Villanova Wildcats

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - NOVEMBER 14:  Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats goes up for a shot against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on November 14, 2016 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

College Basketball Talk Top 25

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1. Villanova (6-0, Last week No. 1): The Wildcats hold steady at No. 1 this week as they weren’t tested.

2. Kentucky (6-0, 2): The more we watch Michigan State the less impressive that win looks for Kentucky. They’ll get UCLA at home on Saturday. We’ll know a lot more then.

3. Kansas (5-1, 4): The Jayhawks cruised right along with a title in the CBE Classic and a blowout win over UNC Asheville.

4. Duke (6-1, 5): Grayson Allen left a game because his foot was bothering him and it looks like none of the three injured freshmen will be available against Michigan State on Tuesday. We won’t know just how good Duke is for a while longer.

5. North Carolina (7-0, 6): There’s an argument to be made that North Carolina has been the most impressive team in the country this season. They haven’t won a game by fewer than 15 points yet.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBC Sports Top 25

6. Gonzaga (6-0, 8): The Zags did what we expected them to do, cruising to a title in the Advocare Invitational. It was more difficult against Iowa State than it should have been.

7. Xavier (6-0, 12): The Musketeers are starting to fly a bit under the radar. Their 22-point win over Northern Iowa on Saturday is better than you may realize.

8. Baylor (6-0, 15): The Bears are the only team in the country with four top 40 KenPom wins. they deserve this ranking for now. We’ll see if they can keep this thing rolling all year long.

9. Creighton (6-0, 16): The Bluejays look like one of the nation’s most potent offensive teams once again.

10. Virginia (6-0, 10): The Wahoos, on the other hand, are the nation’s most stingy defensive team.

11. UCLA (8-0, 13)
12. Indiana (5-1, 3)
13. Louisville (5-1, 9)
14. Purdue (5-1, 19)
15. Saint Mary’s (5-0, 21)
16. Wisconsin (5-2, 17)
17. Rhode Island (5-1, 20)
18. South Carolina (6-0, NR)
19. Syracuse (4-1, 14)
20. Maryland (7-0, 22)
21. Cincinnati (5-1, 23)
22. Iowa State (5-1, NR)
23. Michigan (5-1, 22)
24. Butler (6-0, NR)
25. Arizona (5-1, 11)

DROPPED OUT: No. 7 Oregon, No. 18 Virginia Tech, No. 24 Dayton
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 19 South Carolina, No. 22 Iowa State, No. 25 Butler

College Basketball Talk’s Top 25: We have a new No. 1 team in America

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - NOVEMBER 14:  Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats goes up for a shot against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on November 14, 2016 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images
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1. Villanova (5-0, Last Week: No. 2): The Wildcats went 4-0 this week. Not only did they go on the road and beat Purdue but they also went down to the Charleston Classic and swept through that tournament with relative ease. I’m not sure they’re the best team in the country but it’s hard to argue against their résumé.

2. Kentucky (4-0, 4): The win over Michigan State sounds good, but the Spartans aren’t actually all that good this season, at least not right now. A 21-point win over the Spartans isn’t a season-defining win this year.

3. Indiana (3-0, 5): The Hoosiers smoked two more hapless opponents this week. I’m not totally sold that this team is a top five team just yet, but they did beat Kansas on a neutral court and Kansas beat Duke on a neutral court. So here we are.

4. Kansas (2-1, 6): They’re still my pick to win the national title, even if I came away more impressed with Duke after Kansas beat them.

5. Duke (4-1, 1): All I need to say about the Blue Devils is right here.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBCSports.com

6. North Carolina (4-0, 7): They’ve steam-rolled a bunch of teams they should steam-roll. With the Maui Invitational starting this week, we should know enough about the Tar Heels come Thanksgiving.

7. Oregon (2-1, 3): Ditto for the Ducks, who lost at Baylor by 17 points but who are still playing without their all-american Dillon Brooks. He’s expected to be in the lineup Monday for their Maui opener.

8. Gonzaga (3-0, 9): Gonzaga’s win over San Diego State is going to look a lot better on paper in March than it actually was, as the Aztecs are banged up.

9. Louisville (3-0, 10): Undefeated. Untested.

10. Virginia (3-0, 8): I dropped UVA two spots with the news of Austin Nichols’ dismissal. I’m not ready to drop them farther than that yet, not until I see what Tony Bennett can do with these guys.

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11. Arizona (3-0, 11)
12. Xavier (5-0, 14)
13. UCLA (3-0, 13)
14. Syracuse (3-0, 17)
15. Baylor (3-0, NR)
16. Creighton (4-0, 19)
17. Wisconsin (2-1, 12)
18. Virginia Tech (3-0, 18)
19. Purdue (2-1, 16)
20. Rhode Island (4-1, 22)
21. Saint Mary’s (3-0, 23)
22. Michigan (4-0, UR)
23. Cincinnati (3-1, 20)
24. Dayton (2-1, 21)
25. Maryland (4-0, 25)

DROPPED OUT: No. 15 Michigan State, No. 24 Florida State

NEW ADDITIONS: No. 15 Baylor, No. 22 Michigan

Villanova freshman dealing with NCAA issue

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The prize of Villanova’s 2016 recruiting class has hit a snag with the NCAA.

