Dick Jerardi: College Basketball Wrap: Villanova continues to roll
AROUND THE CITY Wildcats hold on Villanova probably is not as good as it looked when leading Marquette, 52-30. Nor are the 'Cats as bad as they looked when blowing nearly all of that lead before winning, 78-76.
AROUND THE CITY
Wildcats hold on
Villanova probably is not as good as it looked when leading Marquette, 52-30. Nor are the 'Cats as bad as they looked when blowing nearly all of that lead before winning, 78-76.
What they are is a team with some big-game tested veterans and a few impetuous players who are so confident in their ability that time and score are often irrelevant.
When all of the talent catches up with all of the experience, there really is no telling how good this team might become.
Regardless, there will be a few bumps along the way. Winning bumps, however, are always better than losing bumps.
And 'Nova (14-1, 3-0 Big East) continues to win.
When assessing the game, also keep in mind that Marquette (10-6, 1-3) has been really unlucky not to have a much better record. Five of its losses have been by a combined nine points.
For the second consecutive Saturday, Marquette's Jimmy Butler was in the middle of a bad sequence for his team. In Milwaukee, he missed a wide-open layup that would have given his team the lead in the final seconds. In this game, he lost the ball with 10 seconds left, his team trailing by just two.
The Wildcats shot a terrific 57.1 percent. Marquette almost made it all the way back thanks to 11-for-23 shooting from the arc.
Every Villanova starter scored in double figures. Which suggests what is becoming obvious. This team is very hard to guard.
Very good week, very bad ending
Drexel's week was daunting - at Georgia State on Monday, home with VCU on Wednesday, home with William & Mary on Saturday.
Well, the Dragons got the first two and played really well to get them. It all caught up with them in the third game as they were overwhelmed by W & M, 73-48.
In a strong Colonial, W & M (12-3, 4-1 CAA) has emerged as the team to beat. The Tribe shot 52.2 percent against the Dragons, a number Bruiser Flint's teams rarely give up.
When Drexel (8-9, 3-2) shoots well, it has a chance against most anybody. Lately, the Dragons have been shooting well. Not against W & M. They shot just 24.3 percent and had no shot to win.
Hawks win final 6 minutes, game
This did not figure to be a good season on Hawk Hill. It has been a bit worse than feared. It could have gotten much worse if Saint Joseph's had lost at home to Fordham.
They actually trailed 66-65 with 6 minutes left before winning, 82-69.
St. Joe's (5-9, 1-1 Atlantic 10) got beaten on the glass for the 13th time in 14 games. And got outscored in the lane, 42-26. But Fordham (2-12, 0-2) became Fordham in those final 6 minutes, missing 10 of 11 shots.
Senior Darrin Govens (21 points, five assists, four steals) had gone just 7-for-28 in his previous three games. He was 7-for-12, 5-for-7 from the arc against the Rams.
Hawks center Todd O'Brien had 20 points and 12 rebounds.
ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Player of the year
Interesting that some outlets conceded National Player of the Year to Kentucky freshman John Wall before he played a conference game. Wall is sensational, but everybody needs to calm down. There are more than a few other viable candidates out there.
By the way, Wall shot 5-for-14 with five assists and three turnovers in his SEC debut.
Other P/Y candidates would include Damion James (Texas), Sherron Collins (Kansas) and Luke Harangody (Notre Dame). I could name more, but, really, let's relax before we anoint.
Great shooting, no defense
Texas and Colorado combined to shoot 67-for-123 (54.5 percent).
Home sweet Bo
After ending Purdue's unbeaten season, Wisconsin is now a ridiculous 130-10 at home under Chester's Bo Ryan.
West Virginia had just four turnovers at Notre Dame. But WVU was just 2-for-4 from the foul line and shot 27-for-72 (37.5 percent) in a two-point loss.
Notre Dame point guard Ben Hansbrough (Tyler's brother) had six points, nine rebounds, 10 assists and 0 turnovers.
The Irish shot 53.5 percent and got 24 points from Luke Harangody.
Kansas State and Missouri combined for 73 free-throw attempts and 40 turnovers in a wild game. K-State's terrific guards, Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente, shot just 10-for-30 against the Mizzou frenzy.
Missing in action, still winning
BYU was last seen in these parts getting buried by Texas A & M in a first-round NCAA game. It did not have a carryover. The Cougars' only loss is at Utah State and they have been winning lately without star scorer Jimmer Fredette, out with mononucleosis. Fredette had 49 a few weeks ago at Arizona.
Streak goes on
With Memphis down a bit and some other pretty solid teams (UAB, Tulsa) in the league, it is hard to imagine the Tigers getting through Conference USA unscathed again. They needed two late Willie Kemp free throws to win at Southern Mississippi, 59-57. That is now 62 straight over C-USA opponents. Their last loss was in the 2006 C-USA Tournament to UAB.
The other side of it
Everybody knows the two unbeaten teams are Texas and Kentucky.
Who knew that the two winless teams are Bryant (Northeast Conference) and Alcorn State (Southwestern Athletic)? Here's hoping there are soon none of these. No program needs that.
DICK JERARDI'S TOP 15
1. Kentucky (16-0): Not dazzling in SEC opener, 76-68 home win over Georgia (26 turnovers). Best start since 1965-66 team went 23-0. That was the team that lost to Texas Western in the championship game.
2. Texas (15-0): Freshman Avery Bradley (29 points) shot 12-for-14 as UT overwhelmed Colorado, 103-86. UC has lost 30 straight on Big 12 road.
3. Kansas (14-1): Bruce Pearl's Tennessee team, playing without four suspended players and with great passion, showed serious heart in holding off KU down the stretch yesterday in Knoxville, 76-68.
4. Villanova (14-1): Lost almost all of a 22-point, second-half lead, but made a defensive stop at the end to hold off Marquette, 78-76. Have won 35 straight on campus.
5. Syracuse (15-1): Beat USF yesterday, 82-65, as Wes Johnson had 19 points and 13 rebounds, his seventh double-double.
6. Purdue (14-1): Got suffocated at Wisconsin, 73-66. Badgers did what they do, committing just seven turnovers and going 22 of 27 from the foul line.
7. West Virginia (12-2): Came from 20 down at the half, but could never get the lead and lost at Notre Dame, 70-68.
8. Duke (13-2): Made just six of 28 from the arc and lost at Georgia Tech, 71-67. Got overpowered inside by Tech's Gani Lawal, who shot 8-for-9 and had 21 points.
9. Georgetown (12-2): Came from 19 down early in the second half to beat UConn at the Verizon Center, 72-69. Austin Freeman had 28 of his career-best 33 in the second half.
10. Kansas State (13-2): Faded very late at Missouri to lose, 74-68. Mizzou has won 30 straight at home.
11. Cornell (13-3): Have played nine true road games and won seven of them. Nearly pulled off an epic upset at Kansas on Wednesday.
12. William & Mary (12-3): The Tribe are one of the stories of the season. Won easily at the DAC over Drexel, 73-48.
13. BYU (16-1): Shot 54.1 percent and won at UTEP, 83-77, without leading scorer Jimmer Fredette (mononucleosis).
14. Miami (15-1): Beat Wake Forest, 67-66. Dwayne Collins had 23 points and 11 rebounds. Best start in 50 years for 'Canes.
15. Michigan State (13-3): Shot 55.1 percent at Iowa and crushed poor Hawkeyes, 71-53.