The Big East Conference Week in Review: Weeks Four and Five

Christopher PowersContributor IJanuary 31, 2010

ROSEMONT, IL - JANUARY 30: Wes Johnson #4 and Rick Jackson #00 of the Syracuse Orange smile as they walk off the court following a close win over the DePaul Blue Demons at the Allstate Arena on January 30, 2010 in Rosemont, Illinois. Syracuse defeated DePaul 59-57. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It's hard to believe how fast these past two weeks have been.

But that is how it is in the Big East: fast.

As the year goes, the more fast and physical not only the Big East gets, but also the rest of the NCAA. These last few games to finish off this stretch did definitely show why the Big East is the best, despite the rest of the country heating it up.

Teams on Top: Villanova Wildcats, Syracuse Orange

Yes, Nova is on top again. One reason being is that they are undefeated in Big East play, wait, what? Yes, you did hear that right; Nova has yet to lose a Big East game.

That is almost unheard of, especially this late in the season; that is the only reason they are on top because quite frankly they don't need another reason.

The Orange survived a scare this past Saturday against DePaul, but with a huge win at home over Georgetown, they have earned the right to be mentioned with Nova, despite having that one loss in conference play.

Team Feeling the Wrath: Pittsburgh Panthers

After being the other top team next to Nova, all of a sudden Pitt is going backwards. What happened to Pitt in this stretch of games shows why, top to bottom, the Big East is the best, or maybe it just shows that they can't win on Sundays.

Last Sunday, it was on the road to Seton Hall where Herb Pope and the up-and-coming Pirates shocked the Panthers in Newark. Then a week later, today, it was Dominique Jones and the South Florida Bulls stunned Pitt in Tampa.

They are going to have to turn it around in the next week with games at West Virginia and back home against Seton Hall, or Pitt could be in trouble.

Upset of the Week: Rutgers over Notre Dame 74-73

This was a difficult one, because there were two upsets over Pittsburgh in the past two weeks that could have made this category.

But without a win the Scarlet Knights gave the ailing Irish a warm welcome into the RAC and got over the hump moving them to 1-8 in Big East play.

Team to Watch: South Florida Bulls

After a 1-5 start the Bulls have come roaring back with 3 straight wins over Providence, Seton Hall, and Pittsburgh. 

With the help of star Dominique Jones the Bulls have become a force to be reckoned with and are certainly not done tearing it up yet.

Prior to their win over Seton Hall the Bulls had never won 2 straight conference games in their Big East history, now it is up to three and will try to stretch to four when they go to Georgetown next.

Player of the Week: Dominique Jones, South Florida

From Surprise Player of the Week to Player of the Week, Jones has simply been amazing in the past two weeks. With an average of 21.4 ppg, Jones has come up clutch in this stretch of wins for the Bulls.

Against Providence, it was 46 points and 8 assists, then against the Hall it was 28 and 4, and finally to finish off today against Pitt he had 37 and 8. Jones looks to keep his hot hand against the Hoyas this week.

Surprise Player of the Week: Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame

The 6"8 forward pretty much got his first real playing time this year as a member of the Fighting Irish. He has been a huge contributor for the Irish's inconsistent success this year.

In the past two weeks, Aromatic has had game of 26 points, 30, 16 and 17 and despite two rough road losses he looks for his team to bounce back this week.

Games to Watch this Week

Monday, Feb. 1: No. 19 UConn at Louisville

This is a game between two teams who were candidates for the Teams Feeling the Wrath category can bounce back or fall into the back of the pack.

Can the Huskies win with their coach Jim Calhoun or can the Cardinals get a solid home win against a ranked team.

Tuesday, Feb. 2: Seton Hall at No. 3 Villanova, Providence at No. 4 Syracuse

I look for at least one upset on the road this Tuesday night. The Pirates and the Friars will give our two on top teams this week all they can handle at home and we will see if they can both escape with a win.

Wednesday, Feb. 3: No. 17 Pittsburgh at No. 9 West Virginia, South Florida at No. 11 Georgetown

Wednesday night will be a little more evenly matched, mainly between Pitt and West Virginia. But I wouldn't give all the attention to that game, because South Florida is going to battle the Hoyas all 40 minutes and look to keep their winning streak alive.

Saturday, Feb. 6: No. 3 Villanova at No. 11 Georgetown

Both teams will hopefully be coming off solid home wins against the bottom half but very good bottom half teams, Seton Hall and South Florida. Can the Hoyas hand Nova their first Big East loss or will Nova escape Washington, D.C., still unscathed?


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