Around the Big East: Week 11 (Basketball)

Story posted February 5, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Austin Groft

What a week for Big East basketball. Both Villanova and Creighton—the top two teams in the conference—lost in upset fashion. The Big East continues to entertain and is arguably the most competitive conference in the nation.

Villanova, ranked No. 3 in the nation, lost its first Big East game to St. John’s, which was the Wildcats’ first loss since Nov. 11 to Virginia Tech. Only two players from Villanova scored double figures despite having four starters that average double digits.

Give credit to St. John’s, currently the hottest team in the Big East, now winners of five straight games. At this rate, St. John’s is in the conversation to be a tournament team in March. The Red Storm’s defense gets better every week. Holding Villanova to a season-low 59 points might be one of the most impressive things they’ve accomplished.

Posh Alexander is rising and making a case for Freshman of the Year in the Big East. He is a great New York-style guard for St. John’s. He’s scrappy, leading the Big East in steals at 2.7 per game. It’s a great mix of offense and defense for the Red Storm, which also have the conference’s leading scorer Julian Champagnie, averaging 19.5 points per game.

Georgetown’s win over Creighton explains why you can’t take a night off in the Big East. It seemed Creighton’s defense was getting better, but the Bluejays allowed Georgetown to drop 86 points while shooting 50% from the field.

Marquette’s record doesn’t show how powerful of a team that it can be. DJ Carton finally got out of his slump, dropping 18 points in the Golden Eagles’ most recent game against Butler: a huge win for the Golden Eagles after they lost three in a row. Once Justin Lewis gets healthy, they’ll be back to normal.

Highly motivated Seton Hall beat Providence with ease. The Pirates lost three straight to Villanova, twice, and Creighton. They could have easily won all of those games. Sandro Mamukelashvili is a grown man who plays like a guard. This Seton Hall roster is crazy talented on offense and is a sleeper in the Big East this year.

It could be a rude awakening for UConn if James Bouknight remains out the rest of the year. The Huskies currently sit at 8-3 overall but are still playing somewhat well without Bouknight. Tyrese Martin and R.J. Cole have been stepping up to provide offensive firepower for the Huskies.

Xavier played its first game after being on pause from COVID-19 for two weeks. The Musketeers came back and looked like the same team they were beforehand, winning over Butler by 13 points. Adam Kunkel got his first start in a Musketeers uniform, scoring 15 points and shooting 100% from beyond the arc.

This weekend features a lot of great matchups between teams that are looking to bounce back from losses. The biggest game on the slate is between Creighton and Marquette.

 

Austin Groft is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email him at atg5271@psu.edu.