As we wade through the portion of the season where conference play makes us rethink everything we thought we knew so far, one can only hope these last few weeks of the college hoops season continue to surprise. While many of the usual suspects continue to solidify (Gonzaga, Virginia), others are taking minor chinks in their armor (Tennessee). Meanwhile, Duke continues to establish its dominance after overcoming a 23-point deficit against Louisville, while Kentucky is sneakily approaching postseason form.
TEAM OF INTEREST: (15) Villanova
Well…isn’t this awkward? Granted it was always expected that the reigning NCAA champions would be taking a step back this season, but surely their fortunes would look a bit more promising than this. Is it time to panic?
No, but a loss to a St. John’s team that trailed by 14 in the second half this past weekend isn’t too encouraging. With their record standing at 20-6, this is the most losses Nova has had since the 2012-13 season. Again, not a time to panic as they could easily win out the rest of the regular season, and this worry would all be for nothing. With that said I would be really surprised if Jay Wright wasn’t preaching a sense of urgency here, especially with two more road games on the horizon before facing a quality Marquette team at home. No longer playing with house money for the season, all eyes will certainly be on this team as it enters the final stretch leading into the Big East tournament.
Complete Rankings: (records through 2/19)
1. Duke (23-2)
Defeated No. 16 Louisville, North Carolina St.
2. Tennesee (23-2)
Defeated South Carolina, Lost to No. 5 Kentucky
3. Virginia (23-2)
Defeated No. 8 North Carolina, Notre Dame, No. 20 Virginia Tech
4. Kentucky (21-4)
Lost to No. 19 LSU, Defeated No. 1 Tennessee
5. Gonzaga (21-4)
Defeated Loyola Marymount, San Diego
6. Nevada (24-1)
Defeated New Mexico, Wyoming
7. Marquette (21-4)
Defeated No. 14 Villanova, DePaul
8. North Carolina (20-5)
Lost to No. 4 UVA, Defeated Wake Forest
9. Michigan State (21-5)
Defeated No. 20 Wisconsin, Ohio St.
10. Houston (25-1)
Defeated Connecticut, Tulane
11. Michigan (23-3)
Lost to Penn St., Defeated No. 24 Maryland
12. Kansas (20-6)
Defeated TCU, West Virginia
13. Texas Tech (21-5)
Defeated Oklahoma State, Baylor
14. LSU (21-4)
Defeated No. 5 Kentucky, Georgia
15. Villanova (20-6)
Defeated Providence, lost to St. John’s
Lurking: Florida State, Iowa, Virginia Tech, Iowa State
Esau Howard is a Friend of the Program, a hoops enthusiast, and a sports scribe that appreciates the life shortening stress of competition at it’s finest. Follow his musings on Twitter.
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