Monday, January 2, 2012

Big East Power Rankings

1. Syracuse. (Even) The Orange are pummeling their opposition with the leagues best scoring margin at a mind blowing +21.7 points. The zone is working well and is causing teams to turn the ball over in bunches. They lead the conference in turnover margin at +7.85. They are such a well rounded team and their frontcourt has matured and are creating plays.

2. Louisville. (Even) They hold the best defense in the conference at 56.9 points and Gorgui Dieng has become a reliable piece to an already talented team. Though Siva missed a few games he is still among the leaders in assists and steals per game. The one issue with this team is that they don’t have that 20 point scoring threat and need their defense to keep the game in the high sixties/low seventies.

3. UConn. (Even) The Huskies are so proficient offensively, leading the Big East in field goal percentage at .499 and have the best field goal defense, limiting opponents to just .369. They also have the best three point percentage, sinking .407 percent. They also haven’t relied on it with only three teams taking less attempts then they have. They’ve played to their competition so far and need to find that cut throat mentality.

4. Georgetown. (+3) This has been the most surprising team so far this season. Jason Clark is leading a surprising yet talented Hoyas squad. They hold the leagues best perimeter defense, only allowing a stellar %27. Hollis Thompson is quietly having a good year.

5. Seton Hall. (+3) Herb Pope's play has a lot to do with the Pirates rise up the Big East rankings. He is averaging 20.3 points a game, but isn’t alone. Jordon Theodore has stepped his game up to solidify a pretty formidable one-two punch.

6. Marquette. (-3) They are passing the ball extremely well, leading the Big East in assists per game at 17.8. They lean heavily on Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder but the two are putting up some impressive numbers. Junior Cadougan has been a consistent player and the team does well when the offense goes through him. Hopefully the beating they took from Vanderbilt at home was an anomaly.

7. Pittsburgh. (-2) This just isn’t the Pirates team that we’ve seen in the last several seasons. They lead the league in rebounding margin at +13 a game, are getting solid point guard play from Ashton Gibbs, but the defense isn’t there, allowing easy baskets. If they don’t figure it out then they might sink below the top ten when it is all said and done.

8. Providence. (+4) The Friars are doing a great job of protecting the glass and making teams have one-and-done trips down the court. LaDontae Henton has been an impressive freshman and Vincent Council has been mister reliable at the point. They have a nice nucleus but the reality of Big East play might sink them down the power rankings.

9. West Virginia. (-3) Kevin Jones continues to have an MVP-like season, Darryl Byrant has matured his game, Jabarie Hinds is a great looking freshman. This is a solid team that doesn’t back down. If they can solidify the defense then they will be moving up the chart.

10. Cincinnati. (+1) The Bearcats are heavily reliant on the three pointer, taking a league high 98, and they are knocking them down at 8.2 a game. The brawl has put an unwanted spotlight on this team that it doesn’t need at this moment. They are looking for an identity and haven’t found the luster that they had garnered from last season.

11. DePaul. (-2) Cleveland Melvin has put this team on his back and this team is much improved but they just don’t have the pieces around him to make a big splash this year, especially since they have the leagues worst defense. It is a great step for this team though to not be in the Big East basement.

12. Notre Dame. (+2) Surprisingly the Irish are tied in the Big East in assists to turnover ratio with the Orange at 1.5. Eric Atkins is deadly from deep, knocking down half his shots from there and Jerian Grant is leading the league in assists to turnovers. The win over Pittsburgh was a confidence booster and hopefully they build on it.

13. Rutgers. (+2) The average team. They just don’t do anything extremely well or really poorly. They’ll be around this part of the power rankings all year. The win against Florida was huge for this team and they might have found their super star in Eli Carter.

14. Villanova. (-4) It seems to be a theme at this spot in the power rankings. Villanova is struggling on the defensive side of the ball and they just don’t have enough scorers to make up for it. They are dead last in shooting percentage. On the upside, once they get to the line, the Wild Cats are the league best, hitting %76.

15. St. John’s. (+1) The youngsters are finally coming around and Maurice Harkless is showing his scoring ability. They’ll be a good team before the season is through and will have a few upsets in their back pocket but they have dug themselves an early hole that they might not be able to get out of.

16. USF. (-1) They have a horrible offense but a stellar defense and rely too much on Gilchrist. If they can’t find more offense then this team is going to struggle against the talent in the league, but the defense will keep them in ball games.

*Some of the Stats are subject to change.

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