Wide Load

Player of the Week

Tyler Wideman, F, Senior, Butler Bulldogs

Tyler WidemanTyler WidemanWideman came up huge for the Bulldogs in their convincing 92-72 victory over Marquette on the road on Wednesday. Wideman, who only averages around 20 minutes, five rebounds and around nine points per contest coming in, scored a team and career high 23 points, secured nine rebounds and shot 8-9 from the field. Wideman’s best game of the season came at a huge time for Butler, going into a tough Golden Eagle environment while fighting for better standing in the Big East. Few expected the senior from Indiana to have his best game thus far, but his efforts stymied Marquette all night and vaulted the Bulldogs to even better standing now in the Big East and significantly raised their odds of making the NCAA Tournament.

Who’s Hot

Alpha Diallo, G, Providence Friars

Providence has had a very up and down season and is currently going through a small losing streak, but Diallo isn’t the problem for them. The second-year guard has been running the show for the Friars. In two of his last three games, he has 21+ points and double-digit rebounds. The guard from New York only averages 12.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest, but he has been picking up his play as of late to help push Providence up the standings. The Friars are still fringe top five in the Big East, as of now just outside and on the cusp of making the Big Dance if the season ended today. Diallo has come alive as of late and if he keeps up his play through the end of the season, Providence’s chances will only get better.

Butler Bulldogs

Speaking of Wideman, Butler deserves a great amount of credit this week. They walked into Marquette and won by 20 over a very dominant offensive team while shutting them down. Also, the win moved Butler firmly in the fifth spot of the Big East ahead of Providence and the loss for Marquette further dropped them into the seventh spot. Butler’s chances of finishing in the top five or at least six greatly increased with the victory.

Villanova Wildcats

There really isn’t much left to say about the Wildcats success this season that hasn’t been said, but now there is. With their stout 98-78 victory over Creighton Thursday, Villanova clinched their best 22 game start in program history. So yeah, this might be Jay Wright’s best team ever.

Who’s Not

St. John’s Red Storm

Like Villanova, there isn’t too much to say about St. John’s poor season that hasn’t been said yet but…yup here we go. The Red Storm hosted No. 6 Xavier on Tuesday, took them down to the wire but in the end, came up just short in a loss 68-73. St. John’s not sits at 0-11 in Big East play, the best they can now finish at in conference is 7-11 if they win out. It doesn’t get any easier for them, though, as they host Duke tomorrow and then travel to Villanova next Wednesday. Ouch.

Top Big East Freshmen

1. Omari Spellman, F, Villanova Wildcats

Spellman, one of the top recruits out of last season’s recruiting class, had to miss last season due to academic reasons. Now as a redshirt, he’s back and has been a staple on the floor for the Wildcats. He is averaging 10.3 points per game and 7.3 rebounds, the latter ranks sixth in the Big East. Spellman is a bit of an undersized power forward at 6-9, but he is athletic and rangy going up for rebounds and blocking shots. He is also a matchup problem because he can space the floor and spot up from outside. He has been a huge difference maker this season for Villanova.

2. Jamorko Pickett, F, Georgetown Hoyas

The 6-7 forward from Washington, DC, who was a solid four star recruit out of high school, decided to stay local and play for first-year head coach Patrick Ewing. He has been a big force down low and on the outside in helping the Hoyas in their borderline surprise season. He is averaging 8.5 points per game in 26 minutes per contest and he has scored in double figures two of his last three games.

3. Naji Marshall, F, Xavier Musketeers

Marshall has been an integral and important role player all season long for the sixth ranked Musketeers. The impact freshman from New Jersey is averaging 7.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game and providing a consistent scoring impact. He doesn’t’ do too much but does what he is asked to do.

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