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The Sun’s Arizin: Updating Villanova Basketball’s Big East Title Chase

The loss to Marquette doesn’t help, but Villanova is still in the driver’s seat

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Happy Thursday Nova Nation. Heck of a late night to stay up for a loss, but we say ATTITUDE and move on. Villanova’s second loss to Marquette on the season drops them to 9-3 in conference play, still in second place behind Providence in the Big East Title race.

We’ve already established that there is no way all of the “postponed” games are getting made up, which means that teams like Providence, UConn, Xavier, and Creighton will all finish with fewer games played than Nova. This means two things for the title race:

  1. The Conference Champion will likely be decided by Win%
  2. It’s most likely that the team with the fewest losses will be Big East Champions

That’s right, even a share of the title is unlikely given the uneven scheduling. It’s going to come down to losses. The good news is that because Villanova will have played the most games of the teams in contention, they would likely be the Big East Champs if they finished with the fewest losses, or tied for the fewest losses. The bad news is they’re currently two losses behind Big East leader Providence.

The Wildcats still control their own destiny from a pure statistics standpoint. Should they win their remaining eight regular season games, Villanova would be the stand alone Big East Champions (unless other teams were able to reschedule games). While Villanova is favored by in each of their remaining games, the probability that they win out is just 10.6%. The most likely outcome statistically is that Villanova finishes 6-2 down the stretch.

As long as we’re looking at projections, last night’s game has officially moved Providence into the spot of projected Big East Champion per Kenpom. They project Providence to finish 13-4 in conference play to Villanova’s 15-5. This is especially surprising because the predictive metrics still don’t give Providence much love, ranking them outside the Top 50 in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency.

This is why you play the games, and the Wildcats are still in a good spot to have a shot at the title. But their margin for error is getting very, very thin. And now, here comes UConn.

In other news...

Marquette defeats Villanova

No. 24 Marquette sweeps No. 12 Villanova for first time since 2011-12 | Marquette Wire
Coming off a two-point loss on the road at Providence, the No. 24 ranked Marquette Golden Eagles hosted No. 12 Villanova in their first home game as a ranked team this season and came away with a 83-73 victory, sweeping the Wildcats this season for the first time since the 2011-12 season. This is Marquette’s...

Villanova drops another game to Marquette, 83-73 | The Inquirer
Marquette jumped out ahead early trying to sweep regular-season series.

Marquette beats Villanova for second time this season | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MU (16-7, 8-4 Big East) became the first league team to win both regular-season games against Villanova (16-6, 9-3) since Butler in the 2016-'17 season.

RECAP: #24 Marquette Men’s Basketball 83, #12 Villanova Wildcats 73 | Anonymous Eagle
The Golden Eagles take out the Wildcats for the second time this season.

NBA Wildcats

Suns should trade for…the Pelicans’ Josh Hart | Bright Side Of The Sun
His versality would help the bench. His contract wouldn’t hurt the Suns’ long-term success. He’s a ‘win now’ acquisition.

Details on potential Donte DiVincenzo trade, future with Milwaukee Bucks | Behind the Buck Pass
HoopsHype's Michael Scotto recently dropped some game-changing information involving Milwaukee Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo ahead of the trade deadline.

Villanova Women’s Basketball

Villanova vs. St. John's - Game Preview - February 4, 2022 | ESPN
Get a preview of the Villanova Wildcats vs. St. John's Red Storm basketball game.

Villanova Athletics

Cunningham and Geldernick Named Women’s Soccer Assistant Coaches | Villanova University
Villanova, Pa.- Villanova women's soccer coach Samar Azem has announced on Wednesday afternoon the additions of Colby Cunningham and Megan Geldernick as her assistant

Medford's Aidan Barry to attend Villanova University in the fall | Wicked Local
Former Medford Mustang three-sport athlete Aidan Barry (Class of 2021) is heading to Philadelphia in September to attend Villanova University.