games.
Earlier this season Jay Wright called Hart the “most complete player” he’s ever coached and that’s certainly showing up on the stat sheet. He leads the Cats in scoring (20.1), rebounding (6.5) and assists (3.7) and is second in steals (1.5). Last season he had 77 assists in 40 games. Through 11 games this season, he’s already more than halfway to that mark with 41.
2. Creighton (11-0)
Last Week's Ranking: 2
Creighton nearly suffered a brutal loss to 2-10 Oral Roberts but escaped with a 66-65 win. Ultimately, the Jays are still unbeaten, which is why I kept them at the No. 2 spot this week.
One area to keep an eye on as BIG EAST play approaches is rebounding. Oral Roberts outrebounded them 40-30 and Creighton had only 3 offensive boards. They have just a +1.2 rebounding margin for the season and will need to get some more production from the wing players.
3. Butler (10-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 4
This Butler team just keeps getting more impressive and earns a spot in the Top 3 for the first time this season. The Bulldogs upset No. 9 Indiana 83-78 in the Crossroads Classic for their second AP Top 10 win of the season.
Kelan Martin took over the game and was unconscious at times, finishing with 28 points and 4 rebounds. There are a bunch of players doing different things well for the Bulldogs, but senior Andrew Chrabascz has been the anchor of this team. He finished with 14 points and 4 assists and seems to make all the right plays when they need it. His leadership could make this a special season for the Dawgs.
4. Xavier (9-2)
Last Week's Ranking: 3
It’s crazy to think that Xavier is No. 4 in this week’s rankings, but that’s how strong the conference has been. The Musketeers held a 1-point lead over Wake Forest with 20 seconds remaining, but three free throws from Trevon Bluiett sealed a 69-65 victory.
The Musketeers are still figuring out how to play well for a complete 40 minutes and will need more production from their bench, which contributed just 4 points against the Demon Deacons. However Bluiett has been excellent and is averaging 22.2 points per game in his last five games.
5. Seton Hall (9-2)
Last Week's Ranking: 5
Desi Rodriguez’s game-winning drive lifted Seton Hall to a much needed statement win over then No. 19 South Carolina at Madison Square Garden last week. The Pirates then rolled to an 81-68 victory over Delaware and have won five straight games.
In the last few weeks, Seton Hall has really tightened things up defensively. In their first five games, they gave up 74.2 points per game. In their last six games, that number is down to 63.8 points per game.