...I am probably in the minority on this, but I really liked Villanova’s win at DePaul last night. Look, they have the Internet on campus. The Wildcat players knew DePaul had lost 14 straight. Did not seem to be much atmosphere in the arena. After all the games in front of giant crowds with big meaning, this was a human nature game. Villanova trailed by 10 early in the second half and then turned it on.
Once the Cats got a double-digit lead, I figured it was over. It wasn’t. The Wildcats had to make all the right plays in the final minute. And they did.
I am sure Jay Wright is not pleased with his team’s recent defense, but this team has become really difficult to guard. Get these players with all their big-game experience in a tournament setting and I think they are really dangerous.
It was a great night to have a clicker and, if you are thinking big picture, a really good night for Villanova.
I hated to see Marquette’s Dominic James go down with that broken bone in his left foot. His college career is over. Marquette still managed to hang with Connecticut until the end without James. Still, over time, that can’t be helpful for their chances at a Big East Tournament bye.
If Villanova can win out, it will have a big chance at one of those four byes as it is just a game behind Pittsburgh and Marquette, both of which have some very difficult games left in the regular season.
How tough is the Big East? At one point last night, Pittsburgh was No. 1 in the country and fourth in the Big East standings.
At this point, I would guess the selection committee would have Villanova behind Duke and North Carolina and ahead of Wake Forest and Clemson in NCAA seeding order. If `Nova holds that, it is going to open at the Wachovia Center. Duke and UNC would be in Greensboro while Villanova and UConn would be in South Philly. Clemson losing at home last night to Virginia Tech was good news for Villanova.
Big night for Temple. If Saint Joseph’s can beat Xavier at the Palestra and Temple beats La Salle at the Liacouras Center, the Owls will be the only three-loss team in the A-10 standings.
The Hawks need a win to get back in play for one of those four A-10 byes, critical for a team with a short bench that can’t be expected to win four games in four days in Atlantic City.
A bit like last season, the top of the lead is starting to implode with much more movement likely. Just about anything is still possible as the regular season hits the homestretch.