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. Villanova (22-2, 10-1, 3rd)
This week: Creighton, at Providence. Wildcats in the midst of toughest stretch of conference season with road games at DePaul, Creighton and Providence.
2. Creighton (19-4, 9-2, 13th)
This week: at Butler, Villanova. A win over Butler would be Greg McDermott's 100th at Creighton and make him the second-quickest Bluejays coach to that milestone.
3. St. John's (15-9, 5-6, 63rd)
This week: at Seton Hall, Georgetown. Butler. Once appeared headed for the hot seat, Steve Lavin might be in line for coach of year honors in engineering turnaround.
4. Xavier (17-7, 7-4, 37th)
This week: at Marquette. Musketeers defense rises up to hold two of league's better scorers — Providence's Bryce Cotton and Butler's Kellen Dunham — to a total of 11 points.
5. Marquette (14-10, 6-5, 89th)
This week: Xavier. Back-to-back home games against Xavier and Creighton gives Golden Eagles a chance to gain momentum for stretch run.
6. Georgetown (15-9, 6-6, 57th)
This week: at St. John's. Hoyas' win over Providence was significant in that it hiked their winning streak to four and was first against a league team that is .500 or better.
7. Providence (16-9, 6-6, 49th)
This week: DePaul, Villanova. Inability to close games has been recurring theme for Friars, whose NCAA hopes have been dented by 1-4 skid.
8. Seton Hall (13-11, 4-7, 120th)
This week: St. John's. Pirates own road wins over Providence, Georgetown and Xavier but have lost four of five Big East home games.
9. Butler (12-12, 2-10, 117th)
This week: Creighton, at St. John's. Turnover margin is the only statistical category out of 21 that Bulldogs rank in top five in conference play.
10. DePaul (10-15, 2-10, 119th)
This week: at Providence. Eight league wins in four seasons under Oliver Purnell has Chicago Tribune calling for a complete makeover of the Blue Demons' program.