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Five talking points from the midweek games

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Five games into the Big East schedule there are a fair amount of surprises. Villanova still tops the conference, but these other teams have also made noise.

Is DSR the best guard in the conference?
Is DSR the best guard in the conference?
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

With the Big East fully into conference play, there are up to four other games going on at the same time Xavier plays. That can all be a bit much to keep up with. Every early afternoon after conference game days, you'll be able to find five talking points from around the league right here to keep you up to date on the Big East.

Butler is tough as nails
There have now been seven road wins in conference play, and Butler is the only team that owns two of them after outlasting Seton Hall in OT on Tuesday. Despite having two starters foul out, despite having Alex Barlow struggle to 6/2/3 on 2-10/2-9/0-0 shooting, despite having Sterling Gibbs drop 30 on a cool 9-16/6-9/6-10 shooting, they found a way to get it done. Behind 23 and 8 from Roosevelt Jones and 9 and 15 from Kameron Woods, Butler limited turnovers and dominated the glass en route to victory. It might be about time to see the Bulldogs as legitimate challengers in the conference.

DSR makes his case for top guard in the league
Former Xavier commit D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera was averaging 13.3 PPG heading into Christmas, down four points per game from where he was last year. Since the holiday, however, he's posting a game line of 17.8/3.8/3.2 and shooting 45.4% from beyond the arc. He had 25/8/4 on 6-11/3-6/10-13 shooting to lead Georgetown to a win over DePaul that moved them to 3-2 in the Big East. The Hoyas have their share of issues as a team, but Smith-Rivera is the kind of player you want to have the ball in tough situations.

Villanova is still the class of the conference
The blip against Seton Hall has proven to be just that. Villanova is now 16-1 on the year and 4-1 in the Big East. Last night they completely destroyed Xavier at home and made a stunning 15 of 34 three pointers. Knocking off the Wildcats is going to take some doing. In conference play they are tops in offensive efficiency and second in defensive efficiency. Overall, they're tops in both.

St. John's still has life

Going into Wednesday's game, it was tempting to write off the Red Storm as contenders this year, due to their 0-3 conference record, the recent pair of home losses, and the fact they were at Providence. However, after surviving an early second half run, the Johnnies put Providence away by shooting 10-17 from three and getting 18/8/3 from SirDominic Pointer, one of four players who eclipsed 15 points last night. They are maddeningly inconsistent, but with Marquette, DePaul, and Creighton coming up, St. John's has a golden opportunity to get right back in the hunt.

Creighton does not

Last season, no one wanted to play the Blue (space) Jays because they knew Doug McDermott was going to get his and if anyone else did anything at all, Creighton became really hard to stop. It was always going to be a tough year in Omaha, but Creighton is currently in a tailspin, their lone win in their last eight games coming against Texas Pan American, which is surprisingly not an airline. Last night the only team in the Big East currently worse on offense than Creighton, Marquette, shot 18-43 from the floor and still beat the Blue Jays. Hard to see where the wins are going to come from for Creighton in the league this year.

CONFERENCE OVERALL
Big East W-L GB PCT W-L PCT STRK
#5 Villanova 4-1 -- .800 16-1 .941 W3
#21 Seton Hall 3-2 1 .600 13-4 .765 L1
Providence 3-2 1 .600 13-5 .722 L1
Butler 3-2 1 .600 13-5 .722 W2
Georgetown 3-2 1 .600 11-5 .688 W1
DePaul 3-2 1 .600 9-9 .500 L2
Marquette 2-2 1.5 .500 10-6 .625 W1
Xavier 2-3 2 .400 11-6 .647 L2
St. John's 1-3 2.5 .250 12-4 .750 W1
Creighton 0-5 4 .000 9-9 .500 L6