2011-12 Big East Power Rankings

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Updated 2/24

Friday is usually when I do my updated Big East Basketball Power Rankings. Since nobody cares about the DePauls, Providences, and Rutgers of the world this late in the season, this week’s Big East Power Rankings will be an analysis of the teams in the conference that are still alive. Some teams have already solidified their statuses for the NCAA Tournament, but some are firmly on the bubble and still have work to do. Let’s break down some resumes…

1. Syracuse: 28-1 overall, 15-1 in Big East (RPI: 1, SOS: 23)
Syracuse has been cutting it a little too close for comfort over its last three games, edging out a one-point win at Louisville and getting all the Orange could handle from Rutgers and South Florida. Even if Syracuse slips up during the final week of the season, it is still pretty much a lock for a No. 1 seed.

Remaining Games: at Connecticut (Sat), vs. Louisville (Mar. 3)

2. Notre Dame: 20-8, 12-3 (RPI: 40, SOS: 42)
Just give Mike Brey the Big East Coach of the Year Award now. The Irish have been remarkable in conference play and quite frankly, it’s rather annoying. If it can win at Georgetown, Notre Dame will likely lock up the No. 2 seed in the Big East Tournament and should be a four or five seed come tourney time despite the team’s less than stellar play during the non-conference

Remaining Games: at St. John’s (Sat), at Georgetown (Mon), vs. Providence (Mar. 2)

3. Marquette: 23-5, 12-3 (RPI: 8, SOS: 20)
The Jae Crowder “Big East Player of the Year” campaign is gaining steam as he has 79 points on 27-41 shooting, 27 rebounds, and ten steals during his last three games. In all honesty, both Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom deserve to be on the All-Big East First Team. Anyway, Marquette has won 11 of its last 12 since starting conference play by losing two of its first three. If the Golden Eagles take care of business during their tough final stretch of the season, they could be as high as a two seed in the tourney. If the Golden Eagles falter once or twice in this final week, it shouldn’t hurt them too much as Marquette will likely fall no lower than a four seed.

Remaining Games: at West Virginia (Fri), at Cincinnati (Wed), vs. Georgetown (Mar. 3)

4. Georgetown: 21-6, 10-5 (RPI: 13, SOS: 15)
The Hoyas ran into a hungry, almost desperate Seton Hall team Tuesday night that was fighting for its NCAA Tournament livelihood. Georgetown has a pair of tough games to close out the season and could solidify its status as a three seed with victories. Perhaps the more pressing need: finishing strong in hopes of locking up one of the four double-byes in the Big East Tournament.

Remaining Games: vs. Villanova (Sat), vs. Notre Dame (Mon), at Marquette (Mar. 3)

5. Louisville: 21-7, 9-6 (RPI: 20, SOS: 34)
Even if the worst happens and the Cardinals lose their final three games, they are safe. Right now, Louisville’s tourney seed could wind up anywhere from four to seven depending on how the team finishes up its season.

Remaining Games: vs. Pittsburgh (Sun), vs. South Florida (Wed), at Syracuse (Mar. 3)

6. Cincinnati: 20-8, 10-5 (RPI: 81, SOS: 122)
The Bearcats win against Louisville last night likely solidified Cincinnati’s status in the NCAA Tournament. However, the team’s low RPI, poor strength of schedule, and non-conference loss to Presbyterian still hang over its tourney resume. Even if the Bearcats just win one more conference game though, you figure an 11-7 Big East record will be plenty enough to get them in on a weak bubble.

Remaining Games: at South Florida (Sun), vs. Marquette (Wed), at Villanova (Mar. 3)

7. South Florida: 17-11, 10-5 (RPI: 51, SOS: 45)
At first glance, it’s pretty remarkable that South Florida is 10-5 in the Big East, but the team would be on the wrong side of the bubble if the tourney started today. Then again, considering that the Bulls’ best non-conference win is against Cleveland State and that they lost to Penn State and Auburn prior to Big East play beginning, and it is understandable why their RPI is so low. South Florida has three tough games to finish out the season and needs to knock off at least two of those teams to help its chances.

Remaining Games: vs. Cincinnati (Sun), at Louisville (Wed), vs. West Virginia (Mar. 3)

8. Seton Hall: 19-9, 8-8 (RPI: 31, SOS: 25)
That very well could have been a season-saving win the Pirates had Tuesday night against Georgetown. With two very, very winnable games to wrap up its season, Seton Hall should be in the tourney. A loss won’t be devastating, but I’d feel a lot more comfortable entering the Big East Tournament with a 10-8 record rather than 9-9 with a bad loss to Rutgers or DePaul on my resume.

Remaining Games: vs. Rutgers (Sat), at DePaul (Mar. 3)

9. Connecticut: 17-10, 7-8 (RPI: 24, SOS: 2)
The Huskies needed overtime and a Shabazz Napier 35-footer with .2 seconds left to escape with a much, much, much-needed win at Villanova and keep their tourney hopes alive. The best thing Connecticut has going for it is the team’s incredible strength of schedule. Beat the Orange and the Huskies are in. Win two of their final three and they are without question in. Only come away with one victory and finish 8-10 in conference; things get a little murky as Connecticut will have to win at least one game in the Big East Tournament to feel truly comfortable.

Remaining Games: vs. Syracuse (Sat), at Providence (Tue), vs. Pitt (Mar. 3)

10. West Virginia: 17-11, 7-8 (RPI: 43, SOS: 10)
The only the way the Mountaineers will feel completely safe is if they win out. An above .500 record in the Big East combined with their solid RPI and SOS will get them into the Big Dance regardless of what they do in the Big East Tournament. Lose one of its final three games and West Virginia will have to at least win a game or two in the Big East Tournament. Get beat twice in their final three regular season games and the Mountaineers will need a run to the conference Championship Game to save their tourney hopes.

Remaining Games: vs. Marquette (Fri), vs. DePaul (Tues), at South Florida (Mar. 3)

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: [email protected]

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