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NEWS
March 17, 2015 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The joy that Jay Wright and his Villanova basketball team felt Sunday when the Wildcats were awarded a No. 1 seed in the East Regional of the NCAA tournament was followed by a long "ooohhhh" when the name of their initial opponent was revealed. That opponent was Lafayette, champion of the Patriot League, seeded No. 16 and coached by Fran O'Hanlon, the former Wildcats guard (1967-70) and "a very, very loyal Villanova guy," Wright said. "He really stays in close touch with us," Wright said.
SPORTS
March 17, 2015 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Columnist
WHEN KENTUCKY beat Kansas, 72-40, on Nov. 18, the whispers began. When the Wildcats had UCLA down 41-7 at the half on Dec. 20, the talk became louder. By the time they hit 20-0, the countdown began. Could a group of "veterans" who played for the 2014 national championship combine with another great recruiting class and win them all, go 40-0, become the first unbeaten national champions since 1976? After blasting Arkansas, 78-63, yesterday to win the SEC championship, that whisper has become a shout, 34-0, just six more wins from perfection.
SPORTS
March 16, 2015 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
NEW YORK - Villanova has played 33 games. It has won 31 of them, which is already a program record. The Wildcats would like to win more. Last night at Madison Square Garden, they won their 14th straight, 63-61, over defending champion Providence (21-11) in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament. The winning streak ties a program record for most in a season. The difference was two free throws by junior guard Ryan Arcidiacono, the co-Big East Player of the Year, with 3.1 seconds, to go after Providence, which never led after 3-2, rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final 13 1/2 minutes.
SPORTS
March 16, 2015 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
NEW YORK - Jay Wright always liked talking about the only Villanova team to win a Big East tournament championship, knowing the 1994-95 group led by Kerry Kittles, Alvin Williams, and Jason Lawson held a special place in the annals of the Wildcats' basketball program. Twenty years later, a second Villanova team has joined the '95 group in the same history-making moment. The Wildcats jumped on Xavier right away, led by 16 points in the first half, and never allowed the Musketeers to mount a rally Saturday night.
SPORTS
March 16, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
Villanova coach Jay Wright begins every March by restating his love for the Big East tournament, the annual Madison Square Garden stroll through the history of a conference that helped transform the program into a true national player. "I like this tournament better than any other tournament," Wright said on more than one occasion this past week. "I just love being in New York, love being in the Garden. " It had been a while, but the tournament loved him back this time, and the Wildcats captured their first conference championship since 1995 with a 69-52 title-game win over Xavier on Saturday night.
SPORTS
March 15, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
NEW YORK - Villanova's road to the final game of the Big East tournament took a detour through the woods Friday night in Madison Square Garden against Providence, but it was only a detour and not a stop sign. One night after an opener against Marquette that couldn't have gone much better, the Wildcats suffered through a game in which their three-point shooting was muffled by Providence. They needed a pair of free throws with 3.1 seconds remaining that followed a coin flip of a foul call on a Ryan Arcidiacono drive to the basket.
SPORTS
March 14, 2015 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
NEW YORK - If Villanova designed a blueprint for what it had to accomplish to win its first Big East tournament championship since 1995, the Wildcats couldn't have done it any better than they did Thursday against Marquette. The fourth-ranked Wildcats controlled their Big East quarterfinal game relatively early with amazing efficiency from three-point range and strong defense that kept the Golden Eagles off the scoreboard for nearly seven minutes, rolling to their 13th straight win, 84-49, at Madison Square Garden.
SPORTS
March 14, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
NEW YORK - Tournament college basketball, whether at the conference or NCAA level, is all about winning when you don't play your best. Any significant run is going to last long enough to see hot hands go cold, matchups become unfavorable, and bad bounces accumulate. A year ago, Villanova lost its opening game of the Big East tournament on a day in which all those things conspired against the Wildcats. It took a buzzer-beater of a shot by Seton Hall to complete the upset, but Villanova still went home.
SPORTS
March 13, 2015 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
VILLANOVA WON the Big East Tournament once, 20 years ago, an anniversary celebrated Saturday when the team was honored at halftime of the final regular-season game against St. John's at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wildcats have been in the title game four other times, but not since 1997. The last time they won more than one game in New York was 2004, when they reached the semifinals as an 11 seed before losing to eventual national champion Connecticut. Last March, as the top seed, they lost to Seton Hall in the quarters.
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