Men's Basketball Weekly Report - Feb. 3

Midseason Glances... Winning Records - For the first time since the BIG EAST went to 16 teams in 2005-06, 11 teams own conference records of .500 or better at the midway mark of the conference season. Standings Surprises -- There are always midseason surprises in the BIG EAST. While Pittsburgh, the preseason favorite in the coaches' poll, is in first place with an 8-1 record, there are definitely some surprises. Notre Dame and Louisville were tabbed seventh and eighth place, respectively, by the coaches, but both teams are locked in a four-way tie for second place at 6-3. Connecticut and Cincinnati were picked to finish 10th and 12th. Both are "only" tied for eighth with 5-4 marks, but the Huskies have been ranked in the top 10 since the third week of the season and the Bearcats, though not in the polls this week, have been ranked during the season, in part, because of their 15-0 start. Non-conference Success - BIG EAST teams have amassed a 159-40 (.799) record versus non-conference competition. Only one non-league game remains, St. John's at UCLA on Saturday. Regardless of the outcome of that game, the league will finish the regular season with its best record against non-conference teams since 1988-89 when the league was 113-23 (.831). Stat Leaders - The BIG EAST determines its "champions" in statistical categories in league games. The current leaders: Scoring: Marshon Brooks, Providence, 23.6 Rebounding: Rick Jackson, Syracuse, 11.1 Assists: Scoop Jardine, Syracuse, 6.0 Steals: Duke Mondy, Providence, 2.4 Blocked Shots: Rick Jackson Syracuse, 2.8 FG Pct.: Gary McGhee, Pittsburgh, .640 3-Pt. Pct.: Dwight Buycks, Marquette, .500 FT Pct.: Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh, .955 Sagarin Rankings Have Strong BIG EAST Flavor As February arrives and postseason speculation intensifies, college basketball fans pour over numerous ranking systems. The Sagarin rankings, which are carried by USA Today, currently have 11 BIG EAST teams among the top 34 teams. The Big Ten is next with five teams in the top 40. The BIG EAST rankings are: 4. Pittsburgh, 8. Georgetown, 11. Syracuse, 12. Connecticut, 13. Villanova, 14. Notre Dame, 16. West Virginia, 17. Louisville, 21. Cincinnati, 30. Marquette, 34. St. John's.