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Nova’s, Big East’s flaws exposed in upset

Villanova's 33-3 record will be looked at as one of the greatest seasons in their history but Villanova's failure to get out of the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament is nothing but a huge disappointment.

Villanova’s 33-3 record will be looked at as one of the greatest seasons in their history but Villanova’s failure to get out of the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament is nothing but a huge disappointment.

This March has seen some of the most unlikely upsets in the first weekend. From Georgia State and UAB upsetting highly-touted No. 3 seeds to an 11th-seeded UCLA squad that should not have even been in the tournament beating an SMU team that was under-seeded as a six and then advancing to the Sweet 16, there have been surprise results. But the biggest upset so far is Villanova losing to NC State.

The Wildcats were supposed to be a team capable of contending with Kentucky, possibly for an NCAA Championship. They were said to be the best team in the school’s history, a program that once produced a National Champion. The idea of that team losing to an inconsistent NC State team that lost to the likes of Miami, Clemson, Wake Forest and Boston College this year, is hard to wrap your head around.

Except when you think about it, it’s not.

Villanova was 32-2 and coming off a sweep of the Big East tournament. But they were not one of the four best teams in the country.

The Big East name helped Villanova’s season seem greater than it was but the Big East just isn’t the same as it used to be. No longer are the Wildcats going through the gauntlet that included Notre Dame, Connecticut, Syracuse and Louisville. The Wildcats are now in a conference where it’s them, Butler, Georgetown and everybody else. Butler and Providence both settled for six-seeds in the NCAA Tournament and Georgetown was over-seeded as a No. 4 seed. St. John’s and Xavier are tough teams, but still not top tests.

The bottom of the conference was bad. Seton Hall, DePaul, Creighton and Marquette were pretty much cake-walks. Villanova’s non-conference schedule wasn’t particularly good either with VCU, Michigan, Illinois and Temple all failing to live up to their potential.

Only one team on Villanova’s schedule ranked in the top 20 of the Pomeroy college rankings, Butler. And they only ranked 19. Xavier ranked 22 and Georgetown 25.

No team on their schedule ranked in the top 20 in RPI.

Villanova wasn’t a team that was tested and ready for the tournament. NC State, though, played 13 games against NCAA Tournament teams.

But even more than the overrated Big East leading to Villanova’s early departure from the NCAA Tournament, the team was flawed as it was.

The most incredible thing about the Wildcats was how well they spread the ball around and how if one guy was having an off-night there were so many other guys capable of stepping up and scoring in his place. No player on Villanova scored more than 18-percent of the team’s points and no player took more than 20-percent of the team’s shots this year.

Sounds great right? Wrong. It’s only great if the team is full of prolific players, like Kentucky is. But Villanova isn’t that team full of stars. They are a team full of very good but not elite players.

The Wildcats didn’t have that one player who could put the team on his back and lead them to victory. Yes, first-team All-Big East selection Darrun Hilliard scored 27 points against the Wolfpack, but he didn’t do such a great offensive job that he opened up the other players for very good looks. Only one player on the Big East’s best team finished the year ranked in the top 20, that was Hilliard with 13.9 points per game.

Villanova’s lack of size has led to them struggling on the boards all year too, and they were out-rebounded 45-32 by NC State.

Their flaws and inexperience in big games were exposed and it has left them with a disappointing 33-3 record.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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