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Jay Wright

SPORTS
March 14, 2014 | By Rich Hofmann, Daily News Columnist
NEW YORK - Nothing has changed in Jay Wright's mind. The NCAA Tournament remains wide open and he believes his team is entirely capable of winning six games. One loss, however disappointing - definition of disappointing: Seton Hall 64, Villanova 63 - has not altered his thinking. Not a bit, it seems. "I've always felt we're a good team that can go deep in the tournament," the Villanova coach said after the postgame news conference was over. "But I've also said we can get beat by anybody - and we did today.
SPORTS
March 14, 2014 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
THIRD-RANKED Villanova (28-3) just won its first outright Big East regular-season championship since 1982, after being picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll. So was there any way Jay Wright wasn't going to get voted the conference coach of the year? "No one gets individual awards," Wright said after the news became official late yesterday afternoon in New York. "I actually talked to the players about that. If your team's not good, there's less chance that you get recognized.
SPORTS
March 14, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Whether it's diving over a courtside table, bumping heads with a teammate in a scramble for a loose ball, or getting run over while taking a charge, Ryan Arcidiacono never gives a second thought about sacrificing his body during a Villanova basketball game, no matter the score. If that means recurring trips to the hospital for stitches for the Wildcats sophomore point guard, so be it. "I dropped him off at 'Nova two years ago," said his father, Joe. "Within two weeks he calls us and says, 'Dad, I've got to go to the hospital.' He got stitches in his head.
SPORTS
March 13, 2014 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
The spotlighted court once again will ride amid the darkness of the arena like the gleaming deck of a great ship at sea as the basketball teams claw each other through the four days and nights, and it will all still look very much like the Big East tournament. In fact, it is the Big East tournament, and it is Madison Square Garden, and many of the usual suspects are still on hand as the league works to reestablish its place in the college basketball firmament. A year ago, eight teams would exit the Big East championship and take their places in the field of the NCAA tournament.
SPORTS
March 12, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The numbers next to Villanova's name entering Big East Conference tournament week are impressive by any standard - 1 representing the Wildcats' seeding in the event, 3 standing for their ranking in the latest Associated Press poll. But with that comes extra motivation from Villanova's opponents, starting Thursday at Madison Square Garden with either Seton Hall or Butler. To spoil Villanova's chances at its first Big East tournament championship of the 13-year Jay Wright era, not to mention removing it from a No. 1 regional seeding in the NCAAs, is their goal.
SPORTS
March 12, 2014 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
A YEAR ago, the 15-team Big East sent eight teams to the NCAA Tournament. Five of them - eventual champion Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse (Final Four), Notre Dame and Cincinnati - are now playing in other conferences. As is Connecticut, which was ineligible. And even West Virginia, another four-letter fixture that had left a year earlier. That's how change works sometimes. Only Villanova and Creighton, one of the three newcomers in what's become a reconfigured 10-team alignment, are in the Top 25. Five different Big East teams made seven trips to the Final Four the past five seasons.
SPORTS
March 10, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jay Wright gave his Villanova players the opportunity to celebrate their Big East Conference regular-season championship with commemorative T-shirts, and he even donned one himself Saturday after the Wildcats concluded an exceptional run through the league. But once the Wildcats finish enjoying themselves, they will begin the really hard work. And that's not just on the basketball court. The sixth-ranked Wildcats showed they had no intention of relaxing with the title safely in hand, rolling to a methodical, 77-59 victory over Georgetown before a crowd of 18,828 at the Wells Fargo Center.
SPORTS
March 8, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
CINCINNATI - No one said it would be easy for Villanova to come to Xavier and play in a venue where the host team had lost just one game all season and clinch the Big East Conference regular-season championship, even though the Musketeers were without their best inside player. Well, if you're attempting to win the outright crown for the first time since the 1981-82 season, it's not supposed to be easy. With a 12-point lead late, what looked like a 'Nova victory Thursday night turned into a scary experience in the final 1 minute, 11 seconds before free throws by Josh Hart and James Bell finally salted away the sixth-ranked Wildcats' 77-70 victory at the Cintas Center and the No. 1 seed in next week's conference tournament.
SPORTS
March 7, 2014 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
CINCINNATI - It hasn't happened all that often. Villanova won the Big East regular-season title in 1981-82 and tied for first the following year. The Wildcats also earned the top seed in 1996-97, when they took their half of what was then a two-division conference. And they were the No. 2 seed in their Elite Eight season of 2005-06, when they lost the tiebreaker with Connecticut. Last night at the Cintas Center, a team that was picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll secured the No. 1 spot in next week's Big East Tournament in New York by beating Xavier (20-11, 10-8)
SPORTS
March 4, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The situation was not a favorable one for No. 8 Villanova early in Sunday's game against Marquette. James Bell, the team's leading scorer, and Ryan Arcidiacono, its floor leader, were on the bench in foul trouble barely six minutes in, leading to concern about who would provide the points against the Golden Eagles' relentless defense. Enter junior guard Darrun Hilliard and four members of the Wildcats' bench corps, who picked up the scoring slack and carried the team to a 73-56 Big East Conference win over Marquette in front of 15,026 at the Wells Fargo Center.
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