Under Jay Wright, Villanova has made the postseason 10 consecutive years. The last seven of those years ended in the NCAA Tournament. They've even lasted past the first weekend four times, and are just two-and-a-half seasons removed from a Final Four appearance.
Right now it seems like Villanova is light years away from that type of success.
In a very uneven season, they entered last night's game against South Florida with an even record at 7-7. They had lost their first two Big East games on the road against very good teams in West Virginia and Marquette.
This week was a significantly easier slate, with home games against the aforementioned Bulls and DePaul.
South Florida entered the game with a 6-46 road record in Big East play. Surely this was a chance to get into a rhythm and try to get their season going in the right direction.
That is not at all how events transpired.
After leading by eight points midway through the first half, South Florida took a 27-25 lead into halftime.
The Bulls opened the second half with a 13-4 run and really never looked back. The 'Cats managed to get within three on two different occasions, but never had the ball with a chance to even the score.
After closing the gap to 50-47 with 8:09 remaining, the Bulls went on to outscore Villanova 24-10 the rest of the way. A 74-57 loss at home to South Florida. That's what this season has come to.
People can talk about youth all they want, but in this day and age of college basketball, three juniors who were top-40 recruits are nothing to sneeze at. The problem is that those guys just haven't developed.
In this game, once again, the same problems cropped up that have doomed the Wildcats all season.
They continued to shoot an abundance of three-point shots despite not having a single player who can consistently make them. They shot 4-of-20.
Despite guards Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek being 87 percent free-throw shooters, they only got to the line five times combined. Wayns led the team in scoring as usual with 17 points, but he did it on 5-of-13 shooting. He also didn't record an assist.
Villanova was massacred on the glass, 36-18. Even that number doesn't tell the whole story. Of Villanova's 33 missed shots, South Florida rebounded 27 of them. The Bulls missed 28 shots, but the Wildcats had just 14 defensive rebounds.
The only point of the second half where Villanova appeared competitive was a three-minute stretch where JayVaughn Pinkston and Dominic Cheek attacked the basket on five out of eight possessions.
In that stretch they went on a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to three. They had two missed threes and a missed long two over their next three possessions. In that time, the Bulls went back up by 10 points and that was that.
Villanova stands now at 7-8 on the season and 0-3 in the Big East. Jay Wright and his staff need to find some way for this team to compete. The way they played last night they probably couldn't beat a single team in the conference.
Wright hasn't finished with a losing record since his second season in 2003, and even then he was .500 in Big East play. Things are looking really bad on the Main Line, and it looks even worse with the success of the other Philadelphia schools.
For Jay Wright and the Wildcats, it looks like 2012 will be a long year that ends before the fun even begins.