The DePaul Blue Demons' unbeaten record in Big East Conference play has vanished, and the act was committed by the Villanova Wildcats who bullied the Blue Demons inside The Pavilion 81-64.
It seemed almost inevitable from the outset that this was going to be a beatdown. The Wildcats jumped out to an early 24-9 lead within the first 13 minutes of the game and were hardly challenged after that, building upon that lead and taking it into the half up 21. 'Nova was up by, at most, 34, this after a Darrun Hilliard 3-pointer with 9:16 left in the second half. Speaking of Hilliard, the sensational senior guard led all with 21 points whilst shooting a nearly impeccable 66.7 percent from the field.
Here's what we learned from this matchup.
1. DePaul may not be ready yet for 'prime time'
We had our fun, Blue Demons. But Saturday afternoon's matchup with the highly touted 'Cats might be a glaring example as to why this club is now 9-8 on the season. There's some talent on this team still. That's abundantly clear. Billy Garrett Jr. is a terrific, young point guard. Tommy Hamilton IV, who led all scorers today with 12 points on the afternoon, has a load of potential. And as we saw on Wednesday night in Omaha, Forrest Robinson can be deadly from beyond the arc. Unfortunately for DePaul and Oliver Purnell, none of that was put on display against the big boys of the Big East. The Blue Demons might continue to be surprise. They may even rattle off a few more wins. But expecting this team to take a ginormous leap of faith to Big East contender in 2015 might be out of the question.
Then again, stranger things have happened. Right?
2. Villanova, running on full cylinders, is scary good
Of the 12 players who stepped on the floor Saturday afternoon, nine of those Wildcats scored at least two points. Five of them racked up nine-plus points, with three -- Hilliard, Ryan Arcidiacono and Kris Jenkins -- all jumping into double figures. This was a terrific, balanced effort on both sides of the ball from Villanova, and after the dismantling of St. John's earlier in the week, the rest of the country ought to not forget about how good this 'Cats team is. That's for certain.
3. Big East teams (remain) tough to beat at home
Road victories have been hard to come by for Big East teams this year, and that remained evident on the campus of Villanova Saturday afternoon. To this point, 'Cats have not been dealt a home loss, and hasn't been defeated at The Pavilion since February 3, 2012 when the Providence Friars took home a three point victory. Nothing has ever, ever come easy in the Big East Conference and in this 2015 conference season, that seems to still be the case.