Editor's note: Each week, Yahoo! Sports college basketball writer Jason King will rank teams in each of the Big Six conferences plus the best of the rest. Tuesday's entry – The Big East Conference.
(Through games of Feb.2)
As good as the Big East is at the top, conference's bottom feeders are equally bad – so much so that as many as four coaches could be looking for new jobs a month from now.
Bobby Gonzalez (Seton Hall), Norm Roberts (St. John's), Jerry Wainwright (DePaul) and Fred Hill (Rutgers) are all rumored to be on the hot seat.
The two coaches who appear to be in the most danger are Wainwright and Hill. DePaul is winless in Big East play, and the only league victory Hill's Rutgers team has mustered came against the Blue Demons. Also working against Hill is that the athletic director who hired him was recently fired.
We'll know more in a month.
Now, on to the rankings. Previous rankings in parenthesis.
|Forward Jeff Adrien is one of the most underrated players in college basketball. The senior has posted 10 double-doubles this season and has scored 10 or more points in 12 straight games. In the last three seasons Adrien has averaged 33 minutes per contest. (2)|
|The Golden Eagles' next three games – against DePaul, South Florida and Villanova – are all on the road. Buzz Williams' squad needs to continue to stack up wins before a season-ending stretch that includes four straight contests against ranked opponents. (4)|
|DeJaun Blair had 23 points and 22 rebounds in last week's win over Notre Dame and All-American candidate Luke Harangody, but the big story was the Panthers' bench, which contributed 30 points. Pittsburgh takes on winless DePaul on Saturday before playing host to West Virginia. (2)|
|Overshadowed in Monday's blowout loss to Connecticut was a banner effort by senior guard Terrence Williams, who had a season-high 26 points and five blocks. Hopefully the NBA scouts seated at courtside took notice of Williams, the only Cardinal who didn't play scared against the Huskies. (1)|
|The Wildcats gained some momentum by beating Pittsburgh last week. The key now is to sustain it. Wednesday's game at Providence seems like a massive trap before No. 20 Syracuse and No. 8 Marquette comes to town. Dante Cunningham leads the team in points (16.7) and rebounds (7.1). (7)|
|6.||West Virginia |
|With Truck Bryant struggling, coach Bob Huggins asked Devin Ebanks to play point guard against Louisville last week. The kicker: Ebanks is 6-foot-9. Also of note: Forward Da'Sean Butler ranks fourth in the conference in scoring with 20.4 points per game. (8)|
|This week couldn't be any bigger for Keno Davis' Friars, who play host to Villanova on Wednesday before playing at West Virginia on Saturday. Victories in those games would give Providence a good argument for being one of the upper-tier teams in the Big East. (10)|
|The Orange had a full week to prepare for Wednesday's home game against West Virginia. Jim Boeheim's team probably needed it after losing to Providence. The defeat was the fourth in five games for Syracuse, which is getting 16.8 points per game from Jonny Flynn. (5)|
|9.||Notre Dame |
|The Fighting Irish need Kyle McAlarney to find his hot hand. Otherwise they may miss the NCAA tournament. Tough not to wonder about Notre Dame's confidence after five straight losses. Next contests at Cincinnati and UCLA – then its back to South Bend to take on Louisville. Egads. (6)|
|Sunday's 71-50 loss to Villanova was a huge disappointment – especially since the Bearcats were coming off a potentially momentum-building win over Georgetown. Maybe Cincinnati can reverse its fortunes Wednesday against Notre Dame. Everyone else seems to. (11)|
|Wow – that's five straight losses for the Hoyas, who lost at Marquette despite shooting 56 percent. Georgetown plays host to Rutgers and Cincinnati this week but, at this point, it's not safe to assume anything. (9)|
|12.||Seton Hall |
|Victories over USC and Georgetown and close losses to Providence, Villanova and Notre Dame gives the Pirates the edge among the bottom-tier teams. (14)|
|13.||St. John's |
|Paris Horne scored nine of his 19 points during an 18-2 game-winning run against South Florida. Horne is averaging 14.4 points for a Red Storm team that has a good shot to win its second straight when it plays at Seton Hall on Thursday. (13)|
|14.||South Florida |
|Just when it looked as if Stan Heath's squad was turning a corner, the Bulls endured a miserable week that included a 26-point loss to Louisville and a 17-point setback against St. John's. South Florida, which plays Marquette on Friday, has lost five of its last six. (12)|
|By beating DePaul on Saturday, the Scarlet Knights avoided their worst start since joining the Big East in 1995-96. Jaron Griffin scored 16 points in the victory after combining for just 32 points all season. (16)|
|The Blue Demons' 0-9 league record is its worst in 13 years, and it's only going to get worse as DePaul plays conference title contenders Marquette and Pittsburgh this week. (15)|