Holy hell! You’re probably not going to believe this, but Penn went 2-0 this week (in basketball, not sure about their squash record). The Quakers knocked off a 1-18 Cornell squad on Friday and followed that up with a win over 14-9 Columbia on Saturday.
The Quakers are now 6-13 on the season and 3-2 in conference play. With three less losses than Temple at this point, Penn is on the verge of finally moving out of the basement in these rankings. They’re not quite there yet, but the Owls and the fifth spot in the rankings are within sight.
5. Temple (6-16)
It was yet another frustrating week in Owl country. Temple went 0-2 on a trip to Texas this week, as they lost big to a talented SMU squad on Thursday before falling today to a mediocre Houston squad.
The most consistent program in the city is having a rough year. The Owls are the only team in Division 1 with four players averaging more than 14 points per game, but with a short roster and shaky defense, its been the worst season for the program in a long time.
Temple remains at fifth this week, but with the Quakers breathing down their necks. With a talented Louisville squad this week, followed by another date with SMU, the Owls could find themselves in the bottom of the rankings by next week.
4. Drexel (13-10)
Sorry Drexel fans, but the Dragons are staying put at number four this week. Although the Dragons went 2-0 this week, both wins were against subpar teams (UNCW and James Madison). Although La Salle went 0-2 this week, the strength of opponents for those losses is keeping the Explorers in front of Drexel this week.
As is always the case for Drexel, their tournament hopes will come down to the CAA Tournament. The only way they go dancing is with an automatic bid from their conference tournament.
3. La Salle (12-11)
Don’t look now La Salle, but Drexel is coming for you, in these rankings at least…The Explorers went 0-2 this week, but both losses were to very good teams. La Salle fell on the road to UMass on Wednesday, but then nearly knocked off #13 St. Louis at home on Saturday.
Jordair Jett drove the lane for the game winning layup with 4 seconds remaining to give St. Louis the win, but the Explorers played admirably. Unfortunately for La Salle, playing admirably gets you jack shit, especially in a solid conference like the A-10.
The Explorers have now lost 5 of their last 6 and will have until Saturday before they face Big 5 rival Saint Joseph’s. With the season winding down, it’s looking like the Explorers tournament hopes will ride on the A-10 Tournament.
2. Saint Joseph’s (16-7)
Saint Joseph’s didn’t look too great against the stellar defense of St. Louis on Wednesday, but the Hawks rebounded with a nice win over VCU and their “Havoc” defense last night.
Saint Joseph’s looks to be meshing well right now, as they get solid contributions from their key players. The Hawks still need to work on improving their free throw shooting drastically, and try to find a reliable bench piece or two to give their starters a breather here and there, but this team definitely has potential.
1. Villanova (21-2)
Villanova crossed the 20-win plateau this week and Jay Wright picked up his 400th win in his coaching career, as the Wildcats went 2-0. The Wildcats dominated Xavier on Monday and followed that up with a commanding victory over Seton Hall on Friday.
The sixth-ranked Wildcats continue to impress with their ridiculous depth and scoring ability. At this point they’re just fighting for a top seed in the tournament. They can help their cause with that by avenging a massive loss to Creighton earlier this season when they have their rematch with the Bluejays a week from tonight.
By: Kyle Babcock
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