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27 February 2007

One win and in

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
2/27/2007 07:18:00 PM

I agree with Sports Illustrated bracketologist Seth Davis, who wrote today in his bubble breakdown that Villanova is a lock for the NCAA Tournament with just one more win.

Here is what Davis has to say on Villanova:

This is a great example of a team that is in good shape because its coach put together an intelligent schedule. The Wildcats played four true road games and three neutral-court games in the nonconference season, which is almost unheard of for a major conference team. None of Villanova's nine losses came against bad teams, but the finishing stretch is a bit dicey -- at UConn followed by Syracuse at home. Two losses would mean four out of five, which would tighten Nova's collar heading into the Big East tourney. One more win would put them safely in.

There's a lot of talk by pessimistic fans about Villanova needing to win two of three to get an NCAA bid. I say that's hogwash. With Villanova's RPI (22) and SOS (7), nothing short of a complete collapse will keep the 'Cats out of the tournament. Even if Villanova loses all three games, there's still a decent chance the team dances. With any one win, the Wildcats are a lock.

There is, however, another motivation for Villanova to win as many games as possible before the Big Dance: seeding. Right now, most bracketologists have the 'Cats as an 8 or 9 seed. The 8 and 9 are terrible seeds this year due to the relative strength of the nation's top four or five teams compared to the next tier. Winning three games versus one game before the tournament may be the difference between a 9-seed with a disastrous second round match-up with North Carolina, and a 7-seed with an eminently winnable second round against a team like Texas A&M.

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