Villanova Basketball: 5 Questions Wildcats Face in the Big East Stretch Run
With just seven games remaining on the schedule, the Villanova Wildcats are looking to make a final push towards the postseason.
The Wildcats currently sit at 15-9 overall and at 6-5 in the Big East. That record is not good enough to get them into the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
If the Wildcats can continue to win games towards the end of the regular season, they could potentially receive a top-six seeding in the Big East Tournament and steal a spot in the NCAA Tournament instead of opting for the NIT.
For that to happen, Jay Wright's Wildcats will have to answer these five burning questions about the Big East stretch run.
Can Mouphtaou Yarou Continue His Strong Play?
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Over the past six games, the play of senior center Mouphtaou Yarou has improved greatly.
Yarou has scored in double figures in five of those six games, garnering a nine-point performance in the sixth game.
The shining moment of the Wildcats big man in past three weeks was his 20-point performance in the loss to Notre Dame on January 30.
The Wildcats have gone 4-2 in those six games with the losses being by a combined seven points.
Yarou's play in the paint has been the primary reason for the recent success of the Wildcats.
If the Wildcats are to make a run into March, Yarou will have to continue his stellar play in the paint.
Can the Wildcats Win on the Road?
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After five road games in Big East play, the Wildcats are 2-3. They will need to improve on their travels to have a shot at playing in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Of the seven games left on the schedule, four of them are on the road, and none of the road trips are easy.
The Wildcats will visit Cincinnati and UConn this week before traveling up I-95 to play Seton Hall on February 25.
The final road trip of the season for the Wildcats will come on March 2 when they play Pittsburgh at the Petersen Events Center.
The Wildcats will need to win at least two of those games to have a chance of staying on the bubble to make the field of 68 on Selection Sunday.
Where those two wins come from is not yet known, but the Wildcats are expected to beat Seton Hall. That means they will have to win one game in a brutal Big East environment.
With a loss at Pittsburgh all but certain, the Wildcats will have to win at least one of their road games this week to stay alive in the hunt for a postseason berth.
Will the Wildcats Pull off Another Upset?
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Villanova stole all of the national headlines back in January when they took down both Syracuse and Louisville, who were in the Top Five at that time.
With three games left on the schedule against ranked opposition, the Wildcats need to pull off another upset to bolster their resume.
As was mentioned in the previous slide, the Wildcats have a small chance of beating No. 16 Pittsburgh on the road.
That leaves the Wildcats with two opportunities at home to spring an upset.
No. 18 Marquette and No. 15 Georgetown come to Philadelphia during the final two weeks of the season.
A win in either of those games would help out the Wildcats' resume, which only contains marquee wins over Syracuse, Louisville and St. Joseph's.
How Many Regular Season Wins Do the Wildcats Need to Get into the Tournament?
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At the moment, the Big East has six teams that are locks to make the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Villanova is not a part of that group.
The question facing the Wildcats is how many wins will they need to make it into the tournament.
The ideal number of wins for the Wildcats to reach is at least 10, which will be difficult to reach for Jay Wright's team.
If the Wildcats do reach the 10-win mark in regular season play, they will have a chance to win a game or two in the Big East Tournament and move into final field of 68
Can the Young Wildcats Deal with the Pressure?
There is no debating that the Wildcats have a lack of experience on their roster
Yarou and junior guard James Bell are the only two upperclassmen on the roster that get steady playing time.
The other five key contributors in the Villanova lineup are sophomores and freshmen.
The main thing to watch for during this stretch run is if the young players on the roster can withstand the growing pressure of making the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
The Wildcats will either prove themselves and to the nation that they are a team to be reckoned with or prove their inexperience and fall flat on their face.
No one is exactly sure what will happen with this Villanova team in the final seven games, but if the young players on the roster can step up and thrive under pressure, they could win a game or two in the postseason.
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