VILLANOVA, Pa. (CBS) — Villanova is now the number three team in the nation, but the Wildcats insist their attention isn’t focused on the rankings.
A defeat at the hands of Xavier last week resulted in Kansas taking over the top spot in the country. The Wildcats still control their own destiny in both the Big East and the quest for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. While Jay Wright and his players enjoyed being the number one team in the country, Wright insists that improvement is his biggest concern as the calendar turns to March.
“The number one ranking has never been something that inspires us,” said Wright. “It’s getting better that inspires us, and I think we’re back on that track.”
The Wildcats are 25-4 are appear to be in a strong position to increase their win total Tuesday night at the Pavilion. Villanova will play a DePaul squad that comes to the Main Line with a 9-19 record. The Wildcats will be going for a season sweep of the Blue Demons after rolling to a 27-point win on February 9th.
But Senior Ryan Arcidiacono isn’t putting this one in the win column just yet.
“You can’t take records into account,” Arcidiacono said. “There are so many close games in the Big East. You have to prepare for a team’s best game. We know they’re going to come in here pretty confident and ready to go against us.”
The Wildcats are hoping for a host of memorable accomplishments over the next several weeks. The first step can be taken on Tuesday with a win over DePaul. A victory will clinch the regular season Big East title outright for Villanova. It is a feat Wright and his players would be proud of, but it is something they will enjoy after the Big East and NCAA Tournaments are completed.
“We’re not finished yet,” said Wright. “We still have two games. We’re not even going to think about it or really talk about it until the season’s over. We’ll talk about it very briefly and get on to the Big East Tournament. When the entire season’s over, we talk a lot about it. Regular season championships are very, very important to us.”
The number one ranking was also important to many of the Villanova faithful. For the players, it’s time to move forward, and Archidiacono doesn’t expect opponents to change their approach to a game against Villanova simply because they are no longer the top-ranked team in the country.
“There’s definitely a ton of pressure being number one,” Arcidiacono said. “But there was pressure that we liked. We had to bring it every single day. We knew that every team was going to bring it to us. We still know that. Every team is going to try and come in and kick our butts.”