You know how Xavier is doing this. year. 2-0 in the record column, winless on Twitter, and either sorting things out slowly or showing no signs of progress depending on who you ask. So, it’s as it ever was on Victory Parkway. The rest of the Big East is a bit of a mixed bag. So, without the smash cuts and trips back to the studio, here’s a spin around the fourth best conference in basketball.
Here’s a shocker for you, Villanova is in the top 10. The Wildcats demolished Mount St. Mary’s before dropping an overtime game on the road against UCLA. As always, Nova is playing slowly, shooting well, taking care of the ball, and just generally being excellent. They’re a Final Four contender. Big East newcomers/returnees UConn are 2-0 and have crushed two cupcakes at home. The same can be said of Seton Hall. Neither team has shown much worth analyzing. Really good teams beat really bad teams at home. That’s how college ball works in November.
St. John’s deserves some special mention for their 2-0 so far. The Red Storm are playing blazingly fast under Mike Anderson and are averaging 105 points per game. SJU is first in the nation in two point field goal percentage, ninth in three point shooting, 81% at the line, and first in effective field goal percentage. They’ve not played anyone good, but my goodness.
Georgetown has divided opinion in the preseason. The Hoyas gave their detractors one to bank on by surrendering an 18-3 run to lose to Dartmouth at home in a game that wasn’t as close as the 69-60 final made it sound. Georgetown may yet be good after losing a lot from last year’s team, but on this evidence they have a long way to go. DePaul always goes in the bad column because until they spend a season proving otherwise, they are bad. The Blue Demons have two wins so far, but they also hired a guy who covered up sexual assault, so we’re leaving them here.
The Somewhere in Between
This is where Xavier would fall. Joining them are Marquette, Providence, Creighton, and Butler. Those five teams are a combined 11-0, but haven’t exactly set the world ablaze in getting there. All five have made heavy sledding of wins over teams they should have boat raced.
Butler beat IUPUI (#336) by only nine and Troy (#230) by 11. Neither of those teams is anything approaching good. Creighton scored 51 in 66 possessions against Kennesaw St (#287) and saw the Owls have the ball with a chance to tie in the last two minutes. Providence was back and forth with Fairfield (#222) for the entire second half before easing away to a seven point win. Marquette was in a close one against SIU Edwardsville (#314) before salting it away at the line and only beat New Hampshire (#215) by five.
None of that means that these teams are steamed garbage or that they won’t go on to play in the NCAA tournament. However, beating sub 200 teams in close games at home is not exactly the most auspicious way to start the season. The gap between the top three teams and the chasing pack looks to have widened substantially in the first week of the season.