Quick Takes: Villanova a tough out
I don’t know if Villanova is the best team in college basketball, but they’re a tough out. When needed most, against a more-than-game Irish group from Notre Dame, senior guard Josh Hart rallied his troops from an 11-point deficit with a career-high 37 points. Villanova will lose this year, but someone will have to beat them – for 40 minutes. Because the reigning National Champions still have heart (and Hart). Satisfied with last year’s journey? It doesn’t appear that way. Despite shooting just 25 percent from beyond the arc, ‘Nova dug in and held Notre Dame to 27 percent. Then promptly outscored the Irish 20-6 at the free throw line. There are a lot of ways to win basketball games and Villanova has a knack for knowing what it takes.
More Quick Takes from Saturday …
- UCLA can flat-out score. The Bruins put up 102 on Michigan after tallying 97 against Kentucky. It was the third time this year that UCLA has topped the century mark.
- Butler and Cincinnati waged a defensive battle at Hinkle Fieldhouse, won by the Bulldogs, who are a little better at offense.
- In all, it was another good day for the Big East – with Villanova (Notre Dame), Butler (Cincinnati), Providence (UMass), and Xavier (Utah) posting notable W’s.
- Rhode Island continues to struggle a bit. The Rams lost for the 4th time in 6 games after falling at Houston. Other than a victory over Cincinnati, URI missed on its remaining chances to post resume-building non-conference wins. We’ll see how that plays out moving forward.
- Kudos to Providence. The Friars were an unknown coming into the season, but they’ve exceeded expectations. While Saturday’s win over UMass won’t gather many headlines, it was another solid victory that keeps them squarely in the at-large conversation.
- BYU got a much needed home win by beating Colorado. The Buffaloes are most-likely a bubble team, but it helps offset the home loss to Utah Valley.
- The Mountain West looks like a one-bid league unless Nevada makes itself a strong at-large candidate. San Diego State lost to Arizona State Saturday night at home. It was SDSU’s third straight loss against a lineup of Loyola (IL), Grand Canyon, and ASU.
- Wisconsin looked more like the team we expected in Milwaukee.
- Better-than-you-think road wins Saturday … Oklahoma State (at Tulsa), UNC-Wilmington (at St. Bonaventure), VCU (at Old Dominion)
- Georgetown won it’s fourth straight (La Salle). The Hoyas are talented enough to overcome a forgettable November.
Enjoy your Sunday on the hardwood.