If either Connecticut or Louisville shows up at Freedom Hall not understanding the magnitude of the game they should be eliminated from at-large consideration. Hate to be so harsh but both teams are essentially at the point where they need to go on a run if they're to make the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies, who have been without head coach Jim Calhoun for the last four games due to health reasons, own just one Top 25 win (Texas) and they've yet to beat anyone of consequence on the road (as a matter of fact they've yet to win a true road game).
Most of the talk surrounding Connecticut's game against top-ranked Texas focused on the fact that it was a good thing the Huskies ended their three-game losing streak on Wednesday night against St. John's. Few people expected the team, currently being run by George Blaney due to Jim Calhoun's leave of absence, to beat the Longhorns despite playing on campus in front of a frenzied crowd. And about 30 seconds into the second half, when one basket was followed by yet another turnover and Texas hoop to make it 44-34, it looked like the game was definitely headed in that direction.
The first Big Monday of the season was supposed to be tipped off with an entertaining affair from the Big East between Villanova and Louisville. With both teams entering the game undefeated in league play there was no reason to think otherwise...until the game got underway. When it was all said and done there were sixty-seven fouls, ninety-four foul shots, forty-four turnovers...and one 36-point performance from Scottie Reynolds. Reynolds scored sixteen points in the final six minutes of the game on Monday night, leading the fourth-ranked Wildcats to a 92-84 victory.
The first "Big Monday" of the season delivers a pair of undefeated teams (in conference play) in the Big East followed by "Bedlam" in the Big 12. Villanova visits Louisville in a game that should prove to be entertaining given the deep backcourts. Villanova will have to deal with a Louisville defense that pressured full-court only to fall into an active 2-3 zone. But they've got plenty of playmakers and perimeter shooters with Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher leading the way. The key for the Cardinals will be to turn the Wildcats over while limiting their own miscues.
Ranking players is more art then science. How do you compare the potential of freshmen with seniors who have already peaked? How much does physical talent come into play versus intangibles and experience? How big a role do numbers play?