Before the trip to Los Angeles some Villanova fans were wondering what it would take for their 3-0 'Cats to get into the Associated Press Top-25 poll. Would a tournament title do it, or would they have to knock off Mizzou at Madison Square Garden too? Those questions seemed moot at the end of a very disappointing Thanksgiving weekend, where the 'Cats suffered losses to a now-ranked Saint Louis and to Santa Clara, which might be the fourth-best team in the WCC this season.
On Monday morning, few would expect to see Villanova on anyone's list of the 25 best teams in the nation. The 76 Classic result was a huge disappointment to many who expected them to bounce back from two consecutive rough finishes, what team deserves a place among the Elite after that?
Sam Khan of the Houston Chronicle thought that the Wildcats deserved it, apparently, listing them on his ballot at 24th. Khan also listed an iffy Memphis team at 7th, which was the Tigers' only top-10 vote. Khan's decision kept the 'Cats among the "other teams receiving votes" in the poll, where they have been since the preseason. It also caused him to be the target of Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, who has made a weekly tradition of calling out questionable voters in both polls.
To Khan's credit, he also covers the still-undefeated Houston Cougars football program for the Chronicle and the build-up to bowl season may have kept him busy and distracted his attention from college basketball over the weekend.
Maybe he did pay attention though. Maybe he truly believed that Villanova was deserving of his vote, and maybe he voted the 'Cats into the poll and Memphis in the top-10 because he believed that despite not looking it in early action, that each team would live up to those votes later on.
If he did pay attention, and if that was his reasoning, then he may be the bravest man in the college basketball media. Even this VUhoops writer would have dropped the Wildcats from his top-25 this week.
Does Villanova deserve an AP Poll vote? Can the 'Cats grow to the point where a ranking in the top-25 is deserved?
They have a long way to go to get there. No doubt there are some excellent athletes on this Villanova team, but they will need to play better defense, develop a passing game in the half-court and eliminate the mental errors that cost them two games over the weekend.