Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Big East Bonanza: Midseason honors, stat leaders, power rankings

The midpoint of the Big East Conference season is upon us, and so too is the return of Big East Bonanza. As a result, the opening segment of our recap will focus on midseason recognitions before the traditional segue into stat leaders and power rankings. In this week's recap, all statistics reflected within were gleaned from the individual stat pages of each school's website for midseason awards, and from the Big East stat page for stat leaders.

Player of the Year: Jalen Brunson, Villanova (19.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 5.0 APG, 56% FG, 78% FT, 47% 3-pt FG)
CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein said it best about Jay Wright's junior point guard: Brunson is a computer-generated floor general. Not only is he an adept scorer and a passer far beyond his years, he wasted little time picking up where Josh Hart left off as the face of the Wildcats, a leader both on and off the hardwood. As the first of six double-figure scorers on the Main Line, the 21-year-old is like a bottle of fine wine: He just gets better by the day.

Freshman of the Year: Omari Spellman, Villanova (10.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 46% FG, 41% 3-pt FG)
Good things come to those who wait, and Spellman is proving the old adage true in his first season after being ruled ineligible a year ago. The redshirt freshman has fit right into Villanova's rotation, and has quickly asserted himself in the interior of Wright's outfit alongside Eric Paschall, giving the Wildcats more of a conventional look in the process.


Sixth Man of the Year: Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova (13.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.2 SPG, 50% FG, 42% 3-pt FG)
Phil Booth's hand injury will likely cost DiVincenzo this honor at the end of the year due to the sophomore having started too many games, but DiVincenzo adds a completely different dimension than any other reserve in the conference, his tour de force against St. John's on January 13 being Exhibit A of just how valuable the Big Ragu can be. Should DiVincenzo ultimately exceed the criteria for sixth man honors, Xavier's Kerem Kanter would be next in line.


Defensive Player of the Year: Mikal Bridges, Villanova (16.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.2 BPG, 1.9 SPG)
You may have noticed a recurring theme among our first four selections, and it only underscores the lethality of this year's incarnation of the Wildcats. For this award, it came down to Bridges and Creighton's Khyri Thomas, both of whom shared this distinction last season; and while Thomas' on-ball defense (see his work on Shamorie Ponds last week at St. John's among his many showcase performances) earns him top billing, the two-way ability of Bridges to alter shots in the paint and then get out in transition is second to none, which gives him the edge at the end of the day.


Most Improved Player: Markus Howard, Marquette (21.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.9 APG, 47% FG, 95% FT, 38% 3-pt FG)
Very rarely do you see the conference's leading scorer considered as the most improved player in the conference, but Howard has transformed in his sophomore season. The 18-year-old, in addition to his Big East-leading 21-plus points per game and explosive offense, has become a full-fledged superstar under Steve Wojciechowski's tutelage, expanding his game to solidify himself as a threat whenever he is on the floor, regardless of whether or not the ball is in his hands.


Coach of the Year (tie): Chris Mack, Xavier; and Greg McDermott, Creighton
Jay Wright being able to add perhaps his finest work to the Villanova tapestry by shepherding the top-ranked team in the nation deserves its fair share of plaudits, but the nod here goes to coaches who were not expected to win as much as the Wildcats, yet have positioned themselves to overachieve with legitimate Final Four contenders. In the case of Mack, whose Xavier program comes into tonight's meeting with St. John's ranked sixth in the country, it is a case of the Musketeers putting last year's late-season struggle to rest and finding ways to impact the game beyond leading scorer Trevon Bluiett. For McDermott, it is the Bluejays' trademark efficiency, magnified by having to replace Justin Patton, that places him in the conversation for top coach honors, not to mention getting the most out of a nine-man rotation that added to its depth with Jacob Epperson making his debut against Georgetown.

