City 6 Weekly Awards: Will anyone be dancing in March?

986301.jpg

City 6 Weekly Awards: Will anyone be dancing in March?

In each of the last 35 seasons, at least one of Philadelphias six Division I men's college basketball teams has made the NCAA tournament.

Could that streak get snapped this March?

After another week filled with losses, its looking more and more plausible that Philly could indeed get shut out of the Big Dance for the first time since 1977 which is a surprising possibility considering the big expectations coming into the season.

Lets recap the mostly disappointing week with our weekly awards and power rankings.

Player of the week
Saint Josephs sharpshooter Langston Galloway has been struggling with his shooting for part of the season.

Not this week.

In two games for the Hawks, Galloway shot a blistering 58 percent (11 for 20) from three-point rage and scored at least 20 points in both contests a loss to VCU on Thursday and a win over Penn on Saturday.

Galloway also brought down 12 rebounds, including nine against the Quakers, and seven assists on the week.

Game of the week
Galloways 22-point outing wasnt enough for St. Joes in a 92-86 midweek loss to VCU but the game was still the most thrilling one of the week, if not the year.

Despite being without a key player in Halil Kanacevic (who has missed three straight contests because of a death in his family), the undermanned Hawks were not overmatched against the nationally ranked Rams, who lead the nation in steals.

It looked like St. Joes would be able to pull off the signature win when it held a very late four-point lead but collapsed in the final seconds and then ran out of gas in overtime. Still, the Hawks made a lot of big plays and adapted well to VCUs frenetic style in a tough road environment.

Play of the week
Local hoops fans certainly know that La Salle has a bunch of high-flyers on its team and now a lot more people know, too.

In a 72-70 home win over Dayton on Wednesday (see story), the Explorers finished four consecutive possessions with dunks, three of them coming from Ramon Galloway.

That was good enough to land a spot on that nights SportsCenter Top 10, which you can watch here.

Quote of the week
I think maybe youre overrating us. Yeah, I think so. Were not as good as people maybe think we are. Temple head coach Fran Dunphy, after an 81-78 home loss to St. Bonaventure on Saturday (see story).

Stat of the week
Both La Salle and St. Joes are averaging over seven three-pointers made per game. The Hawks are 45th in Division I in the category (7.8) and the Explorers rank 74th (7.3).

Games to watch this week
If you want to get a live look at some of the best teams in the nation this week, the Wells Fargo Center is the place to be as Louisville faces Villanova on Tuesday and Syracuse plays Nova there four days later.

Another nationally ranked program homes to town Wednesday as La Salle hosts Butler in what figures to be a very exciting Atlantic 10 matchup at Tom Gola Arena. Brad Stevens red-hot Bulldogs play another Philly team Saturday when they host Temple.

Speaking of Temple, the Owls will look to go 2-0 in the Big 5 on Wednesday when Fran Dunphy meets his old Penn team at the Liacouras Center.

Other big games this week include Xavier vs. St. Joes on Saturday and La Salle at VCU the same day. And lets not forget Fridays Big 5 Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Palestra, with former St. Joes star Marvin OConnor among the inductees being honored.

Power rankings
1. Saint Josephs (10-6): The Hawks definitely should have beaten VCU but a road loss against a nationally ranked team is still nothing to be ashamed about. And responding by routing a Penn team that rarely gets blown out was impressive, especially without Kanacevic. The Hawks have two home games this week (against St. Bonaventure on Wednesday and Xavier on Saturday) and need to win both to show they belong in the upper echelon of the Atlantic 10.

2. Temple (12-5): The Owls had a rough week, barely surviving a below-.500 George Washington team before losing to Saint Bonaventure at home for the first time ever. Dunphys claim that his team might be overrated could be true, but the fact that the Owls beat Syracuse and nearly beat Kansas shows the potential is there. We could learn a lot about this group when they head to historic Hinkle Field House to take on a Butler team that just knows how to win.

3. La Salle (12-5): The Explorers midweek win over a strong Dayton squad was a good one and their Saturday loss to a Xavier team that never loses at home is not a bad one. But to get on the NCAA tourney bubble, La Salle needs a signature victory. And this is the week to get one as it faces both of the Atlantic 10 newcomers-turned Atlantic 10 favorites in Butler and VCU.

4. Villanova (11-7): The Wildcats also had a rough week, allowing Pittsburgh to score the final 15 points in a 58-43 loss Wednesday (see story) and then dropping a 69-66 decision to Catholic Seven comrade Providence on Saturday. Now the Wildcats have three straight games against nationally ranked foes, traveling to Notre Dame on Jan. 30 following Louisville and Syracuses visits to the Wells Fargo Center this week.

5. Drexel (6-11): The Dragons played only one game this week and it was a success, as they beat William & Mary on the road to snap a three-game losing streak. Drexel, which is still battling injury problems, should be able to now go on a three-game winning streak. The Dragons take on Hofstra on the road on Wednesday and host Georgia State on Saturday both of which are relatively easy matchups.

