Team of the Week: Villanova
Villanova (13-5, 2-3 Big East)
RPI: 21 (kenpom.com)
CHN Power 50: 32
Strength of Schedule: 8 (overall), 38 (non-conference)
Games last week: W 102-87 vs. then #20 Notre Dame, W 76-69 vs. then #21 Texas
Villanova gets the nod as the team of the week due to their two wins over ranked opponents. They truly needed these home wins in order to improve their NCAA Tournament resume. If you had to pick a player of the week for the Wildcats, it would be freshman guard Scottie Reynolds, who averaged 26.5 points and 5.0 assists per game in the two wins. Reynolds has improved dramatically in the past couple of weeks, a product of head coach Jay Wright imploring him to be more aggressive on the offensive end. After the offensive explosion in the win over the Fighting Irish (‘Nova had failed to score more than 65 points in any of their previous Big East games), the Wildcats held Longhorn freshman Kevin Durant to twelve points Saturday afternoon without the services of senior forward Curtis Sumpter. Sumpter has been battling a nagging hamstring injury, as well as a bone bruise suffered in the Notre Dame win.
Villanova now hits the road for games against Providence and Notre Dame before returning home to take on first place Pittsburgh.
Honorable Mention: Rhode Island (pair of league wins), Virginia Commonwealth (7th and 8th wins in a row), Northern Iowa (Regains MVC lead), Sacred Heart (two big road wins), Vanderbilt (beat #8 Alabama, and road win at Kentucky).