Big East Men's Basketball: Where Are We Now?

Check out the look on the guy on the far right. - Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

As we did with women's basketball, let's check in with the rest of the league and see what everyone's been up to so far this season.

For the women's basketball swing through, we used the RPI to compare the teams. Luckily, for men's basketball, we have a more efficient way of rating the teams. We'll use the KenPom.com rankings for each team, as well as determining what their best win and worst loss of the season was.

Butler (10-2, #51)

Points Leader: Kellen Dunham, 18.1 ppg
Rebounds Leader: Kameron Woods, 9.8 rpg
Assists Leader: Alex Barlow, 3.2 apg
Best Win: #72 Princeton, 70-67
Worst Loss: vs #37 LSU, 70-68

In case you were trying to remember, yes, Alex Barlow is the dude that headbutted Trent Lockett's elbow in the NCAA tournament last season. The Bulldogs played one heck of a non-conference schedule, and their two losses are by a combined four points. I really don't think anyone saw this coming after Roosevelt Jones was lost for the season following head coach Brad Stevens taking the job as the Boston Celtics head man. Yet, there's Butler playing Butler basketball, never letting any opponent off the hook, always competing. League doesn't matter, coach doesn't matter, players don't matter. Here's their tempo and efficiency numbers from KenPom for the last three seasons.

Butler_kenpom_medium

Creighton (10-2, #14)

Points Leader: Doug McDermott, 24.8 ppg
Rebounds Leader: Doug McDermott, 7.3 rpg
Assists Leader: Grant Gibbs, 4.3 apg
Best Win: vs #38 Arizona State, 88-60
Worst Loss: vs #64 George Washington, 60-53

It's worth nothing that Austin Chatman averages 4.25 assists per contest. It's not surprising that the Bluejays have two guys in the top 5 in assists in the conference. Under Greg McDermott, they pass to an open shooter and they make shots: In the last three seasons, they've either been #1 or #2 in the country in eFG%, and they've been top 10 in the percentage of made buckets that came with an assist attached. McDermott's not even their most dangerous shooter this season. That title goes to senior Ethan Wragge, who has been positively Novak-ian with a 50.5% mark behind the arc and an eFG% of 72.9%.

DePaul (8-5, #135)

Points Leader: Cleveland Melvin, 16.1 ppg
Rebounds Leader: Cleveland Melvin, 7.1 rpg
Assists Leader: Brandon Young, 4.2 apg
Best Win: #123 Oregon State, 93-81
Worst Loss: at #151 Illinois State, 69-64

Other than that road loss at ISU, DePaul's been positively frisky this non-conference season. Well, okay, maybe not. Yes, their other four losses are to top 65 KenPom teams, but three of them are by 18 or more points. No bueno. There's also the matter of that overtime win against Chicago State. The upside for them this season is that they have two freshmen, Billy Garrett and Tommy Hamilton, who are already making big contributions for the team. The downside is that we could have been saying the same thing about Young and Melvin three years ago.

Georgetown (8-3, #32)

Points Leader: D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera, 16.3 ppg
Rebounds Leader: Nate Lubick, 6.2 rpg
Assists Leader: Markel Starks, 4.5 apg
Best Win: vs #31 VCU, 64-80
Worst Loss: vs #160 Northeastern, 63-56

Strangely, Georgetown wouldn't have gotten the opportunity for their best win if they hadn't lost to Northeastern in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip Off. The way these three day tournaments go, if you lose your first game, there usually aren't great chances for wins the next two days. But San Juan was the home of upsets on that first day, so the Hoyas actually got their two best wins of the season by losing to the Huskies. Their other two losses are to top 25 KenPom teams, and the wins are largely the expected result of buy games at home. GU's problems are coming on the defensive end, as they allow a ton of offensive rebounds (#248 in the country in defensive rebound rate) and they allow a TON of free throws, as only 16 teams have a worst defensive Free Throw Rate.

Marquette (8-5, #43)

Points Leader: Davante Gardner, 13.5 ppg
Rebounds Leader: Davante Gardner, 6.2 rpg
Assists Leader: Derrick Wilson, 4.0 apg
Best Win: vs #64 George Washington, 76-60
Worst Loss: at #47 New Mexico, 75-68

We can skip this one, since you're all paying careful attention to Marquette anyway. Although I will stop and note that Derrick Wilson is tied for the Big East lead in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.7/1.

