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March 13, 2008

Hoyas keep Villanova firmly on NCAA bubble

MORE: Rivals.com Daily Bubble Watch | Drive for 65: Forecasting the Field | Play Tourney Pick'em

NEW YORK The waiting game has begun for Villanova.

Top-seeded Georgetown knocked the eighth-seeded Wildcats out of the Big East Tournament with some deadly outside shooting Thursday afternoon. The Hoyas (26-4) set a school record and tied a tournament record with 17 3-pointers on their way to an 82-63 rout in the quarterfinals.

A victory almost certainly would have locked up an NCAA bid for the Wildcats (20-12). Instead, they now sit precariously on the bubble with three days left before Selection Sunday.

"It's definitely going to be agonizing," Villanova forward Dante Cunningham said. "It's all up to the (NCAA selection) committee."

Villanova moved up to 50th in the RPI after beating Syracuse in the first round Wednesday and also boasts wins over Connecticut, Pittsburgh and West Virginia. But Villanova coach Jay Wright didn't spend much time pointing out the strengths of his team's resume in the post-game news conference. Wright is resigned to the idea that his team could just as easily land in the NIT as the NCAAs.

"If you are going to pick the best 65 teams, I really believe we are one of the best 65," Wright said. "However, we know it really doesn't come down to that. There is a lot more to it, so you've got to accept that. At this point, we have put it out of our hands and we have to take our medicine. We will be happy to play wherever we are."

Wright undoubtedly will be keeping an eye on the Pac-10 tournament in Los Angeles, which likely will have the biggest impact on the Wildcats' future. The Pac-10 has three bubble teams: Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon.

As for the game, Georgetown didn't get a single point from star center Roy Hibbert, who fouled out after playing just 14 minutes. But the Hoyas' 3-point barrage more than made up for that. The Hoyas hit seven of their first eight 3-pointers four coming from Jonathan Wallace on their way to building a 23-12 lead.

The Hoyas led 40-29 at halftime, but Villanova opened the second half with an 11-0 run. Then, after trading a series of baskets, Georgetown answered with a 14-2 run that featured two 3-pointers from Jessie Sapp and another from Austin Freeman for a 62-52 lead. Sapp later hit his sixth and final 3-pointer to extend that lead to 73-58 with 3:40 left.

The Hoyas finished 17-of-28 (60.7 percent) from 3-point range. Those 17 three-pointers tied a tourney mark set by West Virginia in an 82-79 first-round win over Providence last season.

MORE: Rivals.com Daily Bubble Watch | Drive for 65: Forecasting the Field | Play Tourney Pick'em

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