Midseason All-Big East First Team (in alphabetical order)
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier (18.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.7 APG, 46% FG, 81% FT, 43% 3-pt FG)
Mikal Bridges, Villanova (16.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.2 BPG, 1.9 SPG, 49% FG, 83% FT, 43% 3-pt FG)
Jalen Brunson, Villanova (19.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 5.0 APG, 56% FG, 78% FT, 47% 3-pt FG)
Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (13.2 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.0 BPG, 49% FG)
Marcus Foster, Creighton (19.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, 51% FG, 79% FT, 45% 3-pt FG)

Markus Howard, Marquette (21.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.9 APG, 47% FG, 95% FT, 38% 3-pt FG)

Midseason All-Big East Second Team (in alphabetical order)
Jessie Govan, Georgetown (16.2 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.3 BPG, 49% FG, 76% FT, 33% 3-pt FG)
Kelan Martin, Butler (19.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 45% FG, 85% FT, 32% 3-pt FG)
Shamorie Ponds, St. John's (19.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.7 APG, 2.3 SPG, 84% FT)
Desi Rodriguez, Seton Hall (17.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 50% FG, 71% FT, 36% 3-pt FG)
Andrew Rowsey, Marquette (20.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 43%% FG, 90% FT, 42% 3-pt FG)

Midseason All-Big East Third Team (in alphabetical order)
Kamar Baldwin, Butler (15.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, 44% FG, 75% FT, 34% 3-pt FG)
Kyron Cartwright, Providence (11.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 6.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 47% FG, 83% FT, 45% 3-pt FG)
Marcus Derrickson, Georgetown (15.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 51% FG, 89% FT, 42% 3-pt FG)
Sam Hauser, Marquette (14.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 50% FG, 91% FT, 50% 3-pt FG)
Khyri Thomas, Creighton (14.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.5 SPG, 50% FG, 84% FT, 38% 3-pt FG)

Midseason All-Big East Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
Rodney Bullock, Providence (16.0 PPG, 1.3 APG, 44% FG, 73% FT, 35% 3-pt FG)
Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova (13.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.2 SPG, 50% FG, 42% 3-pt FG)
Marin Maric, DePaul (12.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.3 APG, 51% FG, 88% FT, 33% 3-pt FG)
Justin Simon, St. John's (11.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 4.9 APG, 2.6 SPG, 47% FG, 43% 3-pt FG)
Max Strus, DePaul (17.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.2 SPG, 43% FG, 81% FT, 36% 3-pt FG)

Midseason Big East All-Defensive Team (in alphabetical order)
Mikal Bridges, Villanova (16.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.2 BPG, 1.9 SPG)
Tariq Owens, St. John's (8.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.4 BPG)
Shamorie Ponds, St. John's (19.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.7 APG, 2.3 SPG)
Justin Simon, St. John's (11.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 4.9 APG, 2.6 SPG)
Khyri Thomas, Creighton (14.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.5 SPG)

Scoring Leaders
1) Markus Howard, Marquette (21.7 PPG)
2) Andrew Rowsey, Marquette (20.5)

3) Marcus Foster, Creighton (19.9)
4) Kelan Martin, Butler (19.6)
5) Jalen Brunson, Villanova (19.4)
6) Shamorie Ponds, St. John's (19.1)
7) Trevon Bluiett, Xavier (18.9)
8) Max Strus, DePaul (17.8)
9) Desi Rodriguez, Seton Hall (17.4)
10) Mikal Bridges, Villanova (16.7)

Rebounding Leaders
1) Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (12.0 RPG)
2) Jessie Govan, Georgetown (10.3)
3) Martin Krampelj, Creighton (8.1)
4) Omari Spellman, Villanova (7.4)
5) Justin Simon, St. John's (7.4)
6) Marcus Derrickson, Georgetown (7.3)
7) Ronnie Harrell, Jr., Creighton (6.6)
8) Rodney Bullock, Providence (6.6)
9) Kelan Martin, Butler (6.5)
10) Tariq Owens, St. John's (6.2)
11) Marin Maric, DePaul (6.2)

Assist Leaders
1) Kyron Cartwright, Providence (6.4 APG)
2) Quentin Goodin, Xavier (5.3)
3) Jalen Brunson, Villanova (5.0)
4) Justin Simon, St. John's (4.9)
5) Shamorie Ponds, St. John's (4.7)
6) Khadeen Carrington, Seton Hall (4.3)
T-7) Eli Cain, DePaul (4.2)
T-7) Andrew Rowsey, Marquette (4.2)
9) Aaron Thompson, Butler (3.7)
10) Jonathan Mulmore, Georgetown (3.6)

