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SPORTS
March 18, 2015 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Columnist
CLICK HERE to download Dick Jerardi's 2015 NCAA tournament bracket in .pdf form. I THOUGHT last year's tournament was wide-open. I did not think it was so wide-open that Connecticut was going to win. I would have gone 15 deep before even considering the Huskies. I do not think this tournament is open at all. I do think there are a few teams that could beat Kentucky. I just don't think any will actually beat the Wildcats. I have seen 40-0 since about mid-January. I still see it. This tournament is really top-heavy.
SPORTS
March 18, 2015 | By John Smallwood, Daily News Columnist
SOMEDAY AFTER the NCAA Tournament is over and, since JayVaughn Pinkston is of legal age, Villanova coach Jay Wright said he's going to buy his senior forward a beer and ask him what changed. The conversation Wright said he was going to have with Pinkston before the season started, the one about senior leadership and sacrifice and example-setting, was never necessary. Pinkston had figured it all out and was already bringing it to the table. "JayVaughn is what a coach dreams of having in a senior," Wright said yesterday as the Wildcats prepared to face Lafayette on Thursday in Pittsburgh in an NCAA Tournament East Regional game.
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 17, 2015 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
IN THE 2007-08 season, a Villanova team that started 13-3 lost five straight games from Jan. 23 to Feb. 4. All were by double digits, two to teams that wouldn't make the NCAA Tournament. The last was a 22-pointer to Saint Joseph's at the Palestra. Some 5 weeks later, the Wildcats lost in the semfinals of the Big East Tournament to ninth-ranked Georgetown, by 19, to finish 20-12. Then they had to wait to find out if their name would get called on Selection Sunday. It was a tense 48 hours.
SPORTS
March 17, 2015 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
NOT ALL teams are created equal. But every one of the 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament is starting out fresh again at 0-0. Villanova, as expected, will be starting out as one of the four top seeds for the first time since the 2006 team made it to the Final Eight. The number next to your name, of course, means nothing once you start playing. Last year the Wildcats lost their second game as a No. 2 seed, the second time that had happened to them since they reached the Final Four in 2009.
NEWS
March 17, 2015 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Columnist
So Kentucky is going to win this thing? Not so fast. Say the Wildcats end up with a path that includes Cincinnati, Maryland, and then Kansas or Notre Dame just to get to the Final Four. UK obviously is the favorite each time, but that's a little bit of a gauntlet, with differing styles and plenty of talent. Notre Dame obviously is the kind of offensive team that could make things interesting for Kentucky if the Irish make it to the Elite Eight game in Cleveland. If Kansas was the last No. 2 seed, it makes sense that Notre Dame would be the top No. 3 after winning the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
NEWS
March 17, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
After Lafayette beat American University last Wednesday to emerge as champion of the Patriot League, coach Fran O'Hanlon got a text message from Villanova coach Jay Wright. College basketball is a small world, and the tentacles of the game that emanate from Philadelphia sometimes seem to encircle it all. O'Hanlon, who played at Villanova and graduated in 1970, is in his 20th season at Lafayette, coaching in the same conference as Bucknell, where Wright went to school. It certainly is a small world and both O'Hanlon and Wright knew last week that it might get a whole lot smaller for the two of them very quickly.
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.
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