Louisville

Having defeated the then-number-one seed Pittsburgh 69-63 Saturday, the Cardinals continued their winning ways at Rutgers, taking down the Scarlet Knights 78-59 on Wednesday night. In so doing, Louisville (14-3, 5-0 Big East) extended its current winning streak to six games heading into Sunday’s showdown at Syracuse. Senior forward Terrence Williams, who had 20 points in the win over Pittsburgh, uncorked a 23-point, 11-rebound performance topped off with four steals to lead the Cardinals to a win against Rutgers. Teammates junior swingman Earl Clark and freshman forward Samardo Samuels each got into the act for 15 points, with another 10 contributed by Edgar Sosa.

Next: at Syracuse, Sunday, Jan. 25 at noon; at GU, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m.

arquette

Down 45-40 at the half to host Providence, Marquette twice allowed the Friars to extend their lead to 13 points early in the second half before staging a comeback and pulling ahead. Senior guard Jerel McNeal, who scored 25 points, sunk a three-pointer with 1:54 left in regulation to give the Golden Eagles the lead for good. Junior forward Lazar Hayward also hung 25 on the Friars in the game. Jonathan Xavier, brother of Providence senior guard Jeff, provided a tense moment by vaulting the Friars’ bench and going toe-to-toe with an official after no foul was called on a play that resulted in Jeff Xavier’s exit with his eye swollen shut. While Jonathan awaited a police escort out of the arena, the on-court action stayed hot as Head Coach Buzz Williams’ Eagles pulled out a 91-82 victory to improve to 5-0 in the Big East and 16-2 overall. After Hayward’s go-ahead three, Marquette never relinquished the lead, outscoring Providence 12-6 in that span.

Next: vs. DePaul, Saturday, Jan. 24 at 2 p.m.; vs. GU, Jan. 31 at 2 p.m.; at GU, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m.

Pittsburgh

Coming off of its 69-63 loss to Louisville, Pittsburgh reasserted itself in convincing fashion on Monday night, soundly defeating visiting Syracuse by a 78-60 margin. Despite falling from the top spot in the rankings to number four in the wake of defeat in Louisville, the Panthers nevertheless own a 17-1 overall record, with five wins and one loss in conference play. Senior forward Sam Young, cold for the previous three and a half games, finally turned up the heat in the second half on Monday night, putting up 19 of his 22 points in that period. Determined not to let their first loss of the season slow them down or send them into an extended slump, Young and company played an extremely physical game, punctuated by two technical fouls within three minutes in the first half, a 40-28 advantage on the glass, and frustrating the Orange by holding them almost 22 points below their per-game average for the year.

Next: at West Virginia, Sunday, Jan. 25 at 4 p.m.; at GU, Jan. 3, W 70-54

Notre Dame

Brutal is the one word that describes No. 19 Notre Dame’s upcoming schedule. In the next six games, Notre Dame faces five teams in the top 12, starting with No. 3 Connecticut on Saturday. Then they host No. 10 Marquette and play games away at No. 4 Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and out of conference against No. 11 UCLA. The run ends with a home game against No. 12 Lousiville who beat Notre Dame in a hard-fought overtime battle at Louisville on Jan. 12.

The Fighting Irish (12-5, 3-3) are trying to bounce back from a whopping by Syracuse last Saturday, despite another incredible game by junior center Luke Harangody. The big man for the Irish had 25 points and 16 rebounds for his 10th consecutive 20-point game and his seventh consecutive double-double. But Syracuse’s strangling man-to-man defense limited Harangody to just 9-of-28 shooting from the field. Senior guard Kyle McAlarney was a major contributor with 24 points on 7-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc and five assists.

Notre Dame needs to have some of its other players step up in order for the Irish to have a chance in their upcoming games, with 60 of Notre Dame’s 74 points and 13 of their 19 assists coming from just three players (Harangody, McAlarney and senior forward Ryan Ayers)

Next: vs. Connecticut, Saturday, Jan 24 at 7 p.m.; vs. GU, Jan 5, W 73-67

Connecticut

Since their only loss of the season to the Hoyas, the third-ranked Huskies (17-1, 6-1) have won six straight Big East games, including a pair this week. First was a matchup on Sunday against Seton Hall, as the Huskies beat the Pirates 76-61. Solid defense and rebounding, led by double-doubles from junior center Hasheem Thabeet and senior forward Jeff Adrien, and precise shooting by guards senior A.J. Price, who had 23 points, and junior Jerome Dyson kept Seton Hall from ever getting into the game.

On an important Thursday night matchup against No. 21 Villanova, Price scored a career-high 29 points to lead Connecticut over the Wildcats 89-83. In a game that featured two of the top-five defenses in the nation, four players reached double-figures for the Huskies, including a fourth consecutive double-double by Adrien. Thabeet was limited to just 17 minutes on the court due to foul trouble, but still had two big blocks late in the game that sealed the win for Connecticut.

Next: at Notre Dame Saturday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.; vs. GU, Dec. 29, L 74-63

Villanova

The Wildcats set a new school record with their 24th consecutive home-court victory at the Pavilion Sunday night in a win over the St. John’s Red Storm 76-57. Villanova (14-4, 2-3) had tits highest field-goal percentage of the season at almost 60 percent from the field and started the game on a 19-3 run. Senior forward Dante Cunningham, the leading scorer and rebounder for Villanova, had another double-figure game, his 18th in his last 19 games as Villanova is 14-0 against unranked opponents this year.

Unfortunately, the No. 21 Wildcats also fell to 0-4 against ranked opponents Thursday night at Connecticut. Tied at the half 48-48, Villanova shot under 35 percent from the field in the second half, allowing the Huskies to surge ahead. Cunningham only managed 14 minutes on the court before fouling out, which really hurt the Wildcats who still had five players reach double digits, and who have now lost three Big East games against ranked opponents by a margin of less than seven points. Statistically the Wildcats played even with the Huskies, but committed 26 fouls, sending Connecticut players to the line 39 times, where Connecticut shot 80 percent on 31-of-39 shooting.

Next: at South Florida, Saturday, Jan. 24 at noon; vs. GU, Feb. 28 at noon.

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