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Villanova Basketball back on top of the Big East

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The Wildcats are the only team without a loss to start Big East play.

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Happy Monday Nova Nation! It took exactly one week into the Big East season for Villanova to grab sole possession of first place in the conference. Man, it’s good to be the king!

Even better, Villanova is the only team in the conference that has yet to lose a game. However, their perch atop to hill is going to be immediately challenged when St. John’s come to town. The Johnnies were a bit of a question mark given their 263rd ranked non-conference schedule. But a rip-off by the refs, a beat down of Marquette, and an OT win on the road against Georgetown have shown that this team is a true contender for the Big East title this season.

Tomorrow’s game is a HUGE deal for the Wildcats for multiple reasons, but here are the three biggest ones:

  1. A win makes the Wildcats 3-0 in conference and drops St. John’s to 2-2. That’s significant distance between the league leading Wildcats and one of their better challengers.
  2. Barring a season collapse by the Johnnies, this would likely be Villanova’s 2nd Quad 1 win of the season, keeping them on track for the NCAA tournament. It’s one of the few home games in which Nova can get a Q1 win, so a loss puts greater reliance on road wins.
  3. KenPom.com is projecting Villanova to lose 2 of their next 3 following this game. I’m not saying I agree with that, but the Wildcats are facing a tough four game stretch. Starting with a win at home is crucial.

The good news is that Nova will be the favorites heading into tonight’s game. Classes don’t officially begin until next week, but some of the students may come back for this one. If not, it’s up to those of us who can snag a ticket to make the Finn a true home court advantage. Let’s Go Wildcats!

In other news, recapping Nova’s Rhode Island road trip,

Villanova beats Providence

Villanova survives scoring drought to beat Providence | NBC Sports Philadelphia
Despite a long scoring drought in the second half Saturday, Villanova held on for a 65-59 win over Providence.

Cole Swider returns home, helps Villanova edge Providence | The Newport Daily News
The Portsmouth resident scored 10 points, one shy of his career high, while playing before a strong contingent of supporters.

Wildcats Dominate Early, Hold on Late, for Road Victory over Providence | villanovan.com
On Saturday afternoon, the Villanova Wildcats defeated the Providence Friars, 65-59, in their first road test of Big East play at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Villanova almost loses 21-point lead, hangs on for 65-59 victory over Providence | The Inquirer
The Wildcats had leads of 21 points in both the first and second halves, but a drought of more than 7 1/2 minutes allowed the Friars to claw back into the game.

Villanova holds on for victory against Providence | Big East Coast Bias
That got closer than it probably should have.

College Basketball

Udoka Azubuike out for year with wrist injury | The Kansas City Star
Kansas Jayhawks junior center Udoka Azubuike will miss the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his right hand, coach Bill Self announced Sunday night. Azubuike suffered the injury in Friday’s practice.

Rick Pitino Is A Top Target Of UCLA Boosters In Coaching Search | Forbes
Former Louisville coach Rick Pitino is the top target of two influential boosters at UCLA, an industry source told me. If Pitino can't get the job, former Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg and current Nevada coach Eric Musselman are among the top options.

UCLA, Ohio State, St. John’s making college basketball headlines so far this season | The Inquirer
Ohio State has been a positive surprise, UCLA just fired its coach and a St. John's star guard has lived up to preseason hype.

Other Interesting Stories

'Let the kid play': The inspiring story of Eagles fan Anthony Myers | ESPN
The 16-year-old hasn't let a brain-cancer diagnosis slow him down, and his determination inspires those he meets, including Alshon Jeffery.

National Championship should always be on Saturday and on campus | SBNation.com
Stop trying to be the NFL.