With one full week of college basketball under our belts, now seems like as good a time as any to check out what's happening around our beloved Big East. With new faces joining the mix and some familiar programs looking to make a leap this season-looking at you here, Providence-the new Big East is looking to deliver an exciting season. Fairly or unfairly, the new conference will be under a microscope the entire season and will ultimately be judged by how many teams it can get into the tournament and how far said teams progress. This space will track the moves and happenings of the teams in our league as we (hopefully) put five teams in the tournament and show the basketball world and ESPN specifically that the new Big East is a major power in hoops. One Big East team will be highlighted each week for a deep dive to add further flavor and to remind us all that Georgetown isn't the only team in the country with a few issues to iron out. Without further hyperbole from me, here's how the Big East looks after week one.
Note: These Power Rankings are only meant to reflect the most recent results, since Marquette is obviously not the 7th best team in the conference.
Last Week: W vs. Alcorn (107-61), W vs. UMKC (96-70), W @ St. Joseph's (83-79)
Next Week: Tulsa (11/23)
Why they're ranked here: According to Kenpom, the Bluejays are the #1 team in the country in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency behind superstar Doug McDermott. McDermott is taking almost 40% of the team's shots while on the court with an effective FG% of 63.5%, meaning this team will live and die all season on the performance of the walk-on All-American.
LW: W vs. Lafayette (75-59), W vs. Mount St. Mary's (90-59), W vs. Towson (78-44)
NW: Delaware (11/22)
WTRH: Villanova took care of business in the opening week of the season and really left no doubt in any of their wins. The Fox Sports 1 announcers were quick to mention that Jerrelle Benimon was a pro prospect before the first media timeout of Sunday's game, so the easy win and total shutdown of the Benimonster has to leave Nova fans excited for the week to come.
LW: W vs. Gardner-Webb (83-59), W vs. Tennessee (67-63), W vs. Morehead State (79-56)
NW: vs. Miami (Ohio) (11/20)
WTRH: The Musketeers are downright abysmal from the free throw line, shooting below 60% through their first three games. Despite their shortcomings, Xavier is 3-0 with a win against an SEC program and is poised to showcase projected first round draft pick Semaj Christon in the upcoming Battle 4 Atlantis.
LW: L vs. Oregon (82-75 in South Korea), W vs. Wright State (88-70)
NW: Puerto Rico Tip-Off vs. Northeastern (11/21)
Potential Other Puerto Rico Matchups: Charlotte, Florida State, Kansas State, Long Beach State, Michigan and VCU
WTRH: Our Hoyas lost an ugly game against Oregon on 1-15 shooting from three on a rim that ended up being 10'3", an excuse I've repeated at work at least ten times thus far. However, Joshua Smith showed his potential to be a dominant big man in that matchup. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Markel Starks shined against Wright State, contributing 25 and 23 points, respectively, while playing the most minutes for Georgetown.
LW: W vs. Boston College (82-78, OT), W vs. Brown (73-69), W vs. Marist (93-48, Paradise Jam)
NW: Paradise Jam vs. Vanderbilt (11/22)
Potential Other Paradise Jam Matchups: La Salle, Loyola Marymount, Maryland, Morgan State and Northern Iowa
WTRH: The Friars struggled against Boston College and Brown, but 3-0 with a win against an ACC school speaks for itself. Ugly wins still count, and their early season has contained a few bright spots. Providence is 16th in the nation in Offensive Rebounding % and 17th in Offensive Rebounding % allowed. The Friars are getting second chances on possessions and limiting second chances allowed to opponents, a trend they hope continues as the season progresses.
LW: W vs. Lamar (89/58), W vs. Princeton (70-67)
NW: vs. Vanderbilt (11/19), @ Ball State (11/23)
WTRH: Butler has played uninspiring basketball thus far in their first two games without Brad Stevens as coach, but they've limited their turnovers thus far, ranking 13th nationally in Turnover %. The Bulldogs will show us more of what they're made of in the Old Space Classic over Thanksgiving.
LW: W vs. Southern (63-56), W vs. Grambling State (114-71), L vs. Ohio State (52-35)
NW: vs. New Hampshire (11/21)
WTRH: More on Marquette at the bottom.
8. St. John's
LW: L vs. Wisconsin (86-75 in South Dakota), W vs. Wagner (73-57)
NW: vs. Bucknell (11/19), Barclays Center Classic vs. Monmouth (11/22)
WTRH: St. John's lost a touch matchup against 20th ranked Wisconsin in their opener in a game that saw the Badgers shoot 11-23 from deep. The final score makes the game look much closer than it really was as St. John's was outscored 24-10 in the early going and never made a run to close the gap. D'Angelo Harrison was a bright spot for the Red Storm, scoring 27 points in that game and 25 in their win against Wagner.
