The Villanova Wildcats wrap up the regular season on Saturday with a trip to Washington, D.C., and a date with the Georgetown Hoyas. The Wildcats have the top seed in the Big East Tournament wrapped up and will be playing mostly for pride, but avoiding a bad loss in this contest should all but lock up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
As for their counterpart, the Hoyas are a team in turmoil poised for back-to-back losing seasons. A fourth-straight loss on Tuesday has led to a rough week for coach John Thompson III. Speculation has ramped up about his job security for next season and whether it would even be a consideration were his dad not the most famous coach in the school’s history.
But before any of that sorts out, the Wildcats will look to add to Georgetown’s misery by sweeping the season series and giving the school its 17th loss. Here are three things you need to know for Saturday:
Return of Reynolds?
During the Jay Wright media tour, he made mention that Darryl Reynolds could be back this week. Of course, that doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily play on Saturday and could be that he will simply return to practice. If he is back, it will likely be in limited minutes.
A return of Reynolds on Saturday would give Villanova a chance to work back in their seven-man rotation before tournament play begins. It would also allow Wright to lessen everyone’s minutes, which isn’t the worst thing in the world this time of year. Keep an eye on reports Saturday morning to see if Reynolds is suiting up.
Hart’s last stand
After entering conference play as the likely National Player of the Year favorite, Hart now will battle for the award with Kansas’ Frank Mason III, Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball. Hart has the edge in efficiency ratings and defense, while the others have the fancy stat lines and highlight moments.
With the way the pundits are picking this race, Hart would seemingly need a big game on Saturday to take re-emerge as the Wooden Award favorite. In his last two games against Georgetown, Hart has scored 25 points in each. His comfort against the Hoyas plus one final chance to return to his hometown school could lead to a big regular season finale for the senior.
Brace for a rematch?
If Saturday’s game against Georgetown seems familiar, that’s because it is. For the second-straight season, Villanova will play the Hoyas in the regular season finale and then possibly play them again in their first Big East Tournament game. The Wildcats will likely play the Georgetown-St. John’s winner.
This isn’t football so there should be no worry about tipping their hand with the game plan. Georgetown knows Villanova as well as anyone and the Wildcats can’t disguise what they will do. Last season, the Wildcats left little in doubt in an 84-71 win and it should be expected that the team comes out with the same type of energy in this game.