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Can Villanova Basketball come through in a clinch?

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The Wildcats can clinch their sixth outright Big East Championship this weekend.

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Happy Friday Nova Nation! Your Villanova Wildcats were guaranteed a share of the 2019 Big East Championship during their week off, and now they’ll have a chance to clinch the title outright. To do that they’ll have to defeat the Seton Hall Pirates on Saturday, a feat that’s easier said than done. The whole reason the Wildcats have a share of the championship is because the Marquette Golden Eagles couldn’t do the same on Wednesday. To determine if the Wildcats have a better chance at coming out of New Jersey with a win, let’s look at the history of this Big East rivalry.

There is no team Villanova has faced more than Seton Hall. The Wildcats are 73-40 all time against the Pirates, and have won 8 of their last 9 meetings. The lone exception was the 2016 Big East Tournament Championship that would go on to spur the Wildcats to Jay Wright’s first National Championship. But while the Cats have owned this rivalry in the regular season, we all know what really matters is March.

Since conference realignment in 2013, Villanova is just 1-2 in the month of March when taking on Seton Hall. All of those meetings came in the Big East Tournament, with Villanova winning the most recent thriller in a 2017 semi-final 2-point defensive struggle. All of those games were played on neutral courts however, and now the Wildcats will be on the road where they’ve struggled this season. Villanova is just 5-6 on the road this year, and just 3-4 in road Quad 1 games (which Seton Hall will be).

Maybe the key to Saturday goes beyond the opponent, but rather how Villanova performs when the pressure is on. Since realignment, the Wildcats are 7-2 in games where they could clinch either a share of the title or secure it outright. One of those seven wins came against Seton Hall in 2017 when Villanova clinched a share of that year’s Big East Title before going on to win it outright. Hopefully history will repeat itself again.

So to review, Villanova has the advantage in the historic rivalry and when a title can be clinched. Seton Hall has the upper hand in March and will have home court advantage. Even the experts think this will be a close one, with KenPom projecting a 70-68 Villanova victory with just a 55% chance to win. Bottom line, be sure to tune in at Noon EST tomorrow as this should be a great Big East battle with a championship on the line.

In other “news”, Eric Dixon already sounds like a Wildcat, Villanova coaches are out on the recruiting trail, and Fran Dunphy will likely coach his final game in Philadelphia. Enjoy!

Villanova Basketball

No. 23 Nova looks to extend streak vs Seton Hall | Madison.com
No. 23 Villanova (22-8, 13-4) vs. Seton Hall (17-12, 8-9)

Pretenders and contenders to win the NCAA Tournament | 247 Sports
Which teams meet the profile of a potential national champion?

Class of 2019

Villanova Wildcats commit Eric Dixon Q&A with BJ Boyer | Basketball Society
Villanova commit Eric Dixon joined BJ Boyer for a Q&A on how he feels the Wildcats will help benefit his game, his best basketball memory and more.

3 All-Americans Will Face Off In The NJ Non-Public B State Championship | FloHoops
Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis will lead Ranney against Kahlil Whitney and Roselle Catholic (28-3) in the New Jersey Non-Public B state championship.

Recruiting

Boys basketball: Griffin, Davis bring Stepinac back to city championship | LOHUD
Pitt head coach Jeff Capel was in attendance, along with coaches from Villanova, St. John's, Seton Hall and others.

NBA Wildcats

New York Knicks G Dennis Smith Jr. ought to follow Kyle Lowry's path | ESNY
New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. is a tantalizing talent with glaring weaknesses, yet he can realize his potential, like Kyle Lowry.

College Coaches

A look at some of Fran Dunphy’s biggest coaching wins | The Inquirer
This is Dunphy's 13th and final season at Temple after he served as Penn's head coach for 17 years.

Fran Dunphy to coach last home game at Temple University | 6abc.com
Fran Dunphy, a fixture in the Philadelphia college basketball community, will coach his last game at the Liacouras Center on Saturday, March 9, 2019.

March Madness lurks, but former La Salle coach John Giannini is doing just fine | The Inquirer
Giannini is smiling in March for the first time in years. “I’m shocked that your stomach doesn’t have to feel like someone poured battery acid in it 24 hours a day,” he said.

Wiretap reveals LSU's Will Wade discussed 'offer' with Christian Dawkins | Yahoo! Sports
On the tape, Wade expresses frustration that a third party affiliated with the recruitment had yet to accept Wade's "strong-ass offer."

How Richard Barron is flipping the coaching script at Maine | ESPN
Circumstances and a debilitating illness led to a coaching move that hadn't happened in college basketball in 20-plus years.

Villanova Adjacent

Lower Merion Schools Fight Back To Get Villanova Land | Ardmore, PA Patch
Lower Merion Schools Fight Back To Get Land - Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood, PA - The district filed an objection to the owners' of 1835 County Line Road move to stop the district's use of eminent domain on the property.

Bubbles and Brackets

Bracketology Bubble Watch: St. John's is safely in the NCAA Tournament and UCF could get there too with a win Thursday | CBSSports.com
Tracking the teams on the bubble to make the NCAA Tournament

Odds for Each CBB Bubble Team Making March Madness Pre-Conference Tourneys | Bleacher Report
It is officially bubble-popping season in men's college basketball. With barely a week remaining until Selection Sunday, every win feels like a big one and every loss feels even bigger...

March Madness NCAA tournament bracketology: Top seeds in danger of upset | USA Today
Upsets are part of the March Madness and the NCAA tournament. A look at this year's bracket finds seven teams that could go down in the first round.

March Madness bracket: Virginia, Duke, Gonzaga lead 1 seeds | SI.com
Where does the NCAA tournament picture stand as the regular season gets ready to enter its final weekend?

Bracketology: UNC, Gonzaga, Texas Tech among top 4 projected seeds | Busting Brackets
Selection Sunday is coming up in a matter of days, and with the general bubble debate dominating most bracketology discussion,here's a look at the top tier.

College Basketball Bracketology Seed List For Thursday, March 7, 2019 | Blogging the Bracket
Today’s update features a swap of ACC teams at the cut line. Plus, I write a bit about what I’m considering when I put together a bracket.