Oh, how the world has changed for Villanova. And Penn.
The Wildcats aura at home? Shredded by Michigan. The streak going back to 2013 of never losing consecutive games? Snapped by Furman. The customary spot in the top-25? Here today, but maybe gone tomorrow – or at least when the next poll comes out. And now, the iron grip on Philadelphia’s Big 5? Shattered Tuesday by the University of Pennsylvania.
Been awhile since Jay Wright had rebuilding blues like this, and it won’t get any easier Saturday at Kansas, or the Big East beyond. Meanwhile, the Penn team that beat the Wildcats 78-75 is soaring in rarefied air. Here are 25 numbers that show how life is very different right now for the two teams who crossed paths in the Palestra Tuesday night.
2196 . . . Days Villanova had gone without losing a Big 5 game, winning 25 in a row since a 76-61 defeat by Temple in 2012.
5844 . . . Days Penn had gone without a victory over Villanova, losing 15 in a row back to 2002.
4.2 . . . Average number of defeats per season for Villanova in the past five years.
4 . . . Defeats in the first 40 days of this season, if the Wildcats lose Saturday at No. 1 Kansas.
22 . . . Of Villanova’s 25 consecutive Big 5 wins, 22 were by double figures. That included victories over Penn by 28, 25, 20, 15 and 23.
83-65 . . . Penn win over La Salle was its biggest victory margin in a Big 5 game in nearly 15 years.
2001 . . . The last time Penn had beaten an ACC team, before the 14-point win over Miami last week. The Quakers had dropped 13 in a row.
24 . . . Years since Penn was 9-2, as the Quakers are now.
3 . . . Total points this season for Ryan Betley, Penn’s leading scorer last year. He hit a 3-pointer on the Quakers’ first possession of the opener, but five minutes later, ruptured a knee tendon and was lost for the season. Penn has been on a roll, anyway.
69 . . . Minutes played this season by Jahvon Quinerly, Villanova’s five-star recruit who was expected to fill a key role at guard. Quinerly was on the floor one minute in the Penn game, and afterward sent out a message of discontent on Instagram, then quickly erased it.
11.4 . . . Scoring average for Penn freshman Michael Wang, who is coming off the bench and is one of only five China-born players in Division I. He’s shooting 57.9 percent overall and 45.5 from the 3-point line.
1978-79 . . . The last time Penn started 4-0, until this year. That was the season the Quakers showed up in the Final Four, sharing the stage in Salt Lake City with a couple of guys named Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
63 . . . Assists Penn has had for its 88 field goals in the past three games, including wins over Miami of the ACC and Villanova of the Big East.
4.1 . . . Scoring average for Penn junior guard Devon Goodman his first two seasons.
14.8 . . . Scoring average for Goodman this season, highest on the team.
13.8, 13.1, 13.3 . . . Scoring averages the past three seasons for Penn’s AJ Brodeur, the model of consistency. He was named Most Outstanding Player of the Ivy League tournament last March and celebrated on the court afterward by picking up university president Amy Gutmann.
Plus-89 . . . Villanova’s turnover differential last season.
Minus-5 . . . Villanova’s turnover differential this season.
38-27 . . . Villanova’s rebounding advantage over Michigan in the national championship game last April.
35-22 . . . Penn’s rebounding advantage Tuesday night.
5 . . . Years in a row Villanova has won either the Big East season or tournament title.
26 . . . Penn Ivy League titles, behind only Princeton’s 27. The rest of the conference combined has 20.
100 . . . Games now coached at Penn by Steve Donahue.
18-29 . . . Donahue’s record his first 47 games.
39-14 . . . Donahue’s record his past 53. The 39th win will be pretty memorable.