This week saw the opening of Big East conference play, along with some huge matchups and eye-opening losses.
Both Syracuse and West Virginia lost, Pittsburgh proved to be a contender, Seton Hall continues to show it shouldn’t be underestimated, and DePaul once again sits in the basement.
It’s been a crazy week, with more surprises guaranteed to follow.
1. Syracuse (13-1)
The Orange had their first slip-up of the regular season, coming out flat in a home loss to Pittsburgh. However, Syracuse still has the most impressive résumé in the Big East, with big wins over Cal and UNC at Madison Square Garden and Florida in the Gators' home state.
The Orange won their first Big East match on the road against a good Seton Hall club, and if they can find their shooting touch, and their hustle, once again, they will be very difficult to beat on any given night.
2. Villanova (12-1)
Villanova is the anti-West Virginia. They don't have a great post presence, but like most years, the Wildcats are absolutely littered with talent at guard. If Nova is hot, they can run any team out of the building.
3. West Virginia (11-1)
Without a doubt, the Mountaineers have the best loss of any of the one-time losers, on the road at Purdue. The problem? They got annihilated. The game was barely competitive, and it raises serious doubts as to whether the Mountaineers are truly an elite team.
4. Georgetown (11-1)
The Hoyas are quietly holding a top 15 ranking with solid wins against Washington and Butler.
5. Cincinnati (10-3)
The Bearcats already have an impressive conference win with their victory over the Huskies.
6. Pittsburgh (12-2)
The Panthers may not be in the top 10 in this league in terms of talent, and certainly not in experience. However, their tough brand of basketball, which pushes the boundaries of what referees will call a foul, will continue to make them tough to beat.
7. Connecticut (10-3)
The Huskies aren't an NCAA Tournament lock in the least bit, as they have yet to win a notable game.
8. Louisville (10-4)
They got off to about as poor of a start as is possible on Saturday, but they overcame it to give Kentucky a moderately competitive game. Considering the early season losses they suffered, just staying within 20 of the Wildcats may be a sign that Rick Pitino has the Cardinals heading in the right direction.
9. Seton Hall (9-4)
Despite being 0-2 in Big East play (against the league's two toughest teams—Syracuse and West Virginia), Seton Hall is an explosive offensive team, led by gunner Jeremy Hazell, who might be the best pure scorer in the league. If he goes off, Seton Hall is a dangerous team night in and night out.
Forward Herb Pope is one of the league's premier rebounders, and when he's coupled with Hazell, they can make for a formidable one-two punch for the Pirates.
10. Notre Dame (12-3)
The Irish found success in their weak out of conference slate but will struggle mightily if Luke Harangody does not get help from the rest of the team.
11. Marquette (9-5)
Very disappointing to see the Golden Eagles lose two close games against the top teams in the league, but those results bode well for future games against everybody else.
12. St. John's (10-4)
A disastrous start to Big East play has the Johnnies headed back to the basement of the league.
13. Providence (9-5)
They looked destined to finish 15th in the league, but a strong win in NYC against SJU makes me think otherwise.
14. South Florida (10-3)
The Bulls desperately need Augustus Gilchrist back in action.
15. Rutgers (9-4)
Someday they will be relevant. Without Gregory Echenique, that won't be this year.
16. DePaul (7-7)
They gave the Hoyas a game, but the Blue Demons are clearly the bottom feeder in the conference.
Contributions to this article were made by Dan Kelley, Dan Lyons, and Jameson Fleming.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!