Thursday, March 7, 2013

Villanova: NCAA Tournament's Jekell & Hyde Team

Villanova all but punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament, but which Wildcat team will show up? (

The better of the two Villanova teams defeated Georgetown Tuesday and, barring a very early and ugly exit in the Big East Tournament, punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament. I said one of the two because it feels like there are two Villanova teams (a Jekell & Hyde, if you will) that could show up to any game either making the team look like a Big East contender or rebuilding project.

Villanova (19-12) will most likely be on the right side of the bubble come Selection Sunday because the Wildcats have risen in big games with a handful of key victories. However, Villanova wouldn't even be on the bubble if not for inconsistent play and bad losses. The highlight wins are impressive and the worst losses are ugly. Just take a look at these:

Key wins: Louisville and Syracuse (back-to-back), Marquette, Georgetown

Key losses: Columbia, Providence (2x), at Seton Hall

The other eight losses weren't horrible because of the level of opposition, but a season with double-digit losses, while trying to get a ticket to the big dance, isn't ideal. It also doesn't help that Villanova lost the biggest non-conference games on the schedule (Alabama, at La Salle and Temple).

The Wildcats are seventh in the Big East, yet have beaten four of the six teams ahead of them in the rankings (except for Notre Dame and Pitt). It's amazing Villanova was able to knock off three teams who were ranked in the top five in the country at the time, yet can't close out games to Seton Hall and Providence.

The latest ESPN Bracketology has Villanova as a No. 14 seed and people would have to consider the Wildcats as a possible upset pick. How could you not when they've upset so many great teams who would be of equal talent level to a No. 3 seed the Wildcats would face? It also would not be shocking to anyone for Villanova to be on a plane back to Philadelphia after one game.

Villanova epitomizes how this college basketball season has unfolded. The Wildcats are impossible to figure out. Just when you think they are on the upside, another bad loss sets them back and makes you question what you thought about the team. Then as Nova looked as if it would end the regular season on a three-game losing streak, the Wildcats beat Georgetown to end on a high note and make you question once again.

Depending on which Villanova team shows up to the tournament, Jekell or Hyde, it could make for an interesting weekend for one of the last teams to make the field.

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