Matthew Ryan (@matthewryan02)
After months of regular season play, the conference tournaments and March Madness are just around the corner. Some of City 6 teams have wrapped up their regular season campaigns with the majority of squads still having a game or two to go.
The identities of these teams are solidified and with the most important time of the year on the horizon, now’s a perfect time to update our power rankings through games on Wednesday, Mar. 2.
6. Saint Joseph’s Hawks (Previous Ranking: 5)
Record: 11-16 (7-8 Atlantic 10)
The last six games for the Hawks have been an alternating door of wins and losses, as they didn’t lose back-to-back games but have just a 3-3 record. St. Joe’s picked up wins against the bottom feeders of the A-10 while getting beat by the top teams plus falling to Saint Louis which is in just 11th place in the conference. Led by a team approach — freshman Talya Brugler leads the team in scoring at 10.2 points per game — the Hawks are the No. 7 seed in the upcoming A-10 tournament. With a first-round bye, they will face Duquesne on Thursday, a rematch of the regular season finale where St Joe’s won, 73-68.
Next Up: A-10 Tournament vs. Duquesne (Mar. 3)
5. Temple Owls (3)
Record: 13-14 (8-8 American)
Since our last rankings, the Owls have gone through the gauntlet in the American and it shows in their record. Over its last seven games, Temple has just two wins with one coming against a Tulsa team that’s in the bottom half of the conference and the other against a good SMU squad. All the losses, however, have come against teams in the top-six in the American. Graduate student Mia Davis undoubtedly leads the way for the Owls as she is averaging 19.1 ppg, over ten points more than the team’s second-leading scorer. Temple will enter the AAC Tournament as the No. 4 seed, giving the Owls a bye to the quarterfinals where they will face SMU for the third game in a row after splitting the last two contests.
Next Up: AAC Tournament vs. SMU (Mar. 8)
Kayla Padilla (above, in Dec.) and Penn have won five of six to move into Ivy League playoff contention. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
4. Penn Quakers (6)
Record: 12-13 (7-6 Ivy)
Thanks to a 4-1 record in their last five games, the Quakers currently have the final Ivy League playoff spot, up on Harvard (12-12, 6-6) by just half a game. Over that span, Penn picked up a big-time win over the Crimson in overtime while taking care of business against the teams at the bottom of the conference. Junior Kayla Padilla leads the way for the Quakers, averaging a team-high 18.8 points. The final playoff spot will come down to Harvard and Penn, which split the season series one game each. Penn closes out the season playing Princeton on Friday, which is a perfect 12-0 in Ivy League play, while the Crimson, who’ve lost three straight, have a trip to Dartmouth on Friday and then a visit from Princeton on Sunday.
Next Up: @ Princeton (Mar. 4)
3. La Salle Explorers (4)
Record: 16-11 (9-6 Atlantic 10)
After starting conference play 5-6, the Explorers rattled off four consecutive victories to close out the regular season, although they all came against teams in the bottom half of the A-10. The winning streak was started by a season-high-tying 24 point performance on 10-of-13 shooting from Kayla Spruill to lead La Salle past Davidson. Spruill, who recently became the fifth La Salle player to ever earn Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team honors, leads the Explorers in scoring (16.0 ppg) and rebounding (7.1 rebounds per game). The No. 5 seed in the upcoming A-10 tournament, the Explorers will play George Washington in the second round on Thursday.
Next Up: vs. George Washington (Mar. 3)
2. Drexel Dragons (2)
Record: 23-3 (15-1 Colonial)
Led by Keishana Washington (19.6 ppg), the Dragons are one of the hottest teams in all of college basketball, winning 20 of their last 21 contests with the lone loss coming by one against the College of Charleston. Putting Drexel at two is simply a product of just how well Villanova has been playing over the past month or so (more on that in a bit). Currently on a six-game win streak, Drexel is undefeated since our last rankings on Feb. 8. Over that stretch, the Dragons picked up a one-point win over Delaware (14-2 CAA) and are currently one game ahead of the Blue Hens for first in the conference standings. The final two games of the season — on the road against both James Madison and Towson — will decide the regular season champion in the CAA; if the Dragons win the league, it will be their seventh regular season title and third since 2018.
Next Up: @ James Madison (Mar. 3), @ Towson (Mar. 5)
Maddy Siegrist (above) was named Big East Player of the Year on Thursday. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
1. Villanova Wildcats (1)
Record: 21-7 (15-4 Big East)
With an 18-2 record over their last 20 games and currently on a four-game winning streak, the Wildcats have been one of the best teams in the nation over the last two months. The main reason for Villanova’s success is Maddy Siegrist’s historic season that has her averaging 26.5 ppg, 9.7 rpg and 1.9 apg while posting 50.0/37.0/83.7 shooting splits. Siegrist, the nation’s second leading scorer and newly-named Big East Player of the Year, missed six games early in the season due to a hand injury but her return started the Wildcats’ stellar 20-game stretch. Since our last rankings, the Wildcats have won six of seven, including a historic 72-69 victory over then-No. 8 UConn, snapping the Huskies’ 169-game conference winning streak. With their regular season over, the Wildcats will be the No. 2 seed in the Big East Tournament where they will look to get on the right side of the tournament bubble.
