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Villanova Basketball’s Quad Goals: Evaluating Nova’s NCAA Tournament Resume (Jan. 3)

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Those losses don’t look so good anymore.

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.

Two weeks ago those losses to Penn and Furman were both Quad 1. Unfortunately, since then both teams have dropped back-to-back games. Penn’s loss to a KenPom sub 200 Monmouth team dropped them into the Q2 range, while Furman has fallen through the floor and now counts as a Q3 loss. With at least a few more losses probably coming before selection Sunday, I figured it was time to look at how the NCAA Tournament selection committee looks at non-Q1 losses.

Last season, we were still working off the RPI. In that format, it didn’t really seem to matter if you had a bad loss as long as you had quality wins. Two of the 1 Seeds had a Q3 loss. In fact, half of the 1-4 Seeds had a Q3 loss. All of those teams also had plenty of Q1 or Q2 losses as well, so that didn’t seem to matter. The only thing those Top 16 Seeds all lacked was a Q4 loss.

It’s unlikely that the Wildcats snag a Top 4 seed this season, so let’s just look at the bare minimum: making the field. Last year the final teams into the tournament as at-large bids were the 10 seeds and the play-in 11 seeds. Here’s what their resumes looked like:

Lowest At-Large Bids from the 2018 NCAA Tournament

Team Seed (Overall) Record Q1 Wins Q3 Losses Q4 Losses
Team Seed (Overall) Record Q1 Wins Q3 Losses Q4 Losses
Butler 10 (33) 20-13 4 0 1
Providence 10 (35) 21-13 5 1 2
Texas 10 (39) 19-14 6 0 0
Oklahoma 10 (40) 18-13 6 1 0
UCLA 11 (41) 21-11 3 2 0
St. Bonaventure 11 (42) 25-7 3 2 1
Arizona State 11 (43) 20-11 3 2 0
Syracuse 11 (44) 20-13 4 2 0

We’ve already established that the bar Nova has to pass looks like five Quad 1 wins and twenty total wins to guarantee a spot in the tournament. But it looks like even short of that mark there are ways into the field. A high number of Q1 wins can overcome a lack of total wins. A minimal number of Q4 losses also seem to be acceptable if the rest of the resume pans out. The good news for Villanova is that they won’t have any Q4 losses this season, and there’s still a chance for them to get to March with only one or two Q3 losses. Those seem to be acceptable up and down the seeding lines as long as there are just a few. The most important aspect continues to be Q1 wins and overall wins.

So even with Furman falling to a Q3 loss, that shouldn’t have a negative effect on Villanova’s seeding. It’s still going to come down to getting Q1 wins. This weekend’s matchup at Providence is still a Q2 game, but if the Friars impress in Big East play that could become a Q1. After that, three of Nova’s next four games fall in the Q1 category (vs St. John’s, at Creighton, at Butler). Coming away with two wins in those three games could go a long way to send Nova dancing.

This is starting to get real, so let’s get back to Nova’s Quad.

Villanova’s Quad Goals

Villanova remains in good position to pick up a mid-range seed for the NCAA Tournament. They’re halfway to their goal of 20 overall wins, but they’ll still need to pick up more Q1 wins as they were only able to snag one in the non-con. Here’s where we stand today:

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

  • Despite Furman’s dramatic drop of over 50 spots in the NET, Villanova remains strong in the computer numbers. That’s bolstered by their 14th overall Strength of Schedule, (12th in Non-Con).
  • The Big East is getting stronger up top, which is good if Nova’s going to use conference play to grab Q1 wins. Marquette, St. John’s, Villanova, Creighton, and Seton Hall all rank in the NET Top 50.
  • The next two weeks and the last two weeks of Big East play will be the toughest and most crucial for Villanova’s seeding. Those time frames represent five of the team’s remaining seven chances at Q1 wins.

Villanova Schedule by NET Ranking and Quadrant

Team NET Location Quad Result Move Potential
Team NET Location Quad Result Move Potential
Morgan State 289 Home 4 W Steady
Quinnipiac 235 Home 4 W Steady
Michigan 3 Home 1 L Steady
Furman 85 Home 3 L Rise to Q2
Canisius 261 Neutral 4 W Steady
Oklahoma State 83 Neutral 2 W Steady
Florida State 24 Neutral 1 W Steady
La Salle 314 Away 4 W Rise to Q3
Temple 64 Home 2 W Fall to Q3
St. Joe's 111 Home 3 W Steady
Penn 112 Away 2 L Steady
Kansas 12 Away 1 L Steady
Uconn 102 Neutral 3 W Rise to Q2
DePaul 138 Home 3 W Steady
Providence 88 Away 2 - Rise to Q1
St. John's 23 Home 1 - Fall to Q2
Creighton 40 Away 1 - Steady
Xavier 77 Home 3 - Rise to Q2
Butler 62 Away 1 - Fall to Q2
Seton Hall 41 Home 2 - Rise to Q1
DePaul 138 Away 3 - Rise to Q2
Georgetown 97 Home 3 - Steady
Creighton 40 Home 2 - Rise to Q1
Marquette 22 Away 1 - Steady
Providence 88 Home 3 - Rise to Q2
St. John's 23 Away 1 - Steady
Georgetown 97 Away 2 - Steady
Xavier 77 Away 2 - Rise to Q1
Marquette 22 Home 1 - Fall to Q2
Butler 62 Home 2 - Fall to Q3
Seton Hall 41 Away 1 - Steady