Wildcats coach Jay Wright said Omari Spellman, a top-20 recruit, will not play in games with the team on its foreign trip to Spain as there is a question regarding when his ninth-grade year began, according to ESPN’s Dana O’Neil.

Spellman is academically eligible and cleared for practice, but cannot play in games while the issue is clarified, Wright said.

The issue isn’t a new one for Spellman as it was investigated by the Ohio High School Athletic Association when he moved from New York to Ohio. The 6-foot-9 forward attended two high schools in New York. Upon transferring to the second, he was re-classified from a freshman to an eighth grader.

Villanova’s title defense certainly won’t rest on Spellman’s eligibility given how much returns from last year’s national championship team, but his presence would certainly bolster their chances, especially in the interior with Daniel Ochefu graduating.

Video: Wildcats make it the “Blue And White House”

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Villanova’s title last month gave the Wildcats the opportunity to visit with the President of the United States on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

“It is the Blue and White House today,” President Barack Obama said, “because we’re giving it up for the 2016 NCAA champion Villanova Wildcats.”

The Wildcats were customarily honored by the President on Tuesday for their 77-74 title game win over North Carolina that featured Kris Jenkins’ now-legendary 3-pointer at the buzzer.

“It might be maybe the best title game of all-time,” Obama said. “Just the last few seconds could be a documentary.”

The President mentioned Marcus Paige’s circus shot that tied the game shot seconds before Jenkins’ game-winner.

“A lot of teams would have had their spirit broken,” Obama said. “The wildcats, they took control. They responded.”

That response was Jenkins’ 3 as time expired to place himself in the game’s lore with perhaps the best finish ever for an NCAA championship game.

“That was a good shot,” Obama deadpanned. “It was like a Christian Laettner shot, it was like a Jimmy V(alvano) running up and down the court shot. Charles Barkley apparently jumped out of his seat, which he doesn’t do very often these days.”

Villanova also presented the 44th President with a No. 44 jersey that the team used on Dec. 7, 2015, at Pearl Harbor against Oklahoma.

“This is a great day for Villanova University,” coach Jay Wright said.

Wright didn’t get out of the day without a goodnatured needling from the President.

“Best-dressed man in college basketball,” Obama said. “The George Clooney of coaches.”

The President also noted that Vice President Joe Biden picked ‘Nova to win it all before the tournament.

“This team possessed something that the coaches preached since day one,” Obama said, “and that’s attitude.”

 

Villanova’s Jenkins and Hart to gauge NBA interest

Villanova guard Josh Hart (3) shoots in front of Georgetown forward Isaac Copeland (11) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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Fresh off a national championship, Villanova’s junior duo of Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins will submit their names to the NBA draft without immediately hiring an agent, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Joe Juliano.
The pair, who were integral in the Wildcats’ run to the title, have Villanova coach Jay Wright’s “blessing,” Juliano wrote.
Jenkins, the 6-foot-6 forward who hit the all-time classic game-winner against North Carolina, averaged 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game last season while shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from 3-point range. Hart, a six-foot-five guard, put up 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game and shot 51.3 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from distance.
Neither are right now projected to be first-round picks, and it would seem that both are likely to go through the process and return to the Wildcats given their less-than-stellar draft projection, though it only takes one good workout to change scouts’ perceptions. Hart is definitely the more intriguing NBA prospect heading into this spring.

Still, at this point, it seems likely that the pair will return to help Villanova in its title defense.

Villanova’s Jenkins day-to-day with right knee sprain

Villanova forward Kris Jenkins (2) moves around Delaware forward Barnett Harris in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Villanova, Pa. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
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No. 17 Villanova’s win over Delaware Tuesday night came with a price, as junior forward Kris Jenkins injured his right knee during the first half of the 78-48 victory. Wednesday afternoon the school announced that an MRI as revealed that Jenkins suffered a sprain in the knee, and his status is day-to-day.

Jenkins is averaging 10.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game on the season, and he’s emerged as a key player alongside senior Daniel Ochefu in the Villanova front court.

The Wildcats won’t play again until December 28 against Big Five rival Penn, but two days after that they open Big East play against No. 6 Xavier. The Musketeers don’t lack for depth in the front court, led by Jalen Reynolds and James Farr, so having a healthy Jenkins for that game is of high importance.

“We’re relieved and thrilled for Kris that this is not as serious as we feared it might be last night,” Wright said in the release. “Kris has worked extremely hard and is an important part of our front court. Our Team Physician, Dr. Mike Duncan, and Head Athletic Trainer, Jeff Pierce, will continue to evaluate Kris’ progress as we look forward to a busy week when we return from Christmas break.”