World-Herald staff writer Steven Pivovar ranks the Big East conference basketball teams as published in The World-Herald on Feb. 20.
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1. Villanova (23-3, 13-1, 2nd in RPI)
This week: Butler, at Xavier.
Wildcats set to honor senior class Saturday that has produced program-record 105 victories in four-year span as well as Villanova’s first No. 1 ranking.
2. Xavier (23-3, 11-3, 5th)
This week: at Georgetown, Villanova.
Myles Davis gets a triple double (11 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists) in Musketeers’ pummeling of Providence.
3. Seton Hall (18-7, 8-5, 42nd)
This week: at St. John’s, Providence.
Isaiah Whitehead finishing with a flourish as sophomore guard is averaging 21 points and 5.7 assists while shooting 59 percent from 3-point range in last six games.
4. Creighton (17-10, 8-6, 83rd)
This week: Marquette.
The best 3-point shooting team in nonconference play continues to struggle in Big East play as Bluejays are shooting league-low 31.1 percent in 14 conference games.
5. Butler (18-8, 7-7, 59th)
This week: at Villanova.
Torching Creighton for 52 second-half points marks sixth time Bulldogs have scored 50 or more in a half but first time in Big East play.
6. Providence (19-8, 7-7, 37th)
This week: at Seton Hall.
Friars’ limp to finish line makes value of big nonconference wins important in their bid to get back to the NCAA tournament.
7. Georgetown (14-13, 7-7, 86th)
This week: Xavier.
Hoyas’ only win since Jan. 26 was against St. John’s, and with games remaining against Villanova, Xavier and Butler, a sub-.500 regular-season finish looms as a possibility.
8. Marquette (16-10, 5-8, 116th)
This week: at DePaul, at Creighton.
Golden Eagles have third-youngest roster in a top-five RPI league, according to KenPom.com. First-year players accounting for league-high 47.2 percent of minutes in Big East games.
9. St. John’s (8-19, 1-13, 211th)
This week: Seton Hall, at DePaul.
Red Storm get a late-season dash of hope by snapping long skid with victory over DePaul.
10. DePaul (8-17, 2-11, 172nd)
This week: Marquette, St. John’s.
Blue Demons have slipped backward since pulling off upset of then-No. 10 Providence. Have lost three straight by average of 21 points.