‘Cats hope to dance March

James Evans

Wasn’t this supposed to be the year it all came together and Villanova would return to its glory days? Or maybe it was supposed to be last year when they were chosen 15th in the pre-season polls. Well whatever the case, there is one thing for sure; we have only one team here on the Main Line worthy of an NCAA tournament berth and that is the women.

As the men wrapped up their disappointing loss to Rutgers on Wednesday night, a little life dropped out of Villanova campus as hopes of a possibly dancing come March seem to be slipping through their hands.

‘Nova had a chance to escape the middle of the pack in the Big East and join the upper echelon of the division with a win over Rutgers. However, the loss just causes the ‘Cats to fall into the black hole of the Big East, and now are considered to be in the bottom of the Big East.

With 11 games left and sitting with a record of 11-7, Democrat Nominee Dennis Kucinich has a better chance of being in the White House next January than the ‘Cats have at making the tournament this March.

The schedule for their last 11 games features the crème de la crème of the Big East and an undefeated and national powerhouse St. Joe’s. So the dream of NCAA tournament berth might turn into a day dream of an NIT invite or even worse a nightmare of not making any postseason tournament, if the wheels completely fall off.

‘Nova best shot would be to go 8-3 in it’s final 11 games and go into the Big East tournament at the Madison Square Garden with a 19-10 record. And if it could win one game in Big East tournament, a 20-win season, plus its strength of schedule would be enough to solidify a spot in the NCAA tournament.

But lets not get a head of ourselves, there are a lot of “ifs” in that last paragraph. Let’s break down their schedule.

Four of the ‘Cats last 11 games are against nationally ranked teams, St. Joe’s, UConn, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. And the games against Syracuse and Pittsburgh are away games. So let’s say that God helps us out against the Orangemen, Huskies and Panthers (the Hawks are a wash, their Catholic, too) and we are able to walk away with a 2-2 record in those four games. That leaves the ‘Cats with little room for mistake against Georgetown, Providence, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Miami and West Virginia (they play them twice).

Providence and Seton Hall are the two that stick out in the list though. The Friars (14-3 overall, 5-1 in the Big East) have already beaten the ‘Cats once this year. Junior forward Ryan Gomes is a scoring threat from any where on the court and is quickly becoming the most popular person in Providence since mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci was indicted in 2001. Let’s hope Gomes does not end up with the same fate.

The Pirates (13-4 overall, 3-2 in the Big East) are the sleeper team of the Big East this year. Picked to finish sixth in the preseason Big East poll this year the Pirates are on pass for exactly that. However, no one could foresee Seton Hall’s early surge to begin the season and bolster its overall record. An eight-game winning streak was the main reason for Seton Hall surge, which only ended in hard fought game against Providence. Still the Pirates are not a team to be taken lightly.

The next month will truly be a rollercoaster with ups and downs. And no matter the ‘Cats record at the end of the year; they will still have a chance for a trip the NCAA tournament if they run the table in the Big East tournament.

But knowing this team’s inconsistency, the reality of reeling off four straight games in four days is highly doubtful. So lets just hope the Wildcats can pull off eight wins.