Next Up: Big East Tournament vs. St. Johns/Xavier(Mar. 5)
6. Saint Joseph’s Hawks (5)
Record: 10-18 (4-13 Atlantic 10)
On a seven-game losing streak, the Hawks have disappointed since a 6-4 start that included wins over Georgetown and Temple, winning just three games out of 17 in 2022. Over that seven-game stretch, St. Joe’s played against some of the better teams in the A-10 but also picked up losses against UMass (6-11 A-10) and La Salle (4-13). In the La Salle game, the Hawks led by 15 in the second half but couldn’t close the deal, only scoring 12 points over the last 20 minutes. Jordan Hall has put together another solid season, averaging 14.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 5.8 assists per game, and the new additions of Ejike Obinna (12.2 ppg) and Erik Reynolds II (11.8) have definitely been bright spots, but St. Joe’s isn’t in a good position, currently sitting in second-to-last in the conference with one game remaining.
Next Up: vs. Rhode Island (Mar 5.)
5. La Salle Explorers (6)
Record: 9-18 (4-13 Atlantic 10)
In a season that has been disappointing, the past week has been a bright spot for Ashley Howard’s squad. After trailing by 15 in the second half, La Salle mounted a furious comeback to upset Dayton, 62-60, and in its next game had the aforementioned comeback against St. Joe’s. The two wins were big for a struggling program, but overall, since our last rankings, the Explorers have struggled, going 2-5. Redshirt senior Clifton Moore (13.3 ppg/6.3 rpg) has solidified himself as one of La Salle’s top players, scoring in double figures in 15 of his last 17 games and against St. Joe’s, came up clutch, making the go-ahead free throw and blocking two shots in the final minute. La Salle will be one of four teams to play on the opening night of the A-10 Tournament after it closes its season facing the conference’s worst team in Duquesne (1-15 A-10).
Next Up: @ Duquesne (Mar. 5)
4. Penn Quakers (2)
Record: 12-14 (9-4 Ivy)
After starting Ivy League play 7-2, the Quakers have stumbled a bit since our last rankings, going 2-2, putting them one game behind Yale for second place and two games behind Princeton for first. Over their last four games, they beat both Harvard and Brown, which are in the bottom half of the Ivy, but fell to Yale by nine and Dartmouth, which is in second to last place in the conference, by 14. Jordan Dingle is continuing his impressive sophomore campaign as he put up a career-high 33 points in the win over Harvard and then 31 in the victory against Brown, bringing his season average to 20.2 ppg. Penn closes out its season hosting Princeton where it will try to avoid the season sweep after losing to the Tigers by 10 in January.
Next Up: vs. Princeton (Mar. 5)
Zach Spiker (above) and Drexel's men are starting to string together wins as the season nears its conclusion. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
3. Drexel Dragons (4)
Record: 15-13 (10-8 Colonial)
Since our last ranking, the Dragons are 4-3, but over their last four games they’ve picked up three wins, giving them some momentum entering the CAA Tournament. Over that four-game stretch, Drexel picked up wins over Elon (7-11 CAA) and the College of Charleston (8-10), with the only loss coming to AA regular season co-champions UNC Wilmington (15-3) by six. After starting out the season red hot, James Butler has cooled down in the second half as the big man went 13 games in a row without scoring in double figures before posting 11 points in the season finale. On the other hand, Camren Wynter has put together an impressive season, leading the team in scoring (15.3 ppg) and passing (4.7 apg) while playing a team-high 34.6 minutes per game. As the No. 5 seed, the Dragons start the CAA Tournament on Sunday, playing Delaware in the second round; the two teams split the season series one game apiece.
Next Up: CAA Tournament vs. Delaware (Mar. 6)
2. Temple Owls (3)
Record: 16-10 (9-6 American)
Even after losing its best player in Khalif Battle early in the season, Aaron McKie’s squad has put together a rather impressive season. Since our last ranking, the Owls are 3-2, with the two losses coming on the road in overtime to Tulane and at Memphis, which is trending up at the moment. During that stretch, Temple had a two-game span where it topped a now 20-7 SMU squad that’s second in the American thanks to a career-high 27 points from Tai Strickland and then went to Cincinnati and picked up a four-point victory over a solid Bearcats team. Damian Dunn has emerged as Temple’s number one option on offense as the 6-foot-5 guard is averaging 15.1 points, while freshman and Neumann-Goretti product Hysier Miller has scored 39 points over the last three games. Currently sitting at fourth in the American, the Owls have a big test ahead as they travel to No. 14 Houston on Thursday; Temple lost by just five when the two played early in January.
Next Up: @ Houston (Mar. 3), vs. USF (Mar. 6)
1. Villanova Wildcats (1)
Record: 22-7 (15-4 Big East)
Villanova’s season started off a bit slow but in recent weeks the Wildcats have found their stride and look poised for another March Madness run. Jay Wright’s squad is 6-1 over their last seven games, the only loss coming at the hands of then-No. 21 UConn. Over that span, the Wildcats picked up the season sweep over Big East regular season champions Providence, which is ranked No. 9. The first game against the Friars was one of the better college basketball contests all season, with Villanova pulling out an 89-84 victory thanks to some clutch plays down the stretch from Collin Gillespie, who had a career-high 33 points. Gillespie, the Big East Player of the Year favorite, is Villanova’s leading scorer at 16.5 ppg, followed by Justin Moore, who averages 15.3 ppg and will also be an All-Big East team member. Villanova will be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Big East Tournament after not winning at least a share of the regular season title for the second time in the last eight years.
Next Up: @ Butler (Mar. 5)