LW: W vs. Grambling State (96-58), L vs. Southern Miss (75-68), W vs. Wright State (81-72, CBE Hall of Fame Classic)
NW: @ Milwaukee (11/19)
WTRH: DePaul could be in for a long season after an early loss to CUSA opponent Southern Miss in a game in which they led by double figures at several points in the first half. The Blue Demons chucked up 26 threes in the game and only managed to connect on 7 of them, barely cracking 25% shooting from deep. With only 32 total wins in four seasons at the helm of the Blue Demons, could this be Oliver Purnell's last chance to right the ship?
10. Seton Hall
LW: W vs. Niagara (83-72, Coaches vs. Cancer Classic), W vs. Kent State (78-76, Coaches vs. Cancer Classic), L @ Mercer (77-74 2OT)
NW: Coaches vs. Cancer Classic vs. Oklahoma (11/22)
Potential Other Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Matchups: Michigan State and Virginia Tech
WTRH: After sweating out a win against a MAC opponent, Seton Hall fell in double overtime to Mercer. Pirates fans are praying the squad faces Virginia Tech rather than Michigan State next week.
Spotlight Team: Marquette
What's Going On With Marquette:
After destroying Grambling State at the Bradley Center to the tune of 114 points scored, the Golden Eagles squared off with Ohio State with a chance to add a top-10 win to their résumé. The game was part of a home and home agreement the two schools made after Marquette found out the same truth our Hoyas did last season-games played on a boat are impossible to play when said boat gets wet. The Golden Eagles' defense looked remarkable in the first half, holding the Buckeyes to only 19 points. An 8-0 run gave Marquette a slight lead with 4:47 left in the first half, but eventually poor shooting and 20 total turnovers doomed the Golden Eagles. The game ended Marquette's home winning streak and was their lowest point total since a 2000 matchup with DePaul. More annoyingly, Aaron Craft of Ohio State became the first Buckeye to record 1,000 points, 500 assists and 200. Luckily for college hoops fans everywhere, Craft will be gone at the end of the season. Marquette has time to turn their season around, but the loss showed some cracks in the armor for a team that was picked to win the Big East this season. One bright spot from a Georgetown perspective in this game is that the Bradley Center refs swallowed their whistles relative to what's been going on nationwide this season. Only 37 fouls were called over the course of the game and both teams didn't enter the bonus until late in each half, as compared to the whistle blowing concert that was Georgetown's game against Oregon.
Why They'll Beat Georgetown:
Despite the poor result on Saturday, Davante Gardner and Chris Otule looked like the kind of players that can shut down Joshua Smith. Gardner is 6'8", 290 pounds and displays some effective low post moves while also nabbing some nice rebounds. He only averaged 4.8 rebounds per game last season, but the big man could have his way with Joshua Smith when the Golden Eagles travel to the Verizon Center in January. Otule, a 6'11", 275 pound senior should also command a presence down low. In the matchup with Georgetown, Buzz will effectively sub the two big men in and out and create constant problems for the Hoyas' big men. The Marquette defense was stout in the first half of the Ohio State game and limited Ohio State to only 3 three-point makes total. If Marquette can bring that defense against the Hoyas and limit DSR's scoring as well as Joshua Smith's inside presence, the game could be ugly.
Why They'll Lose to Georgetown:
If Jabril Trawick was watching the game on Saturday, he had to have been salivating over Marquette's turnovers and general weakness at guard. The Golden Eagles made one of their 18 attempts from deep and managed to turn the ball over 20 times. Marquette's guards combined for 9 of those turnovers, including 5 from Todd Mayo. I had initially thought that Todd Mayo and his unfortunate tattoo would take a big step forward this season with his older brother, OJ, joining the Milwaukee Bucks this summer. The opportunity to train and learn from an NBA player seemed like the kick Todd Mayo needed to replace Vander Blue in Marquette's offense. Instead, he's shooting less than 30% from three this season and less than 40% from the field overall. Todd's trigger-happy approach could undo the Golden Eagles. The rest of the guard situation at Marquette isn't much better. Jake Thomas, a "three point specialist" missed all 6 of his attempts in the Ohio State game and is shooting less than 25% from three for the season. Marquette guards combined to make 4 total shots in the Ohio State game out of 31 attempts. Jabril and Markel will have their way with this backcourt and hold the Golden Eagles to another terrible shooting performance in a lopsided Hoyas win while Buzz Williams sweats and screams from the sideline / court. Even if the game is close, Georgetown fans can hope that this happens again. Georgetown has the potential to knock off Marquette twice this season en route to a Big East title.