Villanova is a combined 13-18 over the last two seasons with an aggregate Big East record of 8-4. The Wildcats have consistently played one of the nation's toughest schedules over the last two years and have experienced uneven records as a result of that desire to look death in the face and attempt to beat it with a bloody hammer. Based on some early thoughts about the team's 2015 slate, the Wildcats could carry forward this profile into the coming spring, one where the team's conference outlook looks markedly different than its overall capacity.
Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:
February 14: Johns Hopkins; February 21: Penn State; February 24: at Drexel; March 7: at Pennsylvania; March 10: Lehigh; March 14: Maryland; April 3: at Denver
Teams change from season to season -- no doink! -- but Villanova is playing a massively loaded slate in 2015. Over half of the team's opponents next spring finished last season ranked in the top 20 in an averaged survey of mathematic rankings:
|OPPONENT||'14 LAXPOWER RANKING||'14 MASSEY RANKING||'14 KRACH RANKING||AVERAGE|
It's important to remember that Villanova did this on purpose. Against these same opponents in 2014, the Wildcats went 2-6 with an average margin of defeat of just over a goal (excluding the team's loss to Denver in the Big East Tournament, Villanova's average margin of defeat to these seven teams was right around half a goal). This is fun in a how-long-can-I-keep-my-hand-in-the-toaster-oven? kind of way. And considering that these teams dominate the majority of 'Nova's slate (and only one game -- against the Pioneers -- was mandated due to conference affiliation)? The Wildcats will have their hands full for much of 2015.
Then there's the aspect of how these teams appear on the team's slate: The Hopkins-Penn State-Drexel push for Villanova comes in a 10-day stretch in February, forcing the Wildcats to come correct at the sunrise of the season in order to create a little bit of momentum; The Pennsylvania-Lehigh-Maryland spurt comes in a seven-day stretch and almost directly follows the team's opening three-game gauntlet in February. In totem, the Wildcats will face six of these seven teams -- two on the road and four at home -- in just 29 days, averaging a major moment every five days. That's nuts. Just think about this: The Wildcats could play well over its first month of competition and be 1-6 (or something close to it) with its entire Big East reality still in front of them. Good grief.
Wit or Witout?
February 24: at Drexel; March 7: at Pennsylvania
"Philadelphia Angry" is a special kind of angry that best represents itself when neighbors decide that they will unload all of their feelings on each other. It's basically love-as-a-desire-to-maim, and it only makes sense when you realize that Philadelphia has a complicated history with basically everything, including itself.