Just as things were looking good for the Villanova Wildcats, the past week of Big East play has crushed their hopes of making it into the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
After starting conference play with two wins, the young Wildcats fell to Syracuse at the Carrier Dome on January 12, a loss which triggered a tailspin towards the bottom of the conference standings.
Four days after the loss to Syracuse, Jay Wright's Wildcats scored just 43 points in their loss to Pittsburgh.
The Wildcats suffered their third consecutive loss on Saturday when they fell apart in the second half against Providence.
Now, the roughest stretch of Big East play approaches the Wildcats, with games against Louisville and Syracuse at home before visiting Notre Dame to round out January.
Unless something miraculous happens at The Pavilion this week, the Wildcats should head into South Bend at 2-5 in Big East play.
A trip to Notre Dame will most likely result in yet another loss as the Fighting Irish are one of the best home teams in the conference.
Losses to three of the powerhouse programs in the Big East would leave the Wildcats at 2-6 in conference play with 10 games remaining in February and March.
Even if the Wildcats string together 10 consecutive wins in their final 10 games, they would most likely finish amongst the middle of the pack in the Big East.
With such a difficult road ahead of them for the rest of conference play, the only way that the Wildcats will qualify for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament will be if they win the Big East Tournament.
The last time that Villanova came out of Madison Square Garden as Big East Tournament champions came back in 1995, when Kerry Kittles led the Wildcats to a 94-78 win over UConn in the final.
This year's edition of Villanova basketball does not contain a star like Kittles, and based on what we have seen in past the week from the Wildcats, they do not have the heart and resolve to win four games in four days.
With all that being said, it is likely that the Wildcats will miss out on their second consecutive NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament unless something miraculous happens over the next two months to Jay Wright's young team.