By Mary Cunningham

The Big East will never be able to compete with the mega conferences next March when some of the big boy leagues will have double digit invites to the dance.

But how many other leagues have a top four playing better than No. 2 Villanova, No. 7 Xavier, No. 10 Creighton and No. 18 Butler?

The wins have been impressive. Nova won that rare, true road game in November by beating Purdue 79-76. Xavier bested Clemson, a likely NCAA tournament team, 83-77. Creighton handed Wisconsin its first loss of the season 79-67. Butler knocked Arizona from the top 10 with its 69-65 win in Las Vegas last Friday.

The Big East figured to be a race among those three teams. Villanova, Xavier and Creighton all started the season ranked and expected to carry the league.