Villanova knocked off No. 22 Marquette on Saturday, their third marquee win of the season — they beat Syracuse and Louisville in back-t0-back games earlier this season — and one that seemingly put them onto the right side of the bubble.
So long as they could avoid slipping up against Seton Hall, a team that hadn’t won a game in 33 days, on Monday night.
And, well, it turns out that may have been too much to ask:
The Wildcats ended up losing to the Pirates 66-65 thanks to that last second three-pointer from Fuquan Edwin, and while it’s far from a devastating blow to their tournament hopes — as of this morning, Dave Ommen still had the Wildcats in our latest bracket — it puts Villanova into a tough situation.
For starters, their last two games are at Pitt and at home against Georgetown. Those won’t be easy games, and a loss will result in Villanova finishing out the season at 9-9 in the Big East and 18-13 overall. That would likely put them into 8-9 game or the 7-10 game in the Big East tournament with someone like Cincinnati or St. John’s. If they can win their first round game, they’ll advance to take on one of the top two seeds in the Big East in must-win game for their tournament hopes.
With losses to Columbia, Alabama, Seton Hall and a sweep at the hands of Providence, Villanova has one of the strangest resumes in the country. It’s tough to imagine, but in a year where St. Mary’s may be able to sneak into the Big Dance with their best win being against a Creighton team that has fallen off the map, Villanova could end up being left out of the tournament despite beating three of the top four teams in the Big East.
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.
Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.
“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.
“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”
Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.
This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.
Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.
“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.
This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.
He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.
The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.