Dec. 2, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The two national college basketball polls were released on Dec. 2 and the Villanova Wildcats have moved into the Top 20 of both. The Associated Press lists the 7-0 Wildcats, winners of the Battle 4 Atlantis over three days in Paradise Island in the Bahamas, at No. 14 while the USA Today Coaches poll lists VU at No. 19.
"It's great for our fans, our school and the BIG EAST," stated Wildcats head coach Jay Wright. "For us internally, though, it's another challenge. We have to deal with all of the attention that comes with that. It's good - I would much rather deal with the attention of that than not being good because then that becomes your challenge."
Villanova returns to the Associated Press poll for the first time since the week of Feb. 28, 2011, when it was ranked No. 19. The `Cats downed two top 25 teams over the weekend at the Battle 4 Atlantis in Kansas (No. 6 this week) and then No. 23 Iowa.
In other news on Monday, senior swingman James Bell (Orlando, Fla./Montverde Academy) was named both BIG EAST and Philadelphia Big Five player of the week. Bell scored 20 points and collected nine rebounds in the 88-83 overtime victory over Iowa in the championship game at Imperial Arena on Saturday evening.
"We've had him for four years and he's hit so many big shots," stated Wright of Bell after the win Saturday night. "What I really admire about him is his self-esteem. You can tell a player's self-esteem by his willingness to take big shots when things aren't going well.(Against Kansas), he made two huge shots and came up with the rebound to win the game.
"(Against Iowa), he's missing shots and we can't score. He takes it on his shoulders and makes big shot after big shot and gets us back into the game. It's more a testament to his character than it is to his basketball ability."
Villanova returns to action on Wednesday evening when it hosts Penn at 8:00 p.m. in its first Philadelphia Big Five contest of the campaign (Fox Sports 1).
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