It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Villanova remains on top of the rankings, here. Why would it? They’re now sixth in the nation after beating Seton Hall and St. John’s last week. The next seven days are crucial for the Wildcats, though. They face DePaul Saturday before a HUGE game against a Creighton team that is finally ranked in the top-25. Villanova might want to consider putting all five guys on the Jays’ Doug McDermott. He’s only averaging 25.0 ppg while shooting 43% from deep. If he gets a wide open look, Jay Wright should consider making the team do suicides at halftime.
2. LaSalle Explorers
9-6 (2-0 in Atlantic 10; 1-1 in City 6)
Last week: W vs. George Washington; W at Duquesne
Here’s where things get interesting. My argument for the Explorers being here over St. Joseph’s is their win over George Washington. The Colonials — who’ll probably be ranked by season’s end — are a very good squad led by senior guard Maurice Creek, and LaSalle is on a nice little three game winning streak and wins in four of their last six. Sam Mills powered LaSalle over GW, and guard Tyreek Duren led the Explorers with 23 points and six assists in their 19-point win over Duquesne. LaSalle has a favorable week ahead of them with home games against Rhode Island and a City 6 contest with Temple on Saturday afternoon.
3. St. Joseph’s Hawks
10-5 (1-1 in Atlantic 10; 1-2 in City 6)
Last week: L at UMass; W at George Mason
So close. So gut punchingly, excruciatingly close. (That’s how close the gap is between St. Joe’s and LaSalle.) That’s also how that four point loss at UMass felt over the weekend. Chaz Williams went bonkers in the last six minutes of that game scoring eight of his final 22 points in that stretch, and St. Joe’s couldn’t answer. It was a valiant effort from the Hawks, however, and they rebounded nicely at George Mason. Hagan Arena should be rockin tomorrow for the Hawks’ A-10 home opener against Duquesne before traveling to University City to take on the Quakers at the Palestra.
4. Drexel Dragons
9-6 (1-1 in Colonial Athletic Association; 0-1 in City 6)
Last week: L at William & Mary; W vs. Northeastern
Drexel missed out on a chance to make a statement in the CAA by losing to William & Mary. In the same week, the Dragons showed why they’ll be competitive throughout conference play in their double overtime win over Northeastern. (How exciting was that game, by the way?) Chris Fouch could be a name to become familiar with if his 31-point outburst is any indication of his talents.
5. Temple Owls
5-9 (0-4 in American Athletic Conference; 2-0 in City 6)
Last week: L vs. South Florida; L vs. #24 Memphis
I said this last week, and it bears repeating. Temple is in the wrong conference — as evidenced by their 0-4 start to conference play. The American basically took the best of what used to be the Big East (minus Syracuse) and the best of Conference USA to form one huge gauntlet for the Owls. The Owls are on the road at #19 Cincinnati, so a win there is unlikely. Temple returns to Philadelphia four days later to play LaSalle at Tom Gola.
6. Penn Quakers
3-10 (1-0 in Ivy League; 0-3 in City 6)
Last week: W vs. Princeton
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the Penn Quakers for my remarks in last week’s City 6 power rankings. Your offense isn’t ugly — at least not totally. You were able to put up 77 against the Tigers at the Palestra, and you bullied them on the boards by 17. The Hawks are coming to the Palestra this weekend, so I’m hoping for a good game — since I might just be in attendance.