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Hart: No. 1 Player Leads No. 1 Team Into March Madness

In our final press conference, Villanova coach Jay Wright wondered if he was biased in calling Josh Hart the best player in the country after the senior scored 29 points to win his second Big East Tournament MVP and almost assure that March Madness would start with him rated as the best player and Villanova rated as the best team when March Madness starts this week.

“It’s amazing, he was tournament MVP as a sophomore, and he is better in every aspect of the game. He is such a better player, which is amazing if you think about it that he won (MVP two years ago) and he is better in every aspect of the game,” said Villanova coach Jay Wright. “I think he is a complete basketball player. I think he is the best, most complete player in the country. And I’m sure I’m biased. I don’t spend time with other guys, but I don’t see anybody that does everything like he does.”

The only two that are close are Kansas’ Frank Mason, who briefly passed Hart for No. 1 at www.valueaddbasketball.com at the end of February and South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell, who did the same before Hart’s 29 point performance on just 18 shots against Creighton.

Hart is the top defender in the Big East with a -3.08 (takes three points away from opponents per 100 possessions) and in the final two games of the tournament he led a defense that held both Seton Hall and Creighton more than 20 points below their season average.

The dominant offense and defense will almost assuredly move Hart back to No. 1