It’s time for another installment of Villanova’s Quad Goals, an ongoing series in which we track the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament resume. If you’re looking for more information on the NET and the rest of the ranking methods for the tournament, check out Rankings 101.
In our last installment of Quad Goals, we said Villanova didn’t need to beat Kansas. But boy oh boy does the resume look so much better now that they did! They followed that up with a Q2 win over Xavier to kick off Big East play, and that sets the stage for Villanova’s first set of back-to-back road games.
Road games are a blessing and a curse. They’re obviously harder to win, especially this year when the Big East is collectively playing at a really high level. There aren’t any easy wins... unless you’re Providence and Georgetown shows up already down four guys and now also missing their star player. In that case you win pretty easily, and that was even at home. But for the most part, playing on the road is hard. Over the last three and a half seasons (including this one), 80% of Villanova’s losses have come on road or neutral courts.
That said, road games offer the greatest reward when it comes to building an NCAA Tournament resume. They’re more likely to be Quad 1 wins, they’re weighed more heavily by the Selection Committee, and winning on the road in the regular season tends to be a good indicator of how a team will do in the post season. Of Villanova’s next five games, only two are currently rated as Quad 1... and they’re both on the road.
Marquette and Creighton have proven to be difficult road games for Villanova, even during their recent run of success. In each of the last three seasons, Villanova has lost to one of Marquette or Creighton on the road. In Milwaukee, Marquette has taken Villanova down twice when the Wildcats were ranked in the Top 15. As for Creighton, Jalen Brunson described Omaha has the toughest place he had to play in during his entire college career. Add to it that KenPom.com has Villanova as the underdogs in both of these games, and it’s safe to say fans would be happy if the Wildcats came away from this road trip with at least one win.
From an overall standpoint, that would be a great result for Villanova’s resume. As it stands today, the Wildcats have twelve Quad 1 opportunities remaining on their schedule. We’ve stated before that the goal for a protected seed (1 through 4) is usually seven or eight Q1 wins. If Villanova can go at least .500 in their remaining Q1 games, they’ll have a shot at one of those seeds. Obviously you’d love to win them all, but in this first road stretch when the team is still putting it all together a 1-1 record would be a great result. Hopefully they can knock that first win out against Marquette this Saturday, because at Creighton appears to be the tougher challenge of the two.
And now, onto the resume.
Villanova’s Tournament Resume
Christmas came early for the ‘Cats with a one point win over Kansas. Not only should that victory remain an upper-tier Q1 win for the remainder of the season, it will likely be Villanova’s signature win of the season. Now it’s time to pad the rest of the resume.
Here are some additional thoughts on Villanova’s NCAA Tournament resume:
- While Kansas (Q1) and Xavier (Q2) are the two new additions to the team sheet, we did have one victory move down a quad. Nova’s home win over Ohio slipped from Q3 to Q4 as the Bobcats lost to Campbell at home. There’s a good shot that win, while a nice team-building exercise, won’t be a factor in Villanova’s tournament seeding.
- In the world of NCAA Tournament resumes, there are such things as “good losses”. Both of Villanova’s losses this seasons are to teams that are Top 5 in the NET and came away from home. They may not improve Nova’s resume, but they certainly won’t hurt it.
- After Nova’s two game road trip, they play four consecutive home games over a week and a half. During that span their only Q1 opportunity will be on Jan. 21st against Butler.
- Outside of Butler (for now), the home games against Creighton, Seton Hall, and Marquette will be boarder line Q1 all season. If Villanova can win those games and have two of the three end up as Q1 victories, that will be huge for their resume.
- As of the time this article was written, Penn State (15) currently ranks above Villanova (17) in the NET. It’s the first time ever that a member of Jay Wright’s coaching tree (Pat Chambers) has been ranked above him.