Take a look at your NCAA bracket. Maybe you have Duke winning it all. Maybe you have North Carolina or Kansas or Gonzaga or Arizona or UCLA.
But you probably don’t have Villanova – and perhaps you should.
What are the Wildcats’ chances of repeating as national champions?
“I think great,” FOX Sports college basketball analyst Donny Marshall said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Everyone talks about them being too small. They talk about their lack of depth. But it seems like those two things are the two things that have made them so good. Teams are constantly trying to beat them up instead of playing their own game. Coaches are constantly trying to continue to sub guys in – eight, nine, 10 guys – instead of getting down to what Villanova does so well and trying to stop that.”
Yes, despite going 31-3 – and despite getting the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament – Villanova is somehow flying under the radar. Granted, Nova relies heavily on Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson and Kris Jenkins, who are all averaging more than 31 minutes per game, but it’s hard to argue with the Wildcats’ success. They’re 66-8 (.892) over the last two seasons.
“They’re mystifying in a way because you think, ‘Okay, when are they going to get tired? When are their guys going to foul out?’” Marshall said. “And they just don’t. I think a lot of that is because of Josh Hart, (who) is my National Player of the Year. I just think he does so much.”
Hart is averaging a team-high 18.9 points and 6.5 rebounds for Villanova. He’s also second on the team in assists (3.1) and steals (1.6).
Interestingly, Marshall, who played for Connecticut from 1991-95, likened Villanova to the Huskies’ women’s team.
“I’m not saying this just because I’m a UConn alum, but they are the closest thing (to the UConn women’s team that we’ve seen in men’s college basketball),” Marshall said. “We know that great women’s teams are fundamentally sound. They’re the closest thing to like the most fundamentally sound women’s team. I said that the other day, and they’re like, ‘You’re comparing Villanova to a women’s team?’ I’m like, ‘Well, the greatest women’s team of all time.’”
And what does that mean, exactly?
“What I mean by that is they get you up in the air, they’re shot-faking you to death, you’re going for steals that aren’t there, they’re knocking these shots down when you gamble, and they have one of the best point guards that no one is talking about in all of America in Jalen Brunson because he’s not flashy,” Marshall explained. “But I really believe they can get back there and win it again – and their success is not predicated on just making threes like it was in the past. They can beat you in so many different ways.”