There are a lot of reasons Villanova won last season's NCAA Tournament -- among them the fact that the Wildcats had the consensus national player of the year and three other top-35 picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Simply put, they were more talented than many acknowledged. But a purely basketball-thing that helped Villanova flourish is how Jay Wright's team could destroy opponents from the 3-point line. The Wildcats shot 40.1 percent from beyond the arc on the season and averaged 11.6 makes per game.
They were absolutely deadly.
And now they're doing it again.
Villanova took 35 3-pointers Wednesday at DePaul, made 15 and won 86-74 to improve to 17-4 overall, 8-0 in the Big East and maintain its No. 17 ranking in the Top 25 And 1. In the game before that, the Wildcats took 42, made 17 and beat Seton Hall 80-52. In the game before that, they were 12-of-26 from beyond the arc in an 80-72 win at Butler. In the game before that, they were 15-of-34 from beyond the arc in an 85-75 win over Xavier. In the game before that, they were 12-of-27 from beyond the arc in a 90-78 win at Creighton.
Add it up, and Villanova is shooting 43.3 percent from 3-point range in its past five games while averaging 14.2 makes per contest. That's the main reason the Wildcats' offensive-efficiency rating is now the eighth-best in the nation. It's also why Villanova is on a nine-game winning streak and currently projected to win an outright Big East regular-season title for the fifth time in a six-year span.
Thursday's Top 25 And 1
|The Vols' 19-1 record features nine wins over top-100 KenPom teams -- most notably victories over Gonzaga and Louisville. UT will take a 15-game winning streak into Saturday's game at Texas A&M.||--||25-11|
|The Cavaliers are 9-1 vs. top-100 KenPom teams with the lone loss coming by a bucket at Duke. Virginia will take a three-game winning streak into Saturday's game with Miami.||--||25-8|
|The Zags have won 10 straight since losing consecutive games to Tennessee and North Carolina. Gonzaga's resume features five wins over top-55 KenPom teams - most notably a neutral-court win over Duke at the Maui Invitational.||--||31-6|
|Duke improved to 11-2 vs. top-100 KenPom teams via Monday's win at Notre Dame. The Blue Devils will take a four-game winning streak into Saturday's game with St. John's.||--||27-9|
|Michigan's resume features 12 wins over top-100 KenPom teams and zero sub-10 losses. The Wolverines will take a three-game winning streak into Friday's game at Iowa.||--||18-16|
|The Spartans' 13-game winning streak was snapped Sunday at Purdue. Michigan State is 12-3 vs. top-100 KenPom teams with zero sub-15 losses.||--||21-13|
|The Wildcats' seven-game winning streak features wins over Kansas, Mississippi State and Auburn. Kentucky is 7-3 vs. top-100 KenPom teams with zero sub-65 losses.||--||22-12|
|Nevada's resume features seven wins over top-100 KenPom teams with the lone loss coming at New Mexico. The Wolf Pack will take a six-game winning streak into Saturday's game with Boise State.||--||22-11|
|The Tar Heels are 8-1 in their past nine games with wins over Virginia Tech and NC State. UNC is 9-4 vs. top-100 KenPom teams with zero sub-35 losses.||--||20-13|
|The Golden Eagles extended their winning streak to eight games with Wednesday's victory at Butler. Marquette is 11-3 vs. top-100 KenPom teams with zero sub-50 losses.||--||29-7|
|The Hokies won at Miami on Wednesday to improve to 6-3 vs. top-100 KenPom teams. Two of Virginia Tech's three losses are to teams ranked in the top 10 of the Top 25 And 1.||--||19-15|
|The Red Raiders are 8-4 vs. top-100 KenPom teams with zero sub-45 losses. Texas Tech will take a two-game winning streak into Saturday's game at Kansas.||--||16-16|
|The Cougars have won five straight games since losing at Temple. Houston is 6-1 vs. top-100 KenPom teams heading into Thursday's game with Temple.||--||33-4|
|The Cardinals have won six straight games since losing at Pitt in OT. Louisville is 9-5 vs. top-100 KenPom teams with zero sub-75 losses.||--||4-28|
|The Jayhawks lost at Texas on Tuesday and are just 4-4 since losing Udoka Azubuike to a season-ending hand injury. Kansas is 1-5 on the road.||--||28-8|
|The Terrapins snapped their two-game losing streak Tuesday with a double-digit win over Northwestern. Maryland is 9-5 vs. top-100 KenPom teams with zero sub-80 losses.||--||22-13|
|The Wildcats have won nine consecutive games since losing at Kansas. Villanova is 10-3 vs. top-100 KenPom teams with one sub-100 loss.||--||17-17|
|Lindell Wigginton scored a season-high 28 points Wednesday in Iowa State's win over West Virginia. The Cyclones have only lost three times since Wigginton returned from a foot injury just before Christmas.||--||19-14|
|The Tigers won at Texas A&M on Wednesday to extend their winning streak to 10 games. LSU is 9-3 vs. top-100 KenPom teams with zero sub-80 losses.||--||14-19|
|NC State's resume features five wins over top-100 KenPom teams and just one sub-15 loss. Four of the Wolfpack's five losses are to teams also ranked in the Top 25 And 1.||--||23-11|
|The Bulls are 4-2 vs. top-105 KenPom teams with zero additional losses. Buffalo will take a two-game winning streak into Friday's game at Bowling Green.||--||15-17|
|The Boilermakers are 8-1 in their past nine games with wins over Michigan State, Iowa and Wisconsin. Five of Purdue's six losses are to top-35 KenPom teams.||--||29-6|
|The Wildcats' five-game winning streak was snapped Saturday by a Texas A&M team that's 1-5 in the SEC. KSU is 11-3 in games in which Dean Wade plays heading into its weekend game at Oklahoma State.||--||26-10|
|The Bulldogs are 8-4 vs. top-100 KenPom teams with one sub-100 loss. Four of Mississippi State's five losses are by five-or-fewer points.||--||21-13|
|The Hawkeyes have dropped two straight games - most recently Sunday's game at Minnesota. Iowa is 9-5 vs. top-100 KenPom teams with zero sub-60 losses||--||19-14|
|The Badgers won at Nebraska on Tuesday to improve to 10-5 vs. top-100 KenPom teams. The only sub-100 loss on the resume is a single-digit loss at Western Kentucky.||--||20-15|