World-Herald staff writer Steven Pivovar ranks the Big East men’s basketball teams. RPI from NCAA.com
1. Creighton (23-4, 13-2, 7th)
This week: at Xavier, at Georgetown. Only Danny Manning (2,951 points, 59.3 percent) has scored more points with a better shooting percentage than Doug McDermott (2,917, 55.0 percent).
2. Villanova (25-3, 13-2, 4th)
This week: Marquette. Senior James Bell needs 17 points to become the 58th player in program history to score 1,000 in a career.
3. Xavier (19-9, 9-6, 50th)
This week: Creighton, at Seton Hall. How big was the win over St. John’s? It replaced a victory over RPI No. 117 Alabama as Musketeers’ best road win.
4. St. John’s (18-11, 8-8, 53rd)
This week: DePaul. Back-to-back losses to Villanova and Xavier cost Red Storm a big chance to enhance their NCAA tournament profile.
5. Marquette (16-11, 8-6, 75th)
This week: Georgetown, at Villanova, at Providence. Averaging 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds a game, Davante Gardner is league’s top sixth man.
6. Providence (8-7, 18-10, 62nd)
This week: at Seton Hall, Marquette. Soft nonconference schedule might come back to bite the Friars when basketball committee starts deliberating.
7. Georgetown (7-8, 16-11, 64th)
This week: at Marquette, Creighton. Hoyas have a chance for some face-saving wins with closing grind against Marquette, Creighton and Villanova.
8. Seton Hall (5-10, 14-14, 122nd)
This week: Providence, Xavier. Second-leading scorer Sterling Gibbs returned to the team after a one-game suspension but was a non-factor (three points in 13 minutes) against DePaul.
9. DePaul (11-18, 3-13, 146th)
This week: at St. John’s. Freshman Billy Garrett Jr.’s strong play continues to provide Blue Demon fans with some hope for a brighter future.
10. Butler (12-16, 2-14, 154th)
This week: Off. It’s starting to look as if jumping two leagues in the course of two years is catching up with a program that built its success on beating up Horizon League teams.
Player of the week: Providence guard Bryce Cotton. The senior from Tucson, Ariz., averaged 25 points, 7.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds in helping the Friars split a pair of games.
Rookie of the week: DePaul guard Billy Garrett Jr. The freshman from Chicago won the award for the fifth time this season after averaging 21.5 points and 3.5 assists in two losses.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Finally, the basketball gods smiled down on us. Every other big shot this year has gone the other way. We finally got a break in the end.” — DePaul coach Oliver Purnell, on freshman Durrell McDonald’s 3-point, shot-clock-beating basket that broke a 58-58 tie in the 65-60 win over Seton Hall.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Xavier freshman Jalen Reynolds posted career highs with 17 points and 16 rebounds in the Musketeers’ win at St. John’s. In his previous seven games, two of which he didn’t get off the bench, Reynolds had 18 points and 16 rebounds.
BITS AND PIECES
» DePaul’s Brandon Young scored his 1,800th career point with his first basket againt Seton Hall on Tuesday. Young, who now has 1,817 points, joins Mark Aguirre, David Booth, Dave Corzine, George Mikan and Tom Kleinschmidt as Blue Demons with at least 1,800 points.
» Butler forward Kameron Woods rejoined the team after serving a one-game suspension for the Bulldogs’ Feb. 18 game at St. John’s. Woods leads the Big East in rebounding with a 9.1 average.
» St. John’s guard Rysheed Jordan played in Tuesday’s game against Xavier after missing the previous day’s practice to return to Philadelphia following the shooting death of a family member. In August, Jordan also lost close friend Aaron McDaniels, who was shot and killed by a police officer.
» Providence, the worst shooting team in the Big East with a .424 field-goal percentage, shot 66 percent from the field in its recent win against Butler. The Friars also made 65 percent of their 3-point attempts (13 of 20) and 78 percent of their free throws.