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Villanova Basketball’s NCAA Tournament Scorecard Update

Villanova remains ahead of the pack in the race for NCAA Tournament #1 Seeds

Villanova v St John's Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but this college basketball season is CRAZY (said in my best used car commercial voice). Oh, you have heard that? Me too. It seems like every year there’s lots of “parity” and there are no “great” teams.

Personally, I don’t buy it. I think the only thing that’s “crazy” is to try to judge a group of 18-22 yearolds after just 2 months of basketball as if nothing will ever change. If anything, college basketball ALWAYS changes. By year’s end there likely will be one or two “great” teams, and the top seeds of the tournament will likely be pretty obvious to everyone.

That said, I’ll admit that there has been a lot more turnover among the top ranked teams this year than in years past. Every week of the AP Poll this season, at least one of the Top 5 ranked teams has lost a game. This week is less than 24 hours old, and the #6 team has already gone down at home.

But despite being one of those Top 5 teams that lost, Villanova has still been one of the most stable teams atop the rankings this season. Not surprisingly, that same theme plays out in looking at their NCAA Tournament Resume. If you need a quick refresher on the new NCAA Tournament Quad System, we covered it earlier this season.

The basic idea is that the selection committee will consider both who you play and where you play them, not simply RPI rank. The result is a four “Quads” that reflect the difficulty of each game played. In Quad 1, wins are highly valued while losses don’t hurt as much. In Quad 4, wins don’t mean as much while losses could sink you. With all that in mind, here’s Villanova’s Scorecard through Monday’s games.

Villanova’s NCAA Tournament Quad Scorecard

Nova's NCAA Sheet Quad 1 Quad 2 Quad 3 Quad 4
Nova's NCAA Sheet Quad 1 Quad 2 Quad 3 Quad 4
Quad Record 5-1 3-0 3-0 5-0
Remaining Games 7 4 1 2
Total Schedule 13 7 4 7
% of Total Schedule 42% 23% 13% 23%

Not only is Villanova looking pretty solid now, but 50% of their remaining games come in Quad 1, and over 75% of the remaining games are in Quads 1&2. But as we’ve said time and time again, the RPI can be a bit iffy. For example, Villanova’s five Quad 1 victories include Western Kentucky, Tennessee, Temple, Xavier, and St. John’s. Yes, beating a team that’s currently 0-6 in Big East play counts in Quad 1 (for now).

The Quad 2 record might also be inflated, as it includes Marquette, Gonzaga, and Hofstra. The Hofstra victory is currently being counted by the RPI as a neutral court game, but Villanova records it as a home game. If the RPI were to change it, the win moves down to Quad 3.

The good news is that most teams face the same issues regarding the RPI. So as long as everyone’s being judged by the same system, the results might be accurate-ish. The good news is that when you compare Villanova’s scorecard to everyone else, they’re clearly in the driver’s seat.

AP Top 10 NCAA Tournament Scorecards

AP Top 10 RPI Rank Quad 1 Quad 2 Quad 3 Quad 4
AP Top 10 RPI Rank Quad 1 Quad 2 Quad 3 Quad 4
Villanova 4 5-1 3-0 3-0 5-0
Virginia 3 3-1 3-0 5-0 5-0
Purdue 9 7-2 1-0 3-0 6-0
Oklahoma 2 5-2 1-0 3-0 5-0
Duke 1 4-2 2-0 9-0 1-0
West Virginia 16 3-3 3-0 1-0 7-0
Wichita St. 18 1-2 6-0 2-0 6-0
Texas Tech 15 3-2 1-0 4-0 7-0
Michigan St. 30 1-3 4-0 3-0 8-0
Kansas 11 6-2 2-1 4-0 3-0

Now the selection committee won’t solely use this metric, but it should be a significant factor in the process. That’s great news for the Wildcats. Villanova currently has the best Win% of any team in the AP Top 10 in both Quad 1 and Quad 1&2 combined.

Despite their defensive deficiencies, this metric has Duke as one of the top teams in contention for a #1 Seed. Not only have they avoided bad losses, but they have one of the strongest Strength of Records with only one Quad 4 game played this season. Purdue also boasts a strong Quad 1 with seven wins already on the season.

On the other end of the spectrum, Michigan State does not look like the team many thought could compete for a national Championship. They have a losing Quad 1 record and are tied with West Virginia for the most Quad 1 losses. Wichita State also has a losing Quad 1 record and the fewest Quad 1 games. Their weak schedule despite moving into a better conference could keep them out of the tournament’s top line.

This week Villanova has a Quad 3 game at Georgetown, followed by a Quad 2 game at UConn. They’ll be favored to win both games, but as we saw at St. John’s a road win can be hard to come by. But the real test will come in two weeks when Nova plays three consecutive Quad 1 games from Jan. 28th-Feb. 4th.