Sunday, January 15, 2006

Austin Power Outage: #3 'Nova Runs Dry, Can't Mess With #8 Texas, 58-55

by Craig Dimitri

In front of a CBS television audience, #3 Villanova had a chance to carry off a Top Ten scalp, on the road. A victory in Austin would undoubtedly have helped (and might very well have cemented) the Wildcats' chances of being awarded a sufficiently high seed, to stay in Philadelphia for the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, come March.

Alas, it was not to be. Villanova ran out of gas, despite a superb defensive effort, and fell to #8 Texas, 58-55, on Saturday afternoon. It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools, and Texas will presumably visit Philadelphia next year to play at the Wachovia Center.


This game was played on a Saturday the 14th, immediately following a Friday the 13th. While we, of course, laugh at triskadekophobia (the Greek word for fear of the number 13) as a superstition, the basketball gods seem to look at the issue differently, proving that they have a sense of humor. In addition to having the game played immediately after a Friday the 13th, Villanova had the statistical oddity of having three players score 13 points apiece, as the trio led the team in scoring. And Villanova was defeated.

The Wildcats shot a pathetic 27% from the floor (17-62) and 23% (7-30) from beyond the arc. The onus for the low accuracy falls on the senior backcourt of Allan Ray and Randy Foye. Arguably the best starting backcourt duo in the nation, they combined to shoot 7-37 from the floor and 5-23 from three-point range, and each finished with only 13 points. Kyle Lowry matched their 13s with one of his own, on respectable 4-9 shooting, all for two-point buckets.

Villanova is now 12-2 overall, having lost two of their last four contests, after starting the season with ten consecutive victories, virtually all by large margins. Texas, in contrast, is heading in the opposite direction. The Longhorns (14-2) opened the season ranked #2. Texas rattled off eight victories to begin the season, including home wins over then-#13 West Virginia and then-#17 Iowa. However, the Longhorns quickly sank in the polls, due to shellackings from #1 Duke, and less understandably, unranked Tennessee - and both losses coming in Austin, no less. But Texas, now #8, has won six straight contests, including wins @ #4 Memphis and today's victory over the third-ranked Wildcats.

Up Next For the Wildcats

Big East play resumes for Villanova, as the Seton Hall Pirate ship sails into the Pavilion on Tuesday night.

Go Wildcats!

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