For the fourth time in the past four days, a Big East team ranked in the AP top 10 has been upset in conference play. Unranked Connecticut, playing its second game under coach Jim Calhoun since he returned from a medical leave, turned the trick by upending the No. 3 Wildcats, 84-75, at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.
The Huskies (15-11, 5-8 Big East) were coming off a 60-48 home loss to Cincinnati that Calhoun described as "embarrassing," but they came out with some fire and snapped a six-game conference road losing streak. Some had begun to suspect Villanova (22-3, 11-2) might be vulnerable because of a leaky defense, and that proved true.
UConn shot sixty percent from the field in the second half, hitting its first seven field goal attempts to take a 55-48 lead. The Wildcats had trouble containing the aggressive play of Huskies guards Kemba Walker and Jerome Dyson. Connecticut went to the foul line 44 times, making 35, compared to a 16-of-20 figure for Villanova in free throws.
Walker had a spectacular game with 29 points, eight rebounds and three assists, and Dyson added 15 points and six assists. Stanley Robinson had 10 points and nine rebounds but also committed a school-record 10 turnovers. Scottie Reynolds led Villanova with 18 points, and Corey Fisher added 14, but the Wildcats shot only 40.6 percent from the field and were outrebounded by a whopping 36-22 difference.
The latest upset followed a loss on Friday by No. 8 West Virginia at Pittsburgh, No. 5 Syracuse's loss at home to Louisville on Sunday and No. 10 Georgetown's loss Sunday at Rutgers. Not only that but St. John's pulled an upset Sunday night at Notre Dame. Imagine what kind of unpredictable action the conference tournament might bring.