OMAHA, Neb. - Now that Villanova has made it 2 for 2 in winning regular-season championships in the "new" Big East, the Wildcats have some more goals in mind as they head into March.
Of course, Wildcats coach Jay Wright will tell you that the next goal for his now-No. 4 Wildcats is to win the next game, and that comes Tuesday night in their final road game of the season at Creighton before yet another sellout crowd on the road.
But for the rest of 'Nova Nation, their eyes are squarely on a No. 1 seed in the mock NCAA tournament brackets. The Wildcats, riding a 10-game winning streak, find themselves there in the eyes of bracketologists after their victory Saturday over Xavier and the loss at home by Gonzaga later that day.
Villanova (27-2) has replaced Gonzaga as the fourth No. 1 seed behind Kentucky, Virginia and Duke, according to bracketologists Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com and Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com. Both have the Wildcats in the West Regional although they would be in Pittsburgh for the first weekend.
The voters in the Associated Press poll also believe 'Nova is a No. 1 seed, having voted them this week into the top four, trailing only Kentucky, Virginia and Duke, the likely other three top seeds to this point with one week remaining in the regular season.
Now that the Wildcats have gotten to March, Wright calls it "more and more of a challenge every day."
"It's not that they don't hear about it because they hear about it a lot," he said. "We watch TV. We listen to the prognosticators, but as long as we don't consume it . . . We listen and it just can't affect our preparation or our process. So far, so good, but it's the challenge of human nature."
The Cats end the regular season Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center against streaking St. John's before beginning play in the Big East tournament on March 12 at Madison Square Garden.
A clean run in the tournament will assure the Wildcats a No. 1 seed. Two victories at the Consol Energy Center will move Villanova to the second weekend of the Big Dance for the first time since it made the Final Four in 2009.
Any stumble from here on in, particularly a one-and-done stay in the Big East tournament, which happened last season when the Cats lost to Seton Hall, would most likely relegate Villanova to a No. 2 seed for the second-straight year.