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Villanova Basketball’s Quad Goals: Evaluating Nova’s NCAA Tournament Resume (Dec. 19)

Two more losses drops the Wildcats to #26 in the NET

It’s time for another installment of Villanova’s Quad Goals, our ongoing series in which we track the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament Resume. If you need a refresher on the NET ratings or the Quad System, check out our previous article for additional details.

The bad news: Villanova lost to Penn and Kansas last week. The good news: Kansas is Top 5 in the NET and Penn ranks 69th. In other words, Villanova’s four losses are all Quad 1. That’s right, even Penn.

As we’ve learned, there really isn’t a penalty for losing Quad 1 games when it comes to the selection committee. Unfortunately, the problem Villanova is facing now is that they’re not winning Quad 1 games. Those are SUPER important. And as the season goes on, the number of opportunities for those wins Nova has left continues to drop.

As it stands today, Villanova has a single Quad 1 victory over Florida State on a neutral court. Barring some kind of collapse by FSU, that one seems pretty stable. Their lone Quad 2 victory, another neutral court win over OK State, doesn’t look like it’s moving up to Quad 1 unless the Cowboys surprise a lot of people and jump at least 20 spots through the course of Big 12 play. That leaves the Big East.

Right now Villanova only has four games on its schedule that look like locks to remain Q1 games. Unfortunately, none of them will be easy. It’s four road games against Creighton, Butler, Marquette, and St. John’s. Then the Wildcats have six games that could end up being either Q1 or Q2 as the opponents are currently ranked within 15 spots of the quadrant cutoffs. Given that it’s split between three home and three road games, it’s probably a safe assumption that 50% of these will wind up being Q1 games.

So that means Nova has about seven chances left a Q1 victories in the regular season, more than half of which will be on the road. Let’s say they win three of those and pick up another Q1 win in the BET, giving Nova five Q1 victories entering Selection Sunday. To put that into perspective, last year Nova ended the regular season with seven Q1 wins and picked up two more in the Big East Tournament. For additional perspective, here are all the teams that entered Selection Sunday with five Q1 wins:

Teams with Five Quad 1 Wins in 2017-18

School RPI Rank Quad 1 Record Overall Record NCAA Tourney Seed
School RPI Rank Quad 1 Record Overall Record NCAA Tourney Seed
Xavier 3 5-4 28-5 1
Duke 7 5-5 26-7 2
Kentucky 10 5-8 24-10 5
Arizona 13 5-3 27-7 4
Miami 28 5-6 22-9 6
Providence 32 5-8 21-13 9
Missouri 43 5-7 19-12 8
Virginia Tech 61 5-7 21-11 8
NC State 64 5-7 21-11 10
Georgia 79 5-10 18-15 N/A
Oklahoma State 88 5-12 19-14 N/A

We don’t have a big sample size to go on, but last year’s Selection Sunday looks like a positive indicator for where we’re projecting Villanova to finish the season. If the Wildcats resume in Q1 is 5-9 with 20+ overall wins for a team from a Top 5 conference, they’d probably be in line for a 9, 10, or 11 seed in the tournament. And personally, I think those win totals are conservative.

All that said, we’re trying to predict more than half the season with those estimates. Let’s get back to Villanova’s Quad.

Villanova’s Quad Goals

If there’s one thing to take away from the rankings this season, it’s that whether it’s pollsters or computers they really respect a team that can beat the defending National Champions. Every team that’s beat Villanova has seen a significant bump across multiple polls. While that doesn’t do anything for Nova’s win column, it at least keeps them from racking up bad losses.

The full schedule breakdown is below, but here are a few takeaways from the latest update:

  • The last time we looked at the NET, Penn ranked #102. Today, they’re #69, a huge jump of 33 spots from just over a week ago. Because this was a true road game (eye roll in Graham Couch’s direction), it now qualifies as a Quad 1 loss for Villanova. It may not stay there as Penn faces lesser competition in the Ivy League, but for now that keeps the Wildcats undefeated in Quads 2-4.
  • While Marquette is now the only Big East team in the NET Top 50 at #19, the conference has three schools in the 26-50 range. Those currently include Villanova (26), St. John’s (30), and Butler (45). That’ll be important for the Big East Tournament as neutral court wins over Top 50 teams will count as Quad 1.
  • Villanova’s next Quad 1 game will likely be when they host St. John’s at The Finn on January 8th. The game will air on FS1 at 7 PM EST.

Villanova Schedule by NET Ranking and Quadrant

Team NET Location Quad Result Move Potential
Team NET Location Quad Result Move Potential
Morgan State 263 Home 4 W Steady
Quinnipiac 257 Home 4 W Steady
Michigan 1 Home 1 L Steady
Furman 25 Home 1 L Fall to Q2
Canisius 301 Neutral 4 W Steady
Oklahoma State 70 Neutral 2 W Steady
Florida State 30 Neutral 1 W Steady
La Salle 339 Away 4 W Rise to Q3
Temple 83 Home 3 W Rise to Q2
St. Joe's 123 Home 3 W Steady
Penn 69 Away 1 L Fall to Q2
Kansas 5 Away 1 L Steady
Uconn 89 Neutral 2 - Fall to Q3
DePaul 80 Home 3 - Rise to Q2
Providence 95 Away 2 - Steady
St. John's 29 Home 1 - Fall to Q2
Creighton 58 Away 1 - Steady
Xavier 67 Home 2 - Fall to Q3
Butler 45 Away 1 - Steady
Seton Hall 81 Home 3 - Rise to Q2
DePaul 80 Away 2 - Rise to Q1
Georgetown 109 Home 3 - Steady
Creighton 58 Home 2 - Steady
Marquette 19 Away 1 - Steady
Providence 95 Home 3 - Steady
St. John's 29 Away 1 - Steady
Georgetown 109 Away 2 - Steady
Xavier 67 Away 1 - Fall to Q2
Marquette 19 Home 1 - Fall to Q2
Butler 45 Home 2 - Rise to Q1
Seton Hall 81 Away 2 - Rise to Q1