1. Villanova Wildcats
(#9 in NCAA, 18-2, 7-1 Big East, 3-0 City 6)
Last week: W @ Marquette, W @ Georgetown
It was only natural for the Wildcats to slide down the NCAA rankings like an unfortunate game of Chutes & Ladders. I guess I was expecting a bigger slide after getting blasted by 40 at home to (now #20) Creighton. An overtime win against Marquette on Saturday probably stopped the bleeding, and the win last night over Georgetown has Villanova back on track. A City 6 matchup with Temple is on the way on Saturday before a pretty big game against Xavier (15-5, 5-2 Big East) on February 3rd.
2. St. Joseph’s Hawks
(13-6, 3-2 Atlantic 10, 2-2 City 6)
Last week: W vs. Rhode Island, L @ Richmond
It might be cold in Philadelphia — 16° as I’m typing this — but the Hawks have had a pretty hot stretch since the end of December. They’ve only lost two of their last ten — one being a four point loss at UMass — and they’ve scored 80 or more points in four of those contests. St. Joseph’s took an L to a pretty decent Richmond squad (14-6, 4-1 A-10), but the Hawks have a decent chance to rebound against Dayton tomorrow before their return bout with UMass on Saturday on City Line Ave.
3. La Salle Explorers
(11-8, 3-2 Atlantic 10, 2-1 City 6)
Last week: L @ St. Bonaventure, L vs. VCU
(Before I start on the Explorers, I’d like to observe a moment of silence for the recent passing of La Salle legend Tom Gola.) The Explorers had been as hot as St. Joseph’s recently (five straight wins), but they’ve dropped two straight since then. Treveon Graham had 34 points and 12 rebounds in the double overtime loss to VCU, but the final 10-2 run by the Rams proved to be the dagger. It doesn’t get much easier in the near future as two of their next three games are against ranked opponents: #21 UMass and #19 Saint Louis.
4. Drexel Dragons
(10-9, 2-4 Colonial Athletic Conference, 0-1 City 6)
Last week: L vs. William & Mary
Ouch. That’s really all I can say about Drexel’s two-point loss to the William & Mary Tribe on Saturday at The DAC. Chris Fouch hit a jumper with ten seconds left on the clock to add to his career-high total of 31 and put the Dragons up one, but junior Tribe guard Marcus Thornton answered with the final three of his 26 to win it for William & Mary. Hopefully, Drexel won’t take thoughts of that tough loss on the road when they travel to Towson and Hofstra.
5. Temple Owls
(5-13, 0-7 American Athletic Conference, 2-1 City 6)
Last week: L @ UConn, L vs. #15 Cincinnati
It’s getting to the point where I’m starting to just feel bad for the Temple Owls. I didn’t expect much when the Owls only went 4-3 to start the season. I just didn’t expect them to go on a stretch where they’d lose nine of ten and eight straight. As I’ve said from the start, it doesn’t help Temple that they’re in the American Conference — a conference that has three top-25 teams including the defending national champions. The Owls will be home all this week to host Rutgers and #9 Villanova on Saturday.
6. Pennsylvania Quakers
(4-11, 1-0 Ivy League, 0-4 City 6)
Last week: W vs. NJIT
The only good think I can say about the Penn Quakers is that they’re undefeated in Ivy League play. Of course, that’s only because Penn has only played one game, but that’s beside my point. The Quakers got a nice pair of performances by Miles Jackson-Cartwright and Tony Hicks — both of whom scored 23 points — in their win over NJIT on Saturday. The Quakers restart Ivy League play on Saturday on the road at Dartmouth followed by a game the next day against Harvard.