Final Score: Louisville 68, Villanova 54
Player of the Game: It's difficult to give it to any one player on Louisville because their scoring was so balanced, so I'll just give the award to Rick Pitino for getting the most out of his players and out-coaching Jay.
Villanova Player of the Game: Again it's difficult to choose, but for obvious different reasons. I'll give it to Malcolm Grant for his 11 points and 3 assists.
Recap: I could blame the loss on Jay Wright for his questionable lineups and rotations, or on Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher for being late to the shoot-around, or on any number of other reasons, but the truth of the matter is that Louisville is just a far better right now. Villanova fans finally saw Malcolm Grant get extended playing time; however it wasn't the way they envisioned it, coming at the expense of Corey Fisher and Scottie Reynolds. Jay Wright probably should have played Corey Fisher more minutes, but ultimately it wouldn't have made much of a difference. Louisville is playing some of the best basketball in the country right now, and has a legitimate chance to win a national championship. Although it was never really a close game, the Villanova players shouldn't get too down on themselves over this loss because it was against a great team in an extremely hostile environment. The Wildcats have two winnable games left on the schedule vs. South Florida and at Providence. If they win both, Villanova will finish at .500 (9-9) in the Big East. That is not so bad, and with one or two wins in the Big East Tournament they may still have a chance for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
I'd love to go a little more in-depth in the post-game analysis, but I can't since a certain network (I'll give you a hint: it starts with a C and ends with an S... and there's a B in the middle) switched to the UCLA/Arizona game in the middle of the second half in most areas. I could understand them switching to the more competitive game when there was less than two minutes remaining, and it was clear that Villanova wasn't coming back. It was an insult to the players to cut the broadcast at that point in the game. At the 13 minute mark, with a 13 point deficit, it was way too early to give up on the game. Malcolm Grant already proved that anything could happen with his late-game heroics in the LSU game. If you say you're gonna broadcast a certain game, then broadcast it.
Next Game: Wed. Mar. 5, 8:00 pm, vs. South Florida, at the Pavilion