Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Big East Breakdown: Three Teams in Top 10; Bentil, Ellenson Honored; Power Rankings
For the first time in the brief history of the new-look Big East Conference, the league placed three teams in the Top 10 of the AP Poll on Monday..
For the first time in the brief history of the new-look Big East Conference, the league placed three teams in the Top 10 of the AP Poll on Monday.
Villanova is No. 6, Xavier is No. 7 and Providence is No. 10.
Villanova saw its 22-game league winning streak snapped on Sunday at the hands of Providence. Before that, the Wildcats hadn’t lost a league game since falling at Georgetown in January 2015.
On the Bracketology front, the Big East has four teams in the NCAA Tournament, according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi.
Villanova is a No. 1 seed, Xavier a 2, Providence a 5 and unranked Butler a 10.
BENTIL, ELLENSON HONORED
Providence forward Ben Bentil was named Big East Player of the Week and Marquette forward Henry Ellenson was tabbed Freshman of the Week. Bentil led the Friars to a pair of wins against ranked opponents, including an 82-76 overtime victory at fourth-ranked Villanova. Ellenson helped the Golden Eagles to a win at St. John’s by scoring 18 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and blocking four shots.
Bentil led Providence to a pair of victories against ranked Big East teams, while averaging 25.5 points and 10.0 rebounds. He scored a game-high 31 points, including 10 in overtime, and pulled down 13 boards to help PC win at No. 4 Villanova 82-76 on Sunday. Earlier in the week, Bentil scored 20 points and grabbed seven boards in a 71-68 victory over then-No. 18 Butler. The sophomore leads the league in scoring with a 19.8 average.
Ellenson earns Freshman of the Week honors for the fourth time this season after averaging 13.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocked shots in a 1-1 week. Ellenson had 16 points, 18 rebounds and four blocked shots in a 78-73 win at St. John’s. He had 11 points, six rebounds and four blocks in a 57-56 loss to DePaul. For the season, Ellenson ranks fifth in the Big East in scoring with a 15.7 average and first in rebounding with a 9.9 mark.
POWER RANKINGS1. Villanova (17-3, 7-1) – The Wildcats saw their 22-game league winning streak come to an end on Sunday against Providence. Still projected as a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. Next up: At St John’s, Sunday.
2. Xavier (17-2, 5-2) – Chris Mack’s club got back 6-foot-5 point guard Edmond Sumner after he missed time with a hed injury. Next up: At Providence, Tuesday.
3.Providence (17-3, 5-2) – Sophomore forward Ben Bentil was named Big East Player of the Week and has emerged as a dangerous Robin to Batman Kris Dunn. Next up: Xavier, Tuesday.
4. Butler (13-6, 2-5) – The Bulldogs have lost three of four and five and seven, but are still a projected NCAA Tournament team by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. Next up: DePaul, WEdnesday.
5. Creighton (14-6, 5-2) – After being picked ninth in the 10-team league, the Bluejays are now in a four-way tie for second. Next up: At Georgtown, Tuesday.
6.Georgetown (12-8, 5-2) – The Hoyas have lost two of their last three to Villanova and former Big East foe UConn. Next up: Creighton, Tuesday.
7. Marquette (13-7, 3-5) – The Golden Eagles had dropped three straight before winning at St. John’s on Sunday. Next up: Stetson,Wednesday.
8. Seton Hall (13-6, 3-4) – The Pirates have lost four of five, with two of those losses to Villanova. Next up: St. John’s, Wednesday.
9. DePaul (7-12, 1-6) – Dave Leitao‘s club earned its first league win last Wednesday at Marquette, 57-56. Next up: At Buter, Wednesday.
19. St. John’s (7-13, 0-7) – The Red Storm have dropped 10 straight overall and it seems to be all about the future in Queens. Next up: At Seton Hall, Wednesday.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.