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The Sun’s Arizin: Villanova Basketball Attempts The Three Game Sweep

It’s one of the hardest things to do in the Big East Tournament... or is it?

Villanova Mug Arizin Links

Happy Game Day Nova Nation! The Big East Tournament got off to a wild start with Butler upsetting Xavier in the very first game. While Xavier was on a bit of a losing streak over the past few weeks, this was always going to be a difficult game for them to win. You see, Xavier had already swept Butler in the regular season, and now they would have to beat them for a third time in the Big East Tournament.

It’s one of those old sports adages that you hear for years, “It’s always harder to beat a team for a third time in a season.” And for a conference like the Big East, it’s something that teams face a lot given the home and home format of the regular season. Villanova will face that same situation when they face St. John’s tonight.

Except, I think people hear that’s it’s harder to beat a team for a third time and jump to the conclusion that means it doesn’t happen often. And that just isn’t the case. This is the 43rd year of the Big East Tournament, and when teams enter having beaten their opponent twice in the regular season, they end up winning for a third time 64.2% of the time. That’s 97 times out of 151 attempts, and those numbers include Xavier’s loss and Seton Hall’s win from last night.

Villanova is even a bit better than the average team when it comes to the three game sweep in the BET. When having beaten a team twice in the regular season, the Wildcats have won that third matchup in the tournament 70.8% of the time. In fact, since conference realignment in 2013, Villanova wins that third game 75% of the time.

But on the opposite side of the coin, St. John’s is actually pretty good at avoiding the sweep. They’re above average, having won 40% of the time when facing an opponent that beat them twice in the regular season. That percentage has held up at 40% even after conference alignment.

And of course the big question now, what about when these two teams have faced each other in the sweep scenario? Despite these teams playing in conference together for over 40 years, we’ve only run into this scenario once before. In 2017, Villanova had swept St. John’s in the regular season... and would in fact go on to complete the three game sweep in the Big East Tournament.

As Villanova (hopefully) continues in the Big East Tournament, there are a few other sweep scenarios they could face: Seton Hall in the Semi’s, or Butler, Providence, or Marquette (reverse sweep) in the Finals. Should any of those happen, we’ll get you the updated stats!

For tonight though, throw the stats out the window and go with your gut. Who do you think will win Villanova vs St. John’s?

Poll

Who will win tonight’s Big East Tournament Quarter-Final Game?

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    #2 Villanova
    (192 votes)
  • 9%
    #7 St. John’s
    (19 votes)
211 votes total Vote Now

In other news...

Villanova vs St. John’s

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Villanova Men’s Basketball

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Villanova's Gillespie repeats as POY in Big East awards | theScore.com
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The Wildcats big man might be undersized for Big East post play, but “he is physical, tough — he embraces contact,” a Villanova assistant coach said.

2022 Big East Tournament: Villanova's Collin Gillespie named player of the year | The Inquirer
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NBA Wildcats

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Former Wildcats

Kyle Neptune has Fordham basketball on the move | New York Post
After more than a decade as an assistant at Villanova, Kyle Neptune returned home to resurrect Fordham basketball.

Villanova Athletics

Villanova Surges Past La Salle on Rainy Afternoon at McCarthy Stadium | La Salle University Athletics
PHILADELPHIA, PA - Villanova women's lacrosse got off to a fast start and never looked back on Wednesday, as the Wildcats raced past La Salle women's lacrosse 14-3

College Basketball

Opinion From a Former Player: Georgetown Men’s Basketball Program Reaches Epic Corruption Levels | by Retired Hoya | Mar, 2022 | Medium
As a former Georgetown basketball player, I have struggled to support my team over the last two decades. I played there during a time when the Big East was probably at its highest point as a…

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Ingelsby: CAA champion Blue Hens overcame 3 late losses by setting the tone with hard practices, defensive mindset

The 350 men's college basketball teams that won't win 2022 March Madness | ESPN+
Here is every team we can rule out -- and the eight that can be considered favorites -- in the pursuit of the 2022 NCAA tournament title. Villanova makes the cut as one of the eight that can win it all.

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After battling two forms of cancer in 2021 and early 2022, legendary college basketball announcer Dick Vitale has revealed that he is now cancer free, according to his latest PET scans.