Big East Power Rankings: University of Pittsburgh Remains Atop the Big East

Tim MorelandContributor IIFebruary 4, 2011

Big East Power Rankings: University of Pittsburgh Remains Atop the Big East

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    The Big East has definitively shown itself to be the best conference in America.  

    However, who is the best team in the best conference?

    Several teams have made a solid case for themselves, with big out-of-conference wins.  

    Others have made a name for themselves with victories over fellow Big East members.

    Nonetheless, a couple of the Big East squads are a notch below the rest.

    These rankings will reveal where each team belongs in the Big East pecking order.

16: DePaul Blue Demons

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    DePaul remains without a win in the Big East, and there is no reason to believe they will win a Big East game this season.  

    If they do, it will likely be against South Florida or Rutgers.  Both of those games are at home.  

    On a bright note, DePaul lost to West Virginia by only 2 points on January 4th!

15: South Florida Bulls

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    South Florida only has two wins in the Big East.  

    Both of these wins came off of bottom feeders: Providence and DePaul.  

    This season, South Florida has taken UConn to overtime and BYU to double overtime.  

    Pulling off either of those wins would have been huge for this program.

    Big men Jarrid Famous and Ron Anderson are two of the best offensive rebounders in the country.

14: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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    Rutgers does not have any impressive wins, but they have recorded victories against some relatively-tough competition.  

    In the non-conference, they beat both Fairfield and Miami.  

    Within the Big East, Rutgers defeated Providence at home and Seton Hall on the road.  

    They also were within four points of beating Pitt.

    The strength of their defense is shot blocking.

13: Seton Hall Pirates

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    Unlike the teams ranked lower than them, Seton Hall has closed the deal on some important victories.

    They beat Alabama in the third game of their season.  The Pirates also traveled to Syracuse and won by 22 points.

    Seton Hall’s stellar defense has kept them in games against top competition all year long.  

    Unfortunately, they do not yet have the offense to compete with the better teams in the Big East. 

12: Providence Friars

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    Providence is a well-balanced team that has had its ups and downs this year.  

    On the down side, Providence has lost to La Salle, Rutgers, and South Florida.

    On the up side, they have defeated Alabama, Louisville, and Villanova.

    This team will have plenty of opportunities to reveal its true colors over the last month of the season.

11: Cincinnati Bearcats

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    Cincinnati started off the season 15-0, but they did so against weak teams.  

    Xavier was a solid win, but the Bearcats have folded against the top competition: Villanova, Syracuse, West Virginia, Notre Dame.

    Cincinnati has a strong defense, but their offense fails to score efficiently.  They are also a terrible free-throw shooting squad.

10: St. John's Red Storm

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    St. John’s has beaten the best (Duke) and lost to the worst (St. Bonaventure, Fordham).  

    The Red Storm also have quality wins against West Virginia, Northwestern, Georgetown, and Notre Dame.

    This team still has Pitt, UConn, and Villanova ahead of them.  They will also be playing out of conference against UCLA.

9: West Virginia Mouintaneers

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    WVU has played one of the toughest schedules in the country this year.  

    This has allowed them to compile a ton of quality wins.  

    Their best wins are against Oakland, Vanderbilt, Duquesne, Cleveland St., Georgetown, and Purdue.

    The Mountaineers have struggled away from home at times.  Only one of their six losses was at home.

8: Syracuse Orange

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    For a team that started 18-0, this may seem like a low ranking.  

    However, the Orange did not face elite competition until recently.  They have not passed the test.  

    Syracuse's victory against UConn on February 2nd ended a four-game losing streak that included Pittsburgh, Villanova, Seton Hall, and Marquette.  

    If Syracuse had won just one of those games, then their ranking would drastically improve.

7: Marquette Golden Eagles

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    Unlike many teams, Marquette does not have a single embarrassing loss.  

    All of their losses have come against great teams.  

    Marquette has beaten Syracuse, West Virginia, and Notre Dame to prove that they are a great team themselves.

    The Golden Eagles squad is packed with stars, including Jae Crowder, Jimmy Butler, and Darius Johnson-Odom.

6: Louisville Cardinals

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    Louisville has taken a big step forward this season defensively, and the results have been noticeable.  

    Their biggest non-conference win was against UNLV at home.

    Louisville has made their presence known in the Big East, beating Marquette, WVU, and Connecticut.

5: Villanova Wildcats

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    Outside of a recent stumble at Providence, Villanova has played as well as any team in the country.  

    Maryland and Temple were big non-conference victories for them.

    On occasion, the Wildcat offense can fall flat.  This could cause problems in postseason play.

    Villanova still has two games against Pitt ahead of them.  That should be an effective litmus test for just how much to expect from Villanova this season.

4: Georgetown Hoyas

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    Offenses do not get much better than this, and players do not get much better than Austin Freeman.

    Before Big East play, the Hoyas already had victories against Missouri and Utah St.  

    They recently added Villanova and Louisville to their list of victims.

    This team can play sloppily at times and turn the ball over too frequently, but that is a small stain on a tremendous body of work.

3: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    There are plenty of reasons to love Notre Dame’s team and very few reasons to worry about them.

    Most importantly, the Irish have come out on top against an impressive list of teams: Georgia, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Georgetown, Connecticut, Marquette, and Pittsburgh.  

    That virtually assures them of an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament.

2: Connecticut Huskies

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    This may seem like an overly-generous ranking, but UConn does not have any blemishes on their record.  

    Their losses were against teams that no one should feel bad about losing to: Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Louisville, and Syracuse.  

    They have beaten Texas and Kentucky, both of whom will be serious contenders during March Madness.

    Kemba Walker may be slightly overrated, but he is still a National Player of the Year candidate.

1: Pittsburgh Panthers

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    This is an obvious choice.  Both of Pitt’s losses this season could be accurately described as flukes.

    The loss against Tennessee, which was played in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ hockey arena, was one of Tennessee’s best performances all year and one of Pitt’s worst.  

    If they were to play a rematch game, the Panthers win at least 70% of the time.  

    The Notre Dame loss was a bizarre game.  A normal Pitt game has approximately 65 possessions.  The Irish intentionally tried to slow the game down to a crawl.  

    There were only 49 total possessions in the game.  Fewer possessions equals a greater chance for an upset.

    On a brighter note, Pitt is one of only three teams to beat Texas, and they were the team that ruined Syracuse’s perfect record.