Will the Wildcats make the NCAA tournament?

J. Meric

Statistics offer one view of the Wildcats' postseason hopes, but Bracketologists have suggested a rosier picture.

After winning at UConn and versus Rutgers, Villanova was moved up to one of the "Last Four In" on most NCAA Tournament bracket projections, but that isn't a position of security for the team hoping to bounce back from a dismal 2011-12 season that saw them fall off a cliff. In fact, though the 'Cats have not played a game since then, ESPN's Joe Lunardi has moved them to his 'First Four Out," already.

According to Lunardi, they will have to pass Kentucky, who are also 'out' and Temple, at the very least, to get into the tournament field.

Win tomorrow, and the 'Cats likely move back to the 12-seed line. Such is life on the bubble, any bad loss can burst, any good win and your season is safe; nothing is secure, no guarantees are made, and nails may be thoroughly-chewed come Selection Sunday.

Two days ago, StatSheet.com plunked Villanova into it's bracket projection as a 12-seed, one of the last four in. SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean projects that Nova will play in against Baylor for an 11-seed in his most recent bracket, with UK sitting out. CBS Sports' bracketologist Jerry Palm's latest projection puts Nova in the field at an 11-seed, playing San Diego State without needing a trip to Dayton.

Then, of course, there is Philahoops.com, which has attempted to calculate the percentage odds for each team in the Big 5 (and Drexel) of making the NCAA Tournament this season. According to their expert, the Wildcats have only, "a 15-percent chance of making the tournament, primarily as an at-large team." Based on simulations performed by Greg Eversmeyer of the Daily Bracket of the season's remaining games.

Eversmeyer previously wrote that "more than 19 [wins] would give them an almost certain NCAA bid," so the latest from him would suggest that his simulations do not have Villanova reaching that mark.

At 17-10 currently, Villanova needs to win just two more games to get to 19 wins and just three more to cross over to the 20-win mark. KenPom.com's statistical models predict Villanova reaching either 18 or 19 wins before the Big East tournament, but only the Seton Hall game is given a high likelihood of victory (though their chances of winning at home over both Marquette and Georgetown was given a percentage in the high-40s).

If Villanova closes the regular season with 10 Big East wins and a 19-win resume, they may still have some work to do in the Big East tournament, but perhaps only a game or two would be needed.

Nova hasn't won the Big East tournament since Steve Lappas was coaching, and have never won it before that time, so that avenue of securing a bid would seem to be unlikely.

So what are the odds? Though one projection puts the 'Cats at just 15% to get in, some bracketologists are still toying with the idea.

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