Xavier takes a shocking loss, Villanova had an up-and-down week, and Butler’s continued struggles casts LaVall Jordan’s future in uncertainty
This is the fifth installment of a weekly series recapping the previous week of action in the Big East.
Providence’s Jared Bynum was named Big East Player of the Week after recording a career-high 32 points off the bench in a 71-52 win over Georgetown. In that 19-point win over the Hoyas, he went 11-for-15 from the field, shot a scorching 7-for-8 from three-point range, and snatched 5 steals. The redshirt junior guard also registered 19 points in a win against St. John’s.
For the second straight week, Posh Alexander earned a spot on the Big East Honor Roll. He scored a career-high 29 points in a 86-82 loss to Providence on Thursday, February 3rd. He also tallied at least 10 points and 5 assists in each of the Red Storm’s road victories over Georgetown and Butler.
Honor Roll winners
- Courvoisier McCauley, DePaul, G
- Tyler Kolek, Marquette, G
- Posh Alexander, St. John’s, G
- Kadary Richmond, Seton Hall, G
- Eric Dixon, Villanova, F
A recap of last week’s storylines…
Xavier stepped on a landmine
The month of February always pits tournament-hopeful teams in danger of dropping a game to a soft opponent, staining their resume in the process. Unfortunately for Xavier, they stepped on a landmine by losing to DePaul on their home floor on Saturday, 69-65. DePaul has once again flopped in Big East play and they have only won one of their first 10 conference games this season, and they can once again play as spoilers for the other teams in the Big East.
This was also Xavier’s first “bad” loss of the season, as the Musketeers’ previous five losses came against teams who are currently ranked or are receiving votes in the AP Poll. With four more Quad 1 opportunities, plus three games against two other landmine teams (one versus Georgetown, two versus St. John’s), Xavier can fall out of tournament contention just as easily as they can earn a high seed in March.
Villanova swept by Marquette, then crushed UConn without Justin Moore
It was a turbulent week for Villanova. Last Wednesday, they were thoroughly outplayed in their second game versus Marquette, losing 83-73. The losses didn’t just come in the scoring column, as Justin Moore suffered an ankle injury in the middle of this game that would keep him out of the Wildcats’ next game versus UConn.
Surely UConn would take advantage of an ailing Villanova team that is without their second-best scorer?
They didn’t. Matter of fact, they were nearly run out of Wells Fargo Center. The 85-74 final score did not illustrate the true flow of the game, as Villanova sat in cruise control throughout the vast majority of the game. The Wildcats’ typically low-key big man Eric Dixon had a breakout game and scored a career-high 24 points against the Huskies.
However, Villanova fans had to hold their breath once again as Collin Gillespie rolled his ankle with under seven minutes to go in the second half. Coach Jay Wright initially described Gillespie’s injury as a “severely sprained ankle”, but he was able to play in last night’s game versus St. John’s.
“Collin has no fracture, severe sprain. Neither one of them practiced today, so it’s literally going to be how they feel tomorrow. They’ll go through their treatment tonight and see how they do. Even if they play, I dont expect to be 100%.” – Jay Wright on Gillespie and Moore
— Eugene Rapay (@erapay5) February 7, 2022
LaVall Jordan’s seat is heating up
Butler has been lost in the shuffle of the Big East this season and if it weren’t for the all-time cratering of Georgetown, the Butler Bulldogs could surely become the least impressive team in the Big East. They are 1-12 in Quad 1 and Quad 2 games, with that lone victory coming in a contest versus Oklahoma in Norman.
Butler has been ranked as recently as the final AP Poll of the 2019-20 season and they would have been a shoo-in for a tournament bid if the NCAA tournament was not cancelled, and the Bulldogs won an NCAA tournament game in LaVall Jordan’s first year as head coach. But as you would expect out of a fanbase from the hoops fanatical state of Indiana, patience can grow thin quickly.
— Lavall Jordan Anti-Burner Account (@Leitaodubs1) February 9, 2022
Butler has lost each of their last three games by one possession and they are on pace for their second straight losing season and Bulldogs fans are losing faith in their fifth-year head coach.
Unless Butler goes on an improbable Big East tournament championship run akin to last year’s Georgetown team, LaVall Jordan’s fate may be sealed.