This season has been far from normal for Villanova, who has dealt with both injuries and early setbacks to mid-major opponents. But they seemed to have found a rhythm in Big East play, now 4-2 and 11-6 overall.
After a four-game win streak, the Wildcats have lost 2 of the last 3 games, including an 87-74 loss to Marquette on Monday. The good news is that their resume is still in good shape for the NCAA Tournament but they have a chance at the ultimate resume-building win this weekend at home.
Their opponent is UConn, the current No. 1 team in the country via the AP top-25 rankings. At 16-2 and 6-1, they're looking like the team to beat in the Big East. After a loss to Seton Hall, the Huskies have since won six straight games, including a 62-48 victory at home against No. 18 Creighton. Tristen Newton had 16 points, while Cam Spencer and Alex Karaban had 13 each.
It's one of two matchups between these teams, with Villanova coming to Connecticut late in February. What the Wildcats don't want to do is get enough losses to where that game becomes a "must win" for them when it comes to the NCAA Tournament. For Coach Kyle Neptune, this is a big opportunity to earn even more goodwill as a young head coach to make national noise.
Here's a look at three specific keys for Villanova to get the big upset of the weekend.