Villanova Is No. 1 in the Polls for the First Time Ever
The Villanova men’s basketball team may have its 1985 national championship, but the Wildcats had never been ranked No. 1 in the country during the regular season — until now. (There was no postseason AP poll in the 1985 season.)
The latest Associated Press poll, released today, has Villanova as the top team in the nation. The Wildcats were third last week, but No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 2 North Carolina both lost last week. Villanova is also No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Villanova is 20-3, with losses coming only to Oklahoma, Virginia and Providence. The Wildcats are doing pretty much everything well this year, except for shooting threes and getting to the line. But they hit 57 percent of their two-point shots (fourth in the nation) and hit 76 percent of their free throws (10th best) to make up for it.
The Wildcats are currently 10-1 in the Big East, a game up on Xavier (the fourth-ranked team in the nation). They received 11 first-place votes in the Coaches Poll and finished four points ahead of No. 2 Maryland (who also got 11 first-place votes). In the AP Poll, Villanova got 32 first-place votes to Maryland’s 13.
Ken Pomeroy‘s data ranks Josh Hart the 6th-best player in the nation. Hart averages 15.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game on 52 shooting from the field. It’s a team effort for the Wildcats: Ryan Arcidiacono averages 12.5 points, Kris Jenkins 11, Jalen Brunson 10.2 and Daniel Ochefu 9.7. Ochefu has been sidelined after suffering a concussion, but Villanova has gone 3-0 without him.
The Wildcats play against DePaul in Chicago tomorrow and at home against St. John’s on Saturday this week. Those are two games the Wildcats shouldn’t lose; Villanova is set for an extended stay at the No. 1 spot.
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