Another week of Big East basketball is in the books.
Another week of exciting, down to the wire, physical, games in the books.
As every week passes, it only gets tougher; and that was clearly the case in Week Three of conference play.
Teams on Top: Villanova Wildcats, Pittsburgh Panthers
The two teams are each 5-0 and tied for first place. On the week, both teams finished 2-0, and they both got solid victories on the road and at home. Villanova started off the week with a road win over a hot Louisville Cardinals team and then finished this afternoon with a close win over Georgetown.
Pittsburgh matched both those wins with a road win at UConn to start their week and a home victory over Louisville.
Thanks to great guard play by Villanova's Scottie Reynolds and Pittsburgh's Ashton Gibbs, these two teams are going to be very tough to beat as the season progresses.
Team Feeling the Wrath: Louisville Cardinals, UConn Huskies
Not only did these two teams go 0-2 this week, but each lost a home game. These teams being in this category shows the power of the Big East and how, top to bottom, it is the best conference in basketball. Louisville is still 3-2, but it does not get easier as they go to Newark to take on Seton Hall this week.
UConn, on the other hand, is 2-3, and to add insult to injury, they lost at Michigan today in an out of conference matchup. The Huskies have a break with St. John's this week, but I would not overlook the Red Storm; then at home, they take on the best team in the nation, Texas.
Team to Watch: Cincinnati Bearcats
The Bearcats are .500 in the conference at 3-3, but a solid win over Notre Dame on Saturday put them back in the mix. With two of their next three games being against the mediocre part of the conference's teams, South Florida and Providence, Cincy has a shot to be back in the top five teams in the Big East.
Player of the Week: Scottie Reynolds, Villanova
Reynolds, the senior, just had an absolutely huge week leading his team to a 5-0 start in the Big East. Against Louisville, Reynolds had 36 points while hitting 13 of his 17 free throw attempts. Today, against the Hoyas, he had 27 points with two assists and was 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. He has certainly made his case for player of the year and he is one of the top point guards in the nation by far.
Surprise Player of the Week: Dominique Jones, South Florida
The junior from Lake Whales, Florida is averaging 19.5 points per game and had a very solid week. He played a huge role in the Bulls first conference victory over Rutgers by scoring 20 points with eight rebounds and three assists. Also, in a loss to West Virginia, he had his second best of the season, 28 points. Jones looks to help the Bulls possibly make some noise as they take on Cincinnati and Providence this week, both on the road.
Game of the Week: No. 20 Pittsburgh 82, Louisville 77
It took overtime for Jamie Dixon's Panthers to squeak out a big home victory over Rick Pitino's ailing Cardinals. Thanks to Nasir Robinson's career high 26 points and 11 rebounds, Pittsburgh sparked a rally and had to hit some big shots in the final seconds to win after trailing most of the second half. It was two free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining that Brad Wanamaker had to make to send it into overtime where he and the Panthers sealed the deal.
Games to Watch this Week
Monday Jan. 18: No. 5 Syracuse at Notre Dame
The Irish look to upset another top 10 team at home like they did to West Virginia last Saturday. Syracuse is coming off a road win at West Virginia and looks to stay hot on the road.
Wednesday Jan. 20: No. 11 Georgetown at No. 20 Pittsburgh
The Panthers put not only their 5-0 conference record on the line, but also their second best in the nation 31-home game winning streak. Georgetown will try to avoid a two game skid by getting a much needed road victory.