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Villanova Basketball Falls Out of First Place

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The Wildcats are now a half-game behind Marquette in the Big East

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Happy Thursday Nova Nation! Ok, it’s not really happy, not after losing to a team like Georgetown. Don’t get me wrong, they Hoyas have talent. But losing to a rival is simply the worst. Especially the way the Wildcats went down in DC.

Last night Villanova had an FBS problem, and I’m not talking about football. The Wildcats let Georgetown dictate this game in fouls, boards, and speed. If they’re going to end this losing streak and get back to winning the Big East, they’re going to need to improve in all three areas.

Foul Trouble

The Wildcats started Big East play by only committing 19 or more fouls twice in eleven games. Now they’ve had 19 or more fouls in each of their last three contests, and last night the result was having both of their big men foul out of the game. The easy thing to do is to just say Jessie Govan was too much for them to handle. But if you watched the game, you saw one mental mistake after another that led to unnecessary fouls no where near Georgetown’s big man.

Jermaine Samuels and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree have been a bit more foul prone than their teammates this season, both averaging 4 or more fouls per 40 minutes. They’ll need to start playing a bit more disciplined, especially in the NCAA Tournament when they’ll face capable big men like Govan in nearly every game.

Boards

Villanova may have only finished -6 on the boards, but that doesn’t tell the story of last night’s game. The Wildcats were dominated on the boards, spending a good chunk of the game being down in rebounds by double digits. With Samuels and Cosby-Roundtree in foul trouble, the rest of the team wasn’t able to step up and match Georgetown’s production.

The lone bright spot on the boards was Saddiq Bey. He nearly had a double-double last night, including 10 rebounds, 6 of which were offensive. It’s tough to win games when your opponent is getting second chances and you’re not. Rebounding is something Jay Wright preaches, so it’s surprising to see the team get dominated like this.

Speed

Georgetown completely dictated the pace of play last night, much like they did in the first game between these two rivals. In that game, Georgetown struggled to shoot the ball. But last night they had no such problems, and the pace of play seemed to be causing some mental errors for the Wildcats.

This is the second straight game Villanova’s lost while playing a faster paced game (per KenPom.com). On the season, the Wildcats are averaging college basketball’s 14th slowest pace at 63.5 possessions per game. Last night’s game had approx. 71 possessions, the second straight game of 70+. It doesn’t mean Nova can’t win at that speed, but it means the Wildcats weren’t the ones controlling the pace. They were getting blitzed in transition defense and rushed shots on offense. That can’t happen if the Wildcats are giving themselves their best chance to win.

Ultimately I’m still optimistic about the rest of the season. They’re due for a regression back up to their season averages after two dreadful shooting performances. I’d also expect to see Wright make some adjustments with the teams transition defense, a weakness that’s been exposed in the last two games. Better days are ahead Nova Nation, let’s just hope they’re here sooner than later.

In other “news”, Wright reacts to Phillies news, Brunson’s doing well in the NBA, and a look at the Big East Bubble teams. Enjoy!

Villanova loses at Georgetown

Upset Alert: No. 17 Villanova Loses Its Second Straight Game | The SPUN
Villanova, the No. 17 team in the country, has lost its second straight game.

Georgetown knocks off No. 17 Villanova 85-73 | FOX Sports
Georgetown knocks off No. 17 Villanova 85-73

Villanova struggles on defense and on boards, loses to Georgetown, 85-73 | The Inquirer
The Wildcats allowed 50.9 percent shooting and were outrebounded by the Hoyas, who snapped a nine-game losing streak against Villanova.

Villanova Basketball Adjacent

Manny Machado’s decision surprised and disappointed Villanova coach Jay Wright | The Inquirer
Jay Wright, a lifelong Phillies fan, was on hold for a radio interview when news of Machado's deal with the Padres broke.

Philly and Delco are everywhere in ESPN story about the NBA’s most notorious referee | The Inquirer
Strange Philly and Delco references abound in ESPN's long read on former NBA ref Tim Donaghy. Here are our favorites.

Stevenson grad Brunson adjusting well to NBA life | Daily Herald
Former Stevenson basketball star Jalen Brunson returned to his high school alma mater last Friday night for a ceremony honoring him. He's had a busy winter as a rookie guard for the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.

Bubbles and Brackets

College basketball upsets: Florida tops LSU in OT; Villanova, Louisville, Nevada fall to conference foes | NCAA.com
Three unranked teams topped ranked conference foes on Wednesday night in a series of games that will certainly shake up the next round of AP rankings.

Bracketology Trust Builder: Arizona State hurt by lack of consistency; Temple needs another quality win | CBSSports.com
The Sun Devils have one of the most inconsistent tournament resumes of any team in the bracket

Big East Basketball: Buy or sell Butler, St. John's and other bubble teams | Busting Brackets
Excluding a few teams, nearly the entire Big East Basketball conference finds itself on the bubble with only a few weeks remaining in the regular season.

College Basketball Bracketology Seed List For Wednesday, February 20, 2019 | Blogging the Bracket
After a bad Tuesday for bubble teams, we have two new at-large entrants in today’s list.

March Madness: Bubble teams' odds of NCAA tournament 2019 | SI.com
Don't look now, but a mid-major conference like the Southern or Atlantic Sun could send more teams to the NCAA tournament in 2019 than the Pac-12.

Bubble Watch: Who‘s trending toward the field of 68? | Granite Gazette
Welcome to a whole new day here at Bubble Watch.