World-Herald staff writer Steven Pivovar ranks the Big East conference basketball teams as published in The World-Herald on Feb. 27.
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1. Xavier (25-3, 13-3, 3rd)
This week: at Seton Hall.
Scary thought for the future is that of the six Musketeers averaging at least 9.5 points per game, two are juniors, two are sophomores and one is a redshirt freshman.
2. Villanova (24-4, 13-2, 2nd)
This week: At Marquette, DePaul.
Marquette might want to batten down the hatches, as Wildcats have followed two of their previous losses with victories of 29 and 30 points.
3. Seton Hall (20-7, 10-5, 37th)
This week: Xavier, at Butler.
Isaiah Whitehead is making sure Pirates don’t go into the tank as they did a season ago, averaging 20.3 points and 6.6 assists a game to help Seton Hall go 6-1 in its last seven.
4. Creighton (17-11, 8-7, 88th)
This week: St. John’s, at Providence.
Bluejays have struggled to make shots in Big East play, knocking down just 24.8 percent of their 3-point attempts in seven losses compared to 34.6 percent in eight wins.
5. Butler (18-9, 7-8, 65th)
This week: at Georgetown, Seton Hall.
Sharpshooting guard Kellan Dunham has moved into fourth place on Bulldogs’ all-time scoring chart with 1,835 points.
6. Marquette (18-10, 7-8, 106th)
This week: Villanova, Georgetown.
If Henry Ellenson is a one-and-done player, he’ll leave Marquette with the Big East rookie of year award — league coaches are nearly unanimous in their support of the talented forward.
7. Providence (19-9, 7-8, 42nd)
This week: DePaul, Creighton.
Once 17-3, Friars have lost six of last eight games to send their NCAA tournament hopes closer to the bubble than the sure thing they appeared to be most of the season.
8. Georgetown (14-14, 7-8, 89th)
This week: Butler, at Marquette.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera must wonder why he passed up NBA money to return for his senior season to be part of a team that has floundered most of year.
9. DePaul (9-18, 3-12, 188th)
This week: at Providence, at Villanova.
Billy Garrett Jr. has had an up-and-down season, but he had a monster game with 19 points and 10 assists in the Blue Demons’ third league win.
10. St. John’s (8-21, 1-15, 228th)
This week: at Creighton.
Red Storm have not won in nine road games this season, but are showing a little more punch in their last four games away from home, averaging 72 points per contest.