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How To Root For Villanova: Saturday Feb. 23

Just because the Wildcats aren’t playing doesn’t mean you can’t root for them.

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the Wildcats don’t play until Sunday, there are a number of games today that will impact Villanova’s tournament resume. Given the two game slide they’re on, every little bit counts. Here are 10 games to keep an eye on (plus a few more) if you’re flipping between channels today:

#3 Virginia Cavaliers at #18 Louisville Cardinals, Noon EST

Root For: Louisville | Nova Impact: Small | KenPom: Virginia -5 | TV: ACC Network

A Louisville win over such a highly ranked team could greatly help their NET ranking. That in turn would help both Marquette and Seton Hall, two Big East teams they played in the non-con. It’s a minimal impact, but it would help keep Nova’s upcoming game at Seton Hall in Q1 status. Go Cards!

#5 Tennessee Volunteers at #13 LSU Tigers, Noon EST

Root For: Tennessee | Nova Impact: Medium | KenPom: Tennessee -1 | TV: ESPN

This one’s a little tough because LSU and Villanova share three common opponents in FSU, OK St., and Furman. However, LSU is also currently one of the teams Villanova is jockeying with for seeding. While a loss wouldn’t necessarily hurt the Tigers, a win would give them a leg up over Nova. As far as the common opponents go, FSU and Furman are firmly locked in as Q1 and Q2 games respectively, and OK St. doesn’t really matter at this point. Go Vols!

#11 Marquette Golden Eagles at Providence Friars, Noon EST

Root For: Providence | Nova Impact: HUGE | KenPom: Marquette -4 | TV: FOX

Obviously Villanova could use some help from Providence in evening out the loss column between them and Marquette as they battle for the Big East regular season championship. But this is actually a huge help for Nova’s resume too as their win at Providence is currently just barely a Q1 win. A victory over Marquette would go a long way in solidifying that for Ed Cooley’s team. Go Friars!

Auburn Tigers at #4 Kentucky Wildcats, 1:30 PM EST

Root For: Kentucky | Nova Impact: Small | KenPom: Kentucky -7 | TV: CBS

This is another game that we’re hoping will bolster Seton Hall’s resume value. They had that big win over Kentucky way back when, and Nova will play the Pirates in the last game of the season. Besides, it’s one of the rare times Kentucky winning would actually help Villanova. Go Cats!

#15 Purdue Boilermakers at Nebraska Cornhuskers, 2:00 PM EST

Root For: Nebraska | Nova Impact: Medium | KenPom: Purdue -3 | TV: Big Ten Network

Nebraska is one of the few non conference teams that has played multiple Big East opponents this year. One of those was Seton Hall (are you picking up on a theme yet?). In addition, taking down another team that could wind up in that 3-6 seed range with Villanova would be great. Go Huskers!

Georgetown Hoyas at Creighton Bluejays, 2:30 PM EST

Root For: Georgetown | Nova Impact: Medium | KenPom: Creighton -6 | TV: FOX

It’s never fun to root for a rival, but just remember that this is to Villanova’s benefit. The Wildcat’s win at Creighton is solidly in Q1 status, while their loss to Georgetown is in risk of falling to Q2. This is just one of those times when we’ve got to suck it up and take our medicine. Go Hoy-(gag)!

#16 Florida State Seminoles at #8 North Carolina Tar Heels, 3:45 PM EST

Root For: Florida State | Nova Impact: Medium | KenPom: North Carolina -8 | TV: CBS

Florida State remains Villanova’s biggest win on the season, especially since it came on a neutral court in the state of Florida. While this may not help Nova’s NET score much and it can’t make the FSU win any more of a Q1 win than it already is, “best win” could be a tie-breaker to the selection committee. The better FSU does, the better Nova does. Go Noles!

Wofford Terriers at Furman Paladins, 4:00 PM EST

Root For: Furman | Nova Impact: Medium | KenPom: Wofford -1 | TV: ESPN3 (Streaming)

This one may be more valuable for the perception than for the stats. People still refer to Furman as a bad loss for Nova despite the fact that they’re a Top 50 NET team and that game is now in Q2. There’s a chance it could even become a Q1 loss if Furman can win out, including today against a Wofford team that’s currently in line for an at-large bid even if they don’t win the conference tournament. Go Paladins!

#1 Duke Blue Devils at Syracuse Orange, 6:00 PM EST

Root For: Syracuse | Nova Impact: Small | KenPom: Duke -10 | TV: ESPN

Outside of the media circus of storylines surrounding this one, Syracuse actually shares three opponents with Villanova this season. While this won’t do much for UConn or FSU, it could go a long way in keeping the Georgetown loss in the Q1 range. I know some of you don’t want to root for Syracuse, but come on, Duke!? Go Orange!

Seton Hall Pirates at St. John’s Red Storm, 8:00 PM EST

Root For: Seton Hall | Nova Impact: Large | KenPom: St. John’s -4 | TV: FS1

It would be pretty silly if I told you to root for all these other teams to help Seton Hall and then not root for Seton Hall. Villanova’s game with the Pirates to end the regular season may not only have conference title implications, but could also be a Q1 game. Nova really needs to add a few more Q1 wins to its resume, and Seton Hall could be one of their few opportunities to snag one. Go Pirates!

Other Teams To Root For

TCU over #19 Iowa State, 2:00 PM EST on ESPN2

#24 Maryland over Ohio State, 2:00 PM EST on ESPN

Notre Dame over #20 Virginia Tech, 4:00 PM EST on ESPN

Oklahoma State over #23 Kansas State, 4:00 PM EST on ESPN2

South Florida over #9 Houston, 6:00 PM EST on ESPN2

Fresno State over #6 Nevada, 8:00 PM EST on CBSSN

#12 Kansas over #14 Texas Tech, 8:00 PM EST on ESPN

Northwestern over #22 Wisconsin, 8:30 PM EST on BTN

#2 Gonzaga over BYU, 10:00 PM EST on ESPN