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Villanova stunned by South Florida

We all thought Villanova’s play had already hit its lowest point this season.

It got worse on Tuesday night as South Florida topped the Wildcats, 70-69, in a first-round Big East game.

It was the fifth straight loss for Villanova and the seventh in its last nine games.

You can now consider Villanova in NCAA crisis mode. We all figured the Wildcats were in big trouble with the NCAA after a terrible February. Now they could be on the outside looking in.

So how deep is the Big East? UConn’s Jim Calhoun, whose team needed a late second-half run to beat DePaul, 97-71, earlier in the day stressed how tough the league is.

“Years ago with Billy Curly, Donyell Marshall, Allen Iverson and Kerry Kittles, we had five great teams in the Big East,” Calhoun said. “But I’ve never seen it where every team in the league can beat you.”

Calhoun’s sentiment notwithstanding, Villanova is supposed to crush a team like South Florida, which had lost eight of its previous nine games and has just one player scoring in double figures in Augustus Gilchrist (13.2 ppg).

"We were feeling good coming into this game," said Villanova coach Jay Wright. "This wasn't in the plan...We have to deal with what comes next."

Wright was referring to the NCAA Tournament. Although he said he wasn't paying attention to media reports and opinions about his team's chances, he said there is some concern.

It’s hard to trace where Villanova went wrong this season. There were injuries. Corey Stokes has been hobbled for a while. And center Mouphtaou Yarou missed the second half of Tuesday's game with a possible concussion.

The injuries aside, with two experienced guards in Stokes and Corey Fisher and an equally well-traveled big man in Antonio Pena on the floor, you’d think Villanova would’ve been able to handle a 10-22 South Florida team.

Not this time.

New York Sports