Field Goal Percentage Leaders
1) Tyler Wideman, Butler (.679)
2) Martin Krampelj, Creighton (.671)
3) Tyrique Jones, Xavier (.657)
4) Kerem Kanter, Xavier (.566)
5) Jalen Brunson, Villanova (.555)
6) Kaleb Johnson, Georgetown (.553)
7) Toby Hegner, Creighton (.540)
8) Tariq Owens, St. John's (.531)
9) Eric Paschall, Villanova (.510)
10) Marcus Derrickson, Georgetown (.510)
11) Marin Maric, DePaul (.510)

Free Throw Percentage Leaders
1) Markus Howard, Marquette (.952)
2) Andrew Rowsey, Marquette (.901)
3) Marcus Derrickson, Georgetown (.889)
4) Marin Maric, DePaul (.883)
5) Eric Paschall, Villanova (.864)
6) Kelan Martin, Butler (.851)
7) Khadeen Carrington, Seton Hall (.839)
8) Khyri Thomas, Creighton (.836)
9) Shamorie Ponds, St. John's (.835)
T-10) Kyron Cartwright, Providence (.833)
T-10) J.P. Macura, Xavier (.833)

Three-Point Field Goal Percentage Leaders
1) Sam Hauser, Marquette (.496)
2) Jalen Lindsey, Providence (.478)
3) Jalen Brunson, Villanova (.472)
4) Marcus Foster, Creighton (.449)
5) Kyron Cartwright, Providence (.448)
6) Kaiser Gates, Xavier (.444)
7) Toby Hegner, Creighton (.435)
8) Trevon Bluiett, Xavier (.430)
9) Phil Booth, Villanova (.430)
10) Mikal Bridges, Villanova (.425)
11) Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova (.423)

Steal Leaders
1) Justin Simon, St. John's (2.6 SPG)
2) Shamorie Ponds, St. John's (2.3)
3) Mikal Bridges, Villanova (1.9)
4) Kamar Baldwin, Butler (1.6)
5) J.P. Macura, Xavier (1.5)

Blocked Shot Leaders
1) Tariq Owens, St. John's (3.4)
2) Omari Spellman, Villanova (1.4)
3) Jessie Govan, Georgetown (1.3)
4) Mikal Bridges, Villanova (1.2)
5) Matt Heldt, Marquette (1.0)

Power Rankings (last set of rankings are from January 17)
1) Villanova (20-1, 7-1 Big East)
Last Week:
 1

Last Game: Sunday 1/28 at Marquette (W 85-82)
Next Game: Thursday 2/1 vs. Creighton, 6:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. CT)

2) Xavier (19-3, 7-2 Big East)
Last Week:
 3

Last Game: Wednesday 1/24 vs. Marquette (W 89-70)
Next Game: Tuesday 1/30 at St. John's (Carnesecca Arena), 8:30 p.m.

3) Creighton (17-5, 7-3 Big East)
Last Week:
 4

Last Game: Saturday 1/27 vs. Georgetown (W 85-77)
Next Game: Thursday 2/1 at Villanova, 5:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. ET)


4) Seton Hall (16-5, 5-3 Big East)
Last Week: 2
Last Game: Sunday 1/28 at DePaul (W 86-70)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/31 vs. Providence, 7 p.m.

5) Butler (15-7, 5-4 Big East)
Last Week: 7
Last Game: Saturday 1/27 vs. St. John's (W 70-45)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/31 at Marquette, 9 p.m. (8 p.m. CT)

6) Providence (14-7, 5-3 Big East)
Last Week:
 6

Last Game: Tuesday 1/23 at Villanova (L 89-69)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/31 at Seton Hall, 7 p.m.

7) Marquette (13-8, 4-5 Big East)
Last Week:
 5

Last Game: Sunday 1/28 vs. Villanova (L 85-82)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/31 vs. Butler, 8 p.m. (9 p.m. ET)

8) Georgetown (13-8, 3-7 Big East)

Last Week: 8
Last Game: Saturday 1/27 at Creighton (L 85-77)
Next Game: Saturday 2/3 at Xavier, 6 p.m.

9) DePaul (9-12, 2-7 Big East)
Last Week:
 9

Last Game: Sunday 1/28 vs. Seton Hall (L 86-70)
Next Game: Saturday 2/3 at Butler, 11 a.m. (12 p.m. ET)

10) St. John's (10-12, 0-10 Big East)
Last Week:
 10

Last Game: Saturday 1/27 at Butler (L 70-45)
Next Game: Tuesday 1/30 vs. Xavier (Carnesecca Arena), 8:30 p.m.

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