There is one easy win in conference
Coming into the season, it was assumed DePaul would be the Big East's gimme game. Then they raced out to the top spot in the league, and the talk became that there would be no easy marks in conference play. Meanwhile, a Creighton team that entered league play at 9-4 just kept losing. The Blue Jays now sit at 1-9 in the Big East, with their lone win coming by three over St. John's. In their loss to Georgetown (in Omaha) over the weekend, they suffered a 17-minute stretch without making a basket, allowing a 31-3 run over that time. Creighton is becoming the kind of team that anyone with tournament aspirations sweeps.
St. John's lack of depth might be catching up to them
D'Angelo Harrison, Sir'Dominic Pointer, Phil Greene, and Chris Obekpa all play over 75% of the available minutes. Beyond those four, only Rysheed Jordan (65%) and Jamal Branch (56%) play more than 11% of the available minutes for St. John's. When you only have six guys who you trust to play more than 4 minutes in any given game, it only takes a little to derail you. St. John's fans saw that play out over the last nine days, first being outscored by 19 in the last 9 minutes to fritter away a season-defining win against Duke, then failing to execute down the stretch against Creighton. A home win against Providence kept St. John's from falling off the map, but one gets the feeling that their season is teetering on the edge right now.
No one can get any separation
Quick: where is Xavier in the Big East right now? If you didn't know (they're sixth) it could be because the entire top seven of the conference is within two games of each other. St. John's has begun to slip away, but Villanova, Georgetown, Providence, Butler, Seton Hall, the Musketeers, and of course DePaul are all still very much alive in the race for the championship. With more than half of the conference slate played, no one is running away and hiding. That parity and the overall quality of the teams means the Big East is sitting pretty when it comes time to talk tournament bids.
Chrabascz comes into his own
Butler's sophomore stretch four came into the season trying to build on an, at times, impressive freshman season. He was largely peripheral in their non-conference schedule, but has come to the fore recently, going for at least double digits in 5 of his last 6, all of them coinciding with Bulldog wins. On Saturday, with Kelli Dunham and Roosevelt Jones combining to go 6-28, Chrabascz stepped up and dropped 30/8/1 in an overtime defeat of Marquette, needing only 17 field goal attempts to get there. Butler has come on strong as of late, and the uptick in scoring by Chrabascz has been a big factor.
Arcidiacono (and defense) keeps Nova rolling
Ryan Arcidiacono got all 18 of his points in the second half on Saturday, equaling the production of DePaul's entire team, which is typically a recipe for a win. Sure enough, the Wildcats defensive lockdown of the Blue Demons was coupled by a 23-27 performance from the line and they were able to survive a somewhat pedestrian shooting day comfortably. A large part of their complete defensive domination in the second half was the fact that DePaul was limited to 3 offensive rebounds on the game, with Daniel Ochefu ripping down 10 of their misses himself. Both of their losses have been sloppy performances, but if Nova doesn't help you, they are hard to beat.