Villanova has lost consecutive conference games for the first time since the Big East conference realignment in 2013. That’s 104 games.
The powerhouse of the Big East looks like they can be had once March rolls around. The defending national champions are still dangerous. Their lack of scoring depth, however, is beginning to hurt them.
The Wildcats have an experienced 1-2 punch on offense with seniors Phil Booth and Eric Paschall. But their third scoring option, sophomore Collin Gillespie, has reached double figures only twice in the last five games. The lack of a consistent third option on offense has contributed to their recent struggles.
If the best defense is a good offense, what happens when that offense begins to falter? This is the dilemma head coach Jay Wright finds himself with at a crucial point in the season. The Big East tournament is less than a month away.
Villanova struggled to contain Georgetown Wednesday night, the Hoyas shot 50.9% from the field. The offense was once again led by Booth and Paschall with 26 and 16 points, respectively. Overall, the Wildcats only shot 38.5% from the field. Georgetown came away with an impressive 85-73 upset win.
In their previous game, Sunday night at St. John’s, Villanova turned the ball over 16 times. They allowed the Red Storm to rally from a 17-point hole and pull off the 71-65 win, another upset.
In both losses, Villanova has looked a step slow on both sides of the ball. St. John’s outplayed them in the second half. That carried over into their game against Georgetown, the Hoyas were up by as much as 19 at one point.
Villanova’s two-game losing streak has them now looking up at Marquette in the Big East standings.
These are still the two best teams in the conference and they’ll hear their names called on Selection Sunday. The Wildcats, despite the roster turnover they dealt with after last season, are still dangerous. But if Villanova plans on making a deep run through March, they’ll need to show more than what we’re seeing currently.
Wright is one of the game’s best coaches and there’s enough time for the Wildcats to right the ship. Booth and Paschall are the anchors, but this team needs consistent contributions down the stretch from their role players. They have four games left on the schedule, including a showdown with Marquette and a season finale against Seton Hall.