The Villanova Wildcats post season starts today. Period. The Wildcats are a mediocre 15-10 overall and 6-6 in the daunting Big East Conference. It seems like a long time ago that Head Coach Jay Wright’s squad beat the No. 5 Louisville Cardinals and the No. 3 Syracuse Orangemen.
Since then the Wildcats are just 2-3, losing to the Providence Friars, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Cincinnati Bearcats. In their loss to the Bearcats, the Wildcats went only three of 13 behind the arc and seven of 15 on free throws, and their offense never got into a flow, scoring only 21 points in the second half.
Improving on these two areas is critical for Villanova if they want to have a chance against the Connecticut Huskies today. UConn is coming off a big win against Syracuse and may be ripe for an upset. Villanova has games remaining against the Marquette Golden Eagles, Pittsburgh Panthers and Georgetown Hoyas, so if they can go 2-1 in those games and handle their business against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Seton Hall Pirates, they will have a chance to be in the NCAA hunt. The Wildcats have an RPI of 62 and a BPI of 72 so they are right on the cusp of making the tournament. With a few more quality wins they should solidify their position. However, Villanova is 10th in the Big East and needs to finish with over a .500 record to have a legitimate chance.
This is a pivotal game for Villanova to give them a cushion later on in their schedule and beat a team with momentum which the selection committee always takes into consideration. Jay Wright will find out how tough his team is and how much they want to make it to the NCAA Tournament today. Oh, wait, the playoffs start today.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo