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Villanova’s win at Connecticut keeps it within reach of the NCAA tournament

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(AP)

Villanova would probably be left out of the NCAA tournament if Selection Sunday was this weekend, but the Wildcats took a big step toward improving their resume by going on the road and winning at Connecticut on Saturday.

Prior to beating the Huskies 70-61, Villanova's entire case for inclusion in March Madness was based entirely on one good week at the end of January in which it upset Louisville and Syracuse. Both were ranked in the top five at the time.

Fortunately, the time for handing out invitations is still weeks away and Villanova (16-10, 7-6 Big East) is in position to earn an at-large bid (if it doesn't pull off a major surprise by winning the conference tournament), but it's going to need to engineer a few more upsets to make it happen.

The Wildcats have five regular season games remaining, three of which are against ranked teams at the top of the conference – No. 18 Marquette, No. 16 Pittsburgh and No. 15 Georgetown. If they can win a couple of those games and also beat Rutgers and Seton Hall with a strong showing in the conference tournament, it might be enough.

This is the Big East after all. There is a lot of respect for the conference and teams with double-digit losses from the league are often viewed differently than teams with similar records from other conferences.

Villanova put together a seven-game winning streak in December and early January against the weakest part of its schedule. It has been painfully inconsistent the rest of the season, but teams with so-so-resumes have won over the selection committee in the past with strong finishes and hot streaks. If the Wildcats can make that happen, they might have a shot.

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