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Big East Power Rankings: Soaring Eagles

Yahoo Sports

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 Jan. 26)

As the victories mount for the Marquette Golden Eagles, one can't help but wonder: Does Tom Crean want his old job back?

While Crean continues to seek his first Big Ten win at rebuilding Indiana, his former team continues to achieve great things under new coach Buzz Williams. Monday's 71-64 victory at Notre Dame gives Marquette an 18-2 record overall and a 7-0 mark in the Big East. The Golden Eagles are one of just two undefeated teams in conference play.

“We wanted it to be a battle of wills and toughness and loose balls and scrums,” guard Dominic James said of facing Notre Dame. “I felt we won that battle tonight.”

Marquette has actually been doing it all season thanks to the guard trio of James, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews. The players, all seniors, combine to average 49.5 points.

As well as things are going for Marquette, they might get even better over the next three weeks. Two of the Golden Eagles' next seven games are against struggling Georgetown while another is against an overrated Villanova squad. The other four games are all against unranked opponents.

In other words, Marquette could enter its highly anticipated tilt with No. 2 Connecticut on Feb. 25 having already matched last season’s win total of 25. Not bad for a first-year head coach.

Now, this week's rankings:

1. Lousiville
(15-3, 6-0)
In case you've lost count, that's seven in a row for Earl Clark and the Cardinals, who play host to unranked South Florida and West Virginia this week.

2. Pittsburgh
(18-1, 6-1)
Look for Sam Young, DeJuan Blair and Co. to win their next six games before a Feb. 16 showdown at Connecticut.

3. Connecticut
(18-1, 7-1)
Last week was a good one for the Huskies, who beat Villanova before ending Notre Dame's 45-game home winning streak. Now they get a break with DePaul and Providence.

4. Marquette
(18-2, 7-0)
Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews fuel the Golden Eagles. Saturday's home game against struggling Georgetown is huge.

5. Syracuse
(17-4, 5-3)
Jim Boeheim's squad has lost three of its last four – all against ranked teams. Can't afford a slip-up at Providence on Wednesday.

6. Notre Dame
(12-7, 3-5)
Fighting Irish have been a huge disappointment. Tough to fare well in the Big East with a two-man team

7. Villanova
(15-4, 3-3)
Wildcats have single-digit losses to title contenders Louisville and Connecticut. Will they finally turn the corner against No. 3 Pittsburgh Wednesday?

8. West Virginia
(14-5, 3-3)
A win over Pittsburgh on Sunday would've been nice. Still, the Mountaineers are exceeding expectations.

9. Georgetown
(12-6, 3-4)
Hoyas lost back-to-back games against unranked opponents. Up next: Road tilts at Cincinnati and Marquette.

10. Providence
(13-6, 5-2)
Friars fans have to be pleased with the hiring of Keno Davis, who's facing his toughest week of the season with games against Syracuse and Connecticut.

11. Cincinnati
(13-7, 3-4)
Best wins of the season are against UNLV and Mississippi State. Next four games are against ranked opponents.

12. South Florida
(7-12, 2-5)
Single-digit losses to Syracuse, West Virginia and Villanova are an indication that Stan Heath's team is getting better after an atrocious start. Watch out for the Bulls next season.

12. St. John's
(11-8, 2-5)
Is Norm Roberts in trouble? Possibly. A victory at West Virginia on Wednesday would be a great way to start a season-ending surge.

12. Seton Hall
(10-9, 1-6)
Sunday's win over Georgetown snapped a six-game losing streak. The Pirates could actually win their next four games – but don't expect it.

12. DePaul
(8-12, 0-7)
Last three losses have come by an average of 7.3 points. It won't be that close against Connecticut on Wednesday.

12. Rutgers
(9-11, 0-7)
Poor Freddie Hill. The Scarlet Knights' slate began with losses to No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Connecticut and No. 3 Pittsburgh – and it's been downhill ever since.
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