World-Herald staff writer Steven Pivovar ranks the Big East men's basketball teams (with national RPI rankings from NCAA.com).
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1. Creighton (18-3, 8-1, 10th)
This week: Off. Bluejays rank first or second in 13 of the 21 team statistical categories charted by the conference office.
2. Villanova (18-2, 7-1, 4th)
This week: at Temple. Sophomore center Daniel Ochefu is shooting 80.6 percent (25 of 31) from the field in Big East play.
3. Providence (15-5, 5-2, 43rd)
This week: at Marquette, at DePaul. Upcoming stretch of playing four out of five games on road could have huge impact on NCAA tournament hopes.
4. Xavier (15-5, 5-2, 25th)
This week: Seton Hall. Musketeers one of two Big East teams — Creighton is the other — that have yet to lose this season on their home court.
5. Seton Hall (12-8, 3-4, 117th)
This week: at Xavier. Sign of progress for the Pirates is that their next victory will allow them to exceed last season's conference win total.
6. Marquette (11-9, 3-4, 86th)
This week: Providence, at St. John's. Golden Eagles' 28.1-percent accuracy from 3 make gang that couldn't shoot straight look like expert marksmen.
7. St. John's (12-9, 2-6, 76th)
This week: Marquette. Four of the Red Storm's losses have come against teams ranked in the RPI top 10 — Wisconsin, Villanova, Syracuse and Creighton.
8. Georgetown (11-9, 3-6, 72nd)
This week: Michigan State at Madison Square Garden. Five-game losing skid matches the longest in the past decade under coach John Thompson III.
9. DePaul (10-11, 2-6, 102nd)
This week: Providence. Blue Demons' struggles continue; they haven't won three conference games in the month of January since 2008.
10. Butler (11-9, 1-7, 104th)
This week: Off. Big East rebound leader Kameron Woods gets plenty of chances on team that ranks eighth in shooting and ninth in 3-point accuracy.
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Player of the week: Creighton forward Ethan Wragge. The senior from Eden Prairie, Minn., shot 60 percent from 3-point range and averaged 19.5 points in wins over Villanova and Georgetown.
Rookie of the week: St. John's guard Rysheed Jordan. The freshman from Philadelphia averaged 11.5 points, 4.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds in two wins.
Stat of the week
Stat line of the week goes to Providence guard Bryce Cotton in Friars' victory over Xavier. He scored 27 points, had seven assists and did not commit a turnover while playing all 40 minutes of the game.
Quote of the week
“I've gotten more texts during the last 60 days on how to coach than in my five previous years combined at Marquette. It's funny how people want to tell me how to coach when they never have before. It's like I have amnesia and forgot.” — Marquette coach Buzz Williams, to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, on coping with the Golden Eagles' struggles this season.
Bits and pieces
» Georgetown forward Jabril Trawick returned to action in Monday's loss to Villanova. Trawick scored three points in 12 minutes after missing the previous five games with a broken jaw.
» Chier Ajou, a 7-foot-2 center, has transferred to Seton Hall from Northwestern. Ajou can begin play in December and will have 2 ½ seasons of eligibility. He played in eight games this season for the Wildcats after sitting out last season because of injury.
» Senior Cleveland Melvin missed DePaul's Jan. 25 loss to Seton Hall because of a violation of team rules. The Blue Demons also were without Billy Garrett Jr., the league's leading freshman scorer. Garrett was ill.
» Marquette's loss to Villanova snapped a 20-game home winning streak in Big East games. The streak had tied the conference record set by Pittsburgh from 2001-02 through 2003-04.
» Providence coach Ed Cooley and his family continue to reside in a hotel after a fire this month heavily damaged their home.
» Ten of Butler's 20 games have been decided by five points or fewer. The Bulldogs are 5-5 in such games.