Villanova Wildcats Take Big Step Forward Towards Tournament Bid

By Michael Roberts
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Villanova Wildcats finished off their regular season with a big upset 67-57 victory over the #5 Georgetown Hoyas, moving one step closer to punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats have been inconsistent in conference action all year, losing to teams many thought they’d easily defeat then beat teams nobody gave them a chance against. Through the up and down season, Villanova still managed to finish their Big East schedule with a winning record at 10-8.

Whether or not the Wildcats have earn themselves a bid to participate in March Madness still remains to be seen. Villanova has done all it can now that the regular season is over, however, many believe they’ll still need to hold their own in the conference schedule for the school to hear its name called on Selection Sunday.

If the Wildcats can pull off a victory or two in the Big East Tournament, they’ll likely be dancing in the middle of March. If Villanova falls flat on its face, then the sound they hear could be their bubble bursting.

However, should they struggle in the conference tournament, the case could still be easily made the Wildcats deserve a bid to the national tournament.

Few teams are able to claim they own three victories over teams ranked in the top five at the time the three contests were played. That’s exactly what Villanova owns with wins over the Louisville Cardinals (#5 on Jan. 22), the Syracuse Orange (#3 on Jan. 26), and the most recent Georgetown victory. On top of those impressive wins, they also defeated the Marquette Golden Eagles, who were ranked #17 at the time (Feb. 23) in the AP rankings.

Essentially, Villanova has beat the top four teams in the Big East, so how could the selection committee possibly leave them out of the NCAA Tournament?

An unimpressive non-conference schedule, two losses to the Providence Friars and a devastating Seton Hall Pirates defeat is what will be working against the Wildcats when the selection committee makes their final decisions.

However, the beauty in the Hoyas win, is it instantly eliminates the Seton Hall loss from many decision-makers minds. Had Villanova lost three straight to end the year, many would point to the Pirates loss as the reason to keep the Wildcats out of the tournament.

Thanks to the big upset over Georgetown, not only did Villanova regain lost ground caused by Seton Hall, they likely advanced themselves from where they were before the Seton Hall game by improving their resume significantly.

The Hoyas win is a major step forward for the Wildcats earning a bid, whether it was enough to earn themselves a tournament bid remains to be seen.

Michael covers ACC and Big East basketball along with the NBA and NHL for Rant Sports, you can follow him on Twitter @MichaelxRoberts


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