Providence (10-3, #67)

Points Leader: Bryce Cotton, 19.5 ppg
Rebounds Leader: LaDontae Henton, 7.5 rpg
Assists Leader: Bryce Cotton, 5.6 apg
Best Win: vs #88 Vanderbilt, 67-60
Worst Loss: vs #69 Maryland, 56-52

The Friars have lost the games against the three best KenPom teams that they've faced. Bad news for them: Seven of the other nine teams in the Big East have KenPom rankings better than Maryland right now. They still have the core of the team that I found to be incredibly entertaining last season, so perhaps they can catch a break or two in league play. Unfortunately, reinforcements are not coming, as Providence recently announced that notable freshmen Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock have been suspended for the remainder of the season. Neither Austin nor Bullock have played at all this year due to an incident that no one in Rhode Island wants to talk about.

St. John's (9-3, #54)

Points Leader: D`Angelo Harrison, 19.5 ppg
Rebounds Leader: JaKarr Sampson, 6.8 rpg
Assists Leader: Sir`Dominic Pointer, 2.4 apg
Best Win: vs #93 Georgia Tech, 69-58
Worst Loss: vs #82 Penn State, 89-82 (OT)

Pointing out their worst loss here is slightly unfair. St. John's other two losses are to Wisconsin and Syracuse, teams that are top ten in the country right now, no matter how you want to rank them. That said, with Harrison back in the fold and apparently behaving himself after his suspension towards the end of last season, I'm struggling to figure out how the Red Storm isn't a more potent offense. We know their defense is always going to be a challenge for any opponent as long as Chris Obekpa, the best shot blocker in the country, is on the floor.

Seton Hall (9-4, #121)

Points Leader: Sterling Gibbs, 15.9 ppg
Rebounds Leader: Gene Teague, 9.4 rpg
Assists Leader: Sterling Gibbs, 3.9 apg
Best Win: vs #130 Virginia Tech, 68-67
Worst Loss: #319 Fairleigh Dickinson, 58-54

UGH, REALLY? A home loss to Farleigh Dickinson? Just yesterday, I made fun of Rutgers for losing at home to the Knights. What is it with New Jersey, anyway? Teague might be a great rebounder, but he took a nasty spill the other day and was diagnosed with "a bad concussion." Not that there's really severity levels once your brain rams into the inside of your skull. It's going to be one of those seasons for the Pirates. Look at their official stat sheet. Not one player has started all 13 games for SHU, and only four have actually played in all 13.

Villanova (11-1, #8)

Points Leader: James Bell, 16.2 ppg
Rebounds Leader: James Bell, 6.3 rpg
Assists Leader: Darrun Hilliard, 3.3 apg
Best Win: vs #6 Kansas, 63-59
Lone Loss: at #5 Syracuse, 78-62

I'll admit it: I was surprised to find Bell and Hilliard's names for this stat list. I'm not entirely sure who I expected to lead the team in scoring and rebounding, although it was probably JayVaughn Pinkston. I was legitimately stunned to see that Ryan Arcidiacono is not their assist leader, though. It's a deep Wildcats team, with nine guys averaging 12 minutes per contest. KenPom projects them for a 13-5 record in conference play right now, but if you go with the game-by-game predictions, there's only 1 loss on the table right now. Villanova can't be THAT good, can they?

Xavier (10-3, #40)

Points Leader: Semaj Christon, 14.7 ppg
Rebounds Leader: Matt Stainbrook, 8.5 rpg
Assists Leader: Dee Davis, 4.3 apg
Best Win: #25 Tennessee, 67-63
Worst Loss: vs #101 USC, 84-78

Davis is the assists leader based on average, but because he missed the first two games, Christon actually has more total assists right now. It's a nice collection of non-conference wins for the Musketeers. Losing to the 101st ranked team isn't the worst thing in the world, and that can shift to a top 100 team with a little bit of luck. But all three losses came in the Battle 4 Atlantis, including dropping a 15 point game to the Volunteers squad that they had already beaten at home. Wins over Cincinnati on a neutral court and on the road against Alabama alleviate some of the trepidation about the X-Men, but they're going to have to prove something in league play. Something to keep an eye on: Other than Christon and Stainbrook, who have started every game, seven different players have started a game for Xavier this season.

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