metro hoops rankings rutgers
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

In our first Big East Power Rankings, Villanova is the top dog while Iona stays strong in the MAAC

Sorry, Rutgers fans. They are out of the Metro Hoops Power Rankings for the moment. It doesn’t make sense to rank the “Big Three” local schools if the Scarlet Knights are going to be a doormat.

Losses to DePaul, Lafayette, UMass, and a blowout to Illinois will do that. Instead, let’s shift our attention to the Big East and the MAAC.

As for Rutgers, they will still be eligible for ESNY”s Metro Hoops Player of the Week and we will still cover the Scarlet Knights, but they are booted from our power rankings. Tough luck.

Let’s take a look at the power rankings for the Big East and the MAAC, plus ESNY’s Metro Hoops Player of the Week honors and games to watch this week.

Big East Power Rankings

  1. Villanova (6-2)
  2. UConn (8-1)
  3. Seton Hall (7-1)
  4. Xavier (7-1)
  5. Providence (8-1)
  6. Marquette (7-2)
  7. St. John’s (6-2)
  8. Creighton (7-2)
  9. Butler (5-3)
  10. DePaul (6-1)
  11. Georgetown (3-4)

Is anyone surprised to see Villanova at the top? They are the cream of the crop in the Big East year in and year out. The Wildcats are ranked sixth in the AP Top 25 Poll as the top dog in the Big East.

UConn is No. 15 and Seton Hall is No. 23. Unfortunately, the Huskies are going to be without forward Adama Sanogo for at least three weeks with an abominable strain. As for the Pirates, they have a big test against No. 7 Texas this week. A win would put another feather in Seton Hall’s non-conference resumé.

St. John’s entered the season fourth on our Big East projections, but they haven’t lived up to the hype. They have nothing to show for their non-conference schedule after losing to Indiana and Kansas.

The Johnnies need a top-three finish in the Big East to have a prayer at an at-large bid. That’s not an overreaction despite what delusional St. John’s fans might say.

MAAC Power Rankings

  1. Iona (Record: 8-2, MAAC Record: 2-0) — +/- 0
  2. Monmouth (7-1, 2-0) — 0
  3. Fairfield (5-3, 2-0) — +2
  4. Saint Peter’s (2-4, 1-1) — 0
  5. Quinnipiac (4-4, 1-1) — +1
  6. Manhattan (6-2, 1-1) — -3
  7. Marist (3-4, 1-1) — +1
  8. Niagara (3-5, 0-2) — -1
  9. Siena (3-6, 1-1) — +1
  10. Rider (3-8, 0-2) — -1
  11. Canisius (2-7, 0-2) — 0

MAAC conference play is starting and that means it is time for the conference to start cannibalizing itself. Iona nearly dropped a stunner to Marist in their MAAC opener but rallied to score 14 unanswered in the final minutes to win 78-71.

Siena went into the Yanitelli Center to beat Saint Peter’s by a bucket. Quinnipiac torched Manhattan 90-73. Fairfield took down Niagara on the road as well.

Prepare for chaos in the MAAC going forward. Iona and Monmouth look like a cut above the rest of the field, but teams three through 10 are anybody’s best guess.

Metro Hoops Player of the Week

metro hoops rankings
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Balanc averaged just 3.9 points per game for the Quinnipiac Bobcats last season, mostly off the bench. Head coach Baker Dunleavy continues to use Balanc off the bench, but he looks like a completely different player this year.

The third-year guard upped his average to 16.3 points per game after scoring 51 points in two games last week. Balanc tallied a career-high 31 points in Sunday’s beatdown of the Manhattan Jaspers.

Papas and Junior Joseph entered the season as two guys on All-MAAC watch lists. Balanc is coming out of nowhere to throw his name into the ring.

ESNY’s Metro CBB Player of the Week:

Local Games This Week

Wednesday, Dec. 8

Saint Peters vs. St. Francis (BKN) — 7:00 p.m. ET
Quinnipiac @ Dartmouth — 7
Fairfield vs. Holy Cross — 7
Marist @ Binghamton — 7
Canisius @ Northern Kentucky — 7
Niagara @ Eastern Michigan — 7

Thursday, Dec. 9

Seton Hall vs. Texas — 6:30
Rutgers vs. Purdue — 7
St. John’s vs. Monmouth — 8:30

Saturday, Dec. 11

Siena @ Holy Cross — 2
Quinnipiac vs. Maine — 2
Canisius @ Youngstown State — 2
Manhattan @ Utah — 5

Sunday, Dec. 12

St. John’s vs. Colgate — 12
Saint Peter’s vs. Nyack College — 1
Fairfield @ William & Mary — 1
Niagara vs. Buffalo State — 1
Marist vs. Navy — 2
Iona vs. Yale (N) — 7
Monmouth @ Pittsburgh — 7
Seton Hall vs. Rutgers — 7:30

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.