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Big East Basketball Power Rankings: 12/11

Since there was no poll last week, it's the rankings from two weeks ago that are in parentheses. This is evident in that Depaul's last week ranking is 15, despite the fact that they had just beaten Kansas.

Not many games on tap this week due mostly to the fact that it's finals week on most campuses and these coaches' desire to beat up on teams out of the America East Conference is surpassed only by their unrelenting will to see their players excel in the classroom.

1. Pitt (10-0) (LW: 1)

Last Week: Beat Duquesne (73-56), beat Buffalo (70-67)
This Week: At #12 Wisconsin (12/16)

Saturday's game in Madison is the first of a huge three-game stretch for Pitt which includes the twelth ranked Badgers, #24 Oklahoma State, and 8-1 Dayton. This gauntlet may have caught the Panthers looking ahead, which is the only explanation for the home scare against Buffalo.

If you're looking for additional quality non-conference wins, that 22-point embarrassment of Florida State on Nov. 24 is looking a whole lot better after the Seminoles 8-2 start which includes a win over the defending national champions from Gainesville.

2. Connecticut (8-0) (LW: 3)

Last Week: Beat Northeastern (81-53)
This Week: vs. St. Mary's (12/17)

They've played absolutely no one and won't for another month, but they are the only other unbeaten in the league and Jeff Adrien is awfully good.

3. Notre Dame (7-1) (LW: 6)

Last Week: Beat #19 Maryland (81-74), beat #5 Alabama (99-85)
This Week: vs. Elon (12/16)

An amazing week for the Irish was tarnished only by the fact that Butler (the only team to beat Notre Dame) went down to Indiana State on Saturday. Still, Mike Brey's bunch appears to be doing the all the things necessary to become the team they should have been last season.

4. Marquette (9-2) (LW: 2)

Last Week: Beat Delaware State (65-48), lost to #12 Wisconsin (70-66)
This Week: vs. Marlyand Baltimore County (12/16)

Jerel McNeal continues to emerge as a more than adequate second option for the Golden Eagles. The  6-3 sophomore has scored 16 points in three straight games and hit big shot after big shot to keep Marquette in the game against Wisconsisn.

5. Syracuse (8-2) (LW: 4)

Last Week: Lost to #24 Oklahoma State (72-68), beat Colgate (79-52)
This Week: vs. Baylor (12/16)

Nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback in the Jimmy V Classic against Oklahoma State, despite not having the services of Eric Devendorf in the second-half. The Orange are still in the midst of their annual tradition of not leaving New York until Big East play starts, although Drexel should provide another solid test when they come to the dome next Tuesday.  

6. Villanova (7-2) (LW: 7)

Last Week: Beat Oklahoma (67-51), lost to Drexel (81-76)
This Week: No games scheduled

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the week didn't end on Wednesday.

7. Georgetown (6-3) (LW: 5)

Last Week: Beat James Madison (89-53), beat Oral Roberts (73-58)
This Week: vs. Winston Salem (12/16)

Good to see the Hoyas, especially Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green, respond this week. Hibbert scored 23 and Green added 15 against Oral Roberts as Georgetown played this week as a lowly unranked team for the first time all season.

8. West Virginia (7-1) (LW: 9)

Last Week: Beat NC State (71-60), beat Duquesne (85-54)
This Week: vs. Savannah State (12/16)

Good lord, how good a coach is John Beilein?

9. Louisville (5-2) (LW: 8)

Last Week: Lost to #15 Arizona (72-65), beat Ohio (74-71), beat St. Joseph's (74-64), beat Bellarmine (76-64)
This Week: vs. UMass (12/13), vs. Kentucky (12/16)

Another less than stellar start will be at least momentarily forgiven with a win over the Cayuts.

10. Providence (7-2) (LW: 13)

Last Week: Beat Rhode Island (95-66), lost to #7 Florida (85-67), beat Maine (94-79)
This Week: No games scheduled

If Providence wants to be competitive against the big boys, Herbert Hill is going to have to get more than four rebounds like he did against Florida. The 6-10 forward/center was also dominated by Al Horford, who led the Gators with 21 points.

11.  Seton Hall (6-1) (LW: 12)

Last Week: Beat Monmouth (83-49), beat Penn State (69-59)
This Week: No games scheduled

SHU's 10-point win over Penn State wasn't quite as pretty as it may appear. The Pirates shot just 34% and trailed by 12 with seven minutes to play, but we're bailed out by freshman Eugene Harvey who poured in 27 points and sharp-shooting Paul Gause who hit three late treys.

12. Depaul (4-5) (LW: 15)

Last Week: Beat Chicago State (83-56), lost to UAB (58-57)
This Week: vs. Wake Forest (12/13), at Rhode Island (12/16)

The Blue Demons continue to follow the trend of following up a pair of good games with two not so great ones. If you're a betting man, go hard on Wake this Wednesday.

13. Cincinnati (6-2) (LW: 11)

Last Week: Beat Temple (80-71)
This Week: vs. Xavier (12/13), vs. #4 Ohio State (12/16)

Ginormous week of hot instatetuous action for the young Bearcats this week. Perhaps a chance to pay Xavier back for all those upsets in the last 15 years.

14. St. John's (6-3) (LW: 14)

Last Week: Beat St. Francis of New York (59-42), beat Niagara (86-64)
This week: No games scheduled

Luckily the Johnnies have more than a full week to prepare for New Jersey Tech on Dec. 21.

15. South Florida (6-1) (LW: 10)

Last Week: Lost to Richmond (56-46), beat Winston Salem (63-43), beat East Carolina (65-52)
This Week: vs. Norfolk State (12/17)

Melvin Buckley scored 20 points and hit four of his eight 3-point attempts to lead South Florida past East Carolina in the much anticiapted basketball version of the Bowl.

16. Rutgers (4-5) (LW: 16)

Last Week: Beat New Hampshire (55-48), beat Princeton (53-47)
This Week: vs. Iona 12/16

Three straight wins eh? Lose by less than 20 to North Carolina on the 28th and we'll talk.