NCAA Basketball Big East BasketballCincinnati BearcatsConnecticut HuskiesDePaul Blue DemonsGeorgetown HoyasLouisville CardinalsMarquette Golden EaglesNotre Dame Fighting IrishPittsburgh PanthersProvidence FriarsRutgers Scarlet KnightsSeton Hall PiratesSouth Florida BullsSt. John's Red StormSyracuse OrangeVillanova Wildcats

College Basketball Week 9: Big East Power Rankings

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College Basketball Week 9: Big East Power Rankings

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Are you an insufferable SEC lover? Or maybe a Notre Dame Fighting Irish fan just down in the dumps. Whatever side you fall on this day-after an atrociously played BCS National Title game, we welcome all to the return of the Big East Power Rankings. Conference play has finally gotten underway and teams are starting to show their true colors. While certain teams are clearly trending downward, others are really beginning to find themselves and making strides for Big East relevancy.

The funny thing about being in the Big East this year is that it'll likely be the last season the conference matters at this level. It's comparable to when a professional wrestler(yes I just went there) goes on his farewell tour of the country. He(or she), clearly isn't what they used to be. Gone are the days of him jumping off the top rope to land that fantastic looking moonsault. Nor can they cut an edgy promo for all those teenagers out there(come on, he's 62. He can't be hip forever). Nope, all that's left for the guy is a couple of routine maneuvers that keeps the crowd hot for him. This year, the Big East is kind of like that, still very good but not at the level it was. We are all just hanging on for this last season's farewell tour.

For as much as I hammer what has been going on in the Big East, I'm going to miss it. However, this conference is still churning out 5 star performances at Wrestlemania, so let's get on with the return of the Big East Power Rankings: Week 6!

Joe covers the Catholic Seven for Rant Sports while dabbling in some others. For the love of Sam Cassell, follow Joe on the social media device known as the Twitter Machine @JosephNardone

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15- Providence Friars (Previously 12)

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

So somebody has to be the worst team in the conference, right? The Friars are rolling, unfortunately for them it's a four game losing streak. Technically speaking, this team is just a mess. But there is definitely silver lining in the Providence gray skies, some "experts" expect the Friars to be a top 10 team next year. However, for this year, injuries have just overwhelmed the team and (through no fault of their own) has cost them the season.

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14- DePaul Blue Demons (Previously 15)

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

This is where it starts to get tough. Teams 14-10 can be mixed around pretty much anyway you want. DePaul gets slated here mostly based off their overall record, yet they can easily be ranked as high as 10 this week. There isn't nearly as much separation between them and the rest of the lower half of the Big East as we normally expect.

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13- South Florida Bulls (Previously 10)

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of people expected more from South Florida this year, as of now, I'm wondering why. For the most part the Bulls have beaten teams they are supposed to while losing to teams that are clearly better. But a couple of bad early season losses still have me doubting them.

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12- Seton Hall Pirates (Previously 11)

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Don't let their 12-3 overall record fool you. Seton Hall isn't a bad team by any stretch of the imagination. However they haven't beaten a single team worthy of giving an atomic leg-drop to. They could easily drop at least two of their next four games. But if they prove me wrong, and win three out of the four, they will crack the top ten next week.

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11- St. John's Red Storm (Previously 9)

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

While they did beat a team ranked much higher than them this past week, the Johnnies have been more inconsistent than Marty Jannetty was after the Rockers split up in the early 90's. This is all expected from them considering their youth. But the road doesn't get any easier from here for the Red Storm, they have to start winning games in bunches or this season can get ugly quick.

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10- Villanova Wildcats (Previously 13)

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

I don't know if they righted the ship or if they just played bad teams. The Wildcats started the season with some horrible play but have rattled off six straight victories. The key for the rest of Nova's season likely rests on the hands of freshman Ryan Arcidiacono, who might have found his offensive game this new year. In his last two games, Arcidiancono is averaging 24.5 points per game.

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9- Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Previously 14)

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

You read that right, Rutgers has cracked the top ten and for good reason. With a key win against the team ranked just ahead of them(click next to find out!), Rutgers might be the sneakiest team in the Big East. Head coach Mike Rice has not only helped secure his job with the Scarlet Knights but have them playing some of their best basketball in the last few years.

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8- Pittsburgh Panthers (Previously 4)

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

I so badly wanted to put Rutgers ahead of the Panthers here. But history keeps me from believing that game was anything more than just one bad loss for Pitt. However a trend is starting to develop with that being their second straight loss, and if Jamie Dixon doesn't solve some major problems, next week the Panthers might have another two indiscretions behind them.

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7- Georgetown Hoyas (Previously 7)

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

I love the history of the Big East as well as the history of Georgetown hoops. Recent history has taught me that, while the team is pretty boring to watch, the Hoyas are a solid squad every season. More of the same for Georgetown this year as they nonchalantly win games at a solid clip and lose less than one a month.

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6- Marquette Golden Eagles (Previously 8)

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Do you know what a Golden Eagle is? Is it somehow related to the Bald Eagle, except the top of its dome is covered in gold? I don't have the answers to any of that(even though they are a Google search away) and it doesn't matter while doing Big East Power Rankings. What I do know is that the Golden Eagles beat the Hoyas, making them move exactly one spot ahead of them this week.

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5- Connecticut Huskies (Previously 6)

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

I know they just lost but I'm on the UConn bandwagon. Kevin Ollie should be the front-runner for Big East Coach of the Year and has his team playing great despite having no depth. As with their colleagues, the next week will be telling to how well the Huskies might fair during conference play. I don't know how long they can hold up playing their three best players over 30 minutes a game at the pace they do, but it's as fun a team to watch in the Big East right now.

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4- Cincinnati Bearcats (Previously 3)

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Who are these Bearcats and why do they continue to make me look like an idiot. I told anyone who would listen to me before the season that they weren't going to be as good as experts said. Then, after they won often and early, I finally caved and admitted they were pretty good. You know what happened after that? Oh, that's right, they made me look like an idiot(again?), dropping their last two games. Either they are an evil team that likes playing with my emotions or (more likely) I gave them the kiss of death.

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3- Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Previously 5)

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

And another missed tackle.....To go along with a bad joke.

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2- Louisville Cardinals (Previously 2)

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Peyton Siva got all the preseason hype, deservedly so. But it's junior Russ Smith that folks need to start blubbering about. Smith has become a steady source of bucket-making for the Cardinals. If I didn't know any better(or experts didn't tell me I was wrong), I would think it was Smith, not Siva, who is the most crucial player for Louisville.

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1- Syracuse Orange (Previously 1)

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

They might have lost their football coach to one of the worst NFL franchises going, but Syracuse has topped the Big East Power Rankings yet again! Instead of breaking down how they have an awesome match-up coming up against Louisville on January 19, I want you to think of this. Somehow, over many years, Jim Boeheim has convinced young people that Syracuse is a great place to play college hoops. During basketball season I don't think it ever cracks 20 degrees there. I've been told, through unreliable courses, the Carrier Dome doubles as a giant generator, used to heat the city.

Oh, and Boeheim is actually the man under the Rey Mysterio mask. Forgot I had a bad wrestling theme going, you're welcome.