6. Penn (3-14): After eight straight losses, the Quakers finally won the 1,700th game in program history by virtue of a 54-53 victory over New Jersey Institute of Technology on Thursday. Despite that win, however, the Quakers turned the ball over a season-high 26 times. And two days later, they shot a woeful 4 for 21 from three-point range in a 20-point loss to St. Joes. The Quakers play their final non-conference game and final game in the month of January against Temple on Wednesday.

Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 76, Seton Hall 46

ap-josh-hart-steal.jpg
The Associated Press

Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 76, Seton Hall 46

BOX SCORE

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Back at No. 1, Villanova looked every bit like the best team in the country.

The Wildcats — who earlier in the day regained their top spot in the rankings after a week at No. 3 — demolished Seton Hall, 76-46, in a Big East matchup Monday night at the Pavilion.

The win was the fourth straight for Villanova (18-1, 6-1), the 1,700th in program history, and the 47th straight at the Pavilion, setting an all-time record. The previous mark of 46 was established between January 2007 and 2011. 

Leading by 13 at halftime, Villanova put its foot on the gas to start the second half, jumping out to a 53-26 advantage on a Kris Jenkins three-pointer followed by a baseline slam from Donte DiVincenzo.

The hot-shooting Wildcats continued to pour it on from there, with Jenkins hitting a couple of more tough threes to put Villanova up by a whopping 65-31 margin with 10:33 left.

Seton Hall (12-6, 2-4) closed a three-game road trip with losses in all three games.

Big men on campus
Jenkins led the way with 16 points on 4-for-6 shooting from behind the arc. He joined Jalen Brunson (13 points), Josh Hart (11 points), Eric Paschall (10 points) and DiVincenzo (10 points) in double figures.

All seven of the players in head coach Jay Wright’s seven-man rotation finished with at least eight points as Darryl Reynolds had eight points and nine rebounds and Mikal Bridges had eight points and seven rebounds.

Desi Rodriguez was the only Seton Hall player to hit double figures with 15 points.

By the numbers
• Villanova shot 47.4 percent from the field and 46.2 percent (12 for 26) from three-point range, while Seton Hall shot 29.1 and 25 percent.

• The Wildcats had nine steals and scored 27 points off 16 Seton Hall turnovers. 

• Villanova only missed one of its 11 free throw attempts.

First half
Seton Hall led 5-4 before Villanova went on a 13-0 run to take control, capped by a fantastic one-handed putback slam from Reynolds. 

The Wildcats extended their lead to 25-7 as Seton Hall struggled to make anything. Consecutive threes from Rodriguez gave the Pirates a glimmer of life late in the first half, but the Wildcats still took a comfortable 36-23 lead into halftime.

Hall trouble
The Pirates have more victories over Villanova than any Big East team since the new version of the league was launched in 2013, beating the Wildcats three times. One of those wins was in last year’s Big East Tournament title game at Madison Square Garden, Villanova’s final loss in 2015-16 before its magical run to the national title.

Seton Hall has had far less success at the Pavilion, however, with their last win there coming all the way back in 1994. 

Simmons in the house
Sixers rookie Ben Simmons, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, was on hand to see the No. 1 team in the country. He sat courtside and took photos with fans at halftime. 

Up next
Villanova returns to action Saturday afternoon vs. Providence at the Wells Fargo Center.

Seton Hall goes home to welcome St. John’s on Sunday. 

Villanova returns to top of AP poll after a week away

Villanova returns to top of AP poll after a week away

It didn't take long for Villanova to get back to the top of the AP top 25.

A week, to be exact.

The 'Cats jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 in this week's AP poll, edging out No. 2 Kansas by just 16 total voting points. Villanova had 1,580 total points compared to the 1,562 total points the No. 2 Jayhawks received from voters.

In a twist, the 16-1 Jayhawks actually had more first-place votes than the 17-1 Wildcats. Kansas received 32 first-place votes compared to Villanova's 28 first-place votes. But total votes are the deciding factor, so, advantage: Wildcats.

UCLA hopped up to No. 3, Gonzaga jumped up to No. 4 and Kentucky checked in at No. 5 to round out this week's top five.

Baylor, the No. 1 team in the land last week, fell to No. 6 after it was blown out by No. 7 West Virginia.

Beginning on Dec. 5, Villanova was No. 1 for five straight weeks before falling at No. 13 Butler on Jan. 5 and seeing a 20-game win streak come to an end.

Jay Wright's Wildcats blew past No. 22 Xavier and St. John's last week, but will face another Big East test when 12-5 Seton Hall visits The Pavilion on Monday night. The last time Villanova and Seton Hall met, the Pirates upset the Wildcats at MSG in the final of last season's Big East Tournament.

The Wildcats' schedule this week is closed out with a visit from Providence on Saturday afternoon.