NCAA Basketball Big East BasketballSeton Hall PiratesVillanova Wildcats

Bubble Watch: Villanova Needs Win At Seton Hall Tonight to Keep At-Large Hopes Alive

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

A win at home the other night over No. 17 Marquette was a huge boost for the Villanova‘s at-large hopes, but a win tonight at Seton Hall is imperative.

The Wildcats come in winners of three straight and currently sit in a tie for 6th-place with Pittsburgh. Yes, Connecticut is a half-game better, but the Huskies are postseason ineligible and Villanova can thank a win at UConn 21 days ago for keeping their chances alive. The Hall comes in reeling, having lost nine games in a row–five to ranked teams and one to a then-unranked Georgetown team that’s currently atop the Big East standings–and it doesn’t get any easier for the  2-13 Pirates tonight.

Freshman point guard Ryan Arcidiacono has been a spark-plug for the Wildcats over the past three games, averaging 16.7 points per game, five better than his season average. He’s managed just nine assists over the span but has only turned it over four times–none in the past two.

Villanova’s defense has been spectacular as well over the past three, limiting opponents to just 60 ppg while scoring 67, a tick below their average. They haven’t shot the ball well all season and though it shouldn’t affect the outcome tonight, it’s worrisome as March approaches.

Seton Hall has been quite reliant on Fuquan Edwin all season–Edwin averages 16.9 ppg and 5.7 rebounds per game, but has connected on only 39.7% of his shots over the past five games, well below his 45 percent season average.

Villanova has the No. 52 RPI, the 33rd toughest schedule in the country and is 3-1 in games against RPI top 25 teams, but losing a game like this against one of the doormats in their own conference would spell doom for head coach Jay Wright‘s club.

Villanova should get the win tonight as long as a sense of urgency is there. If it is, which I fully expect, they’ll have no problem keeping their bubble chances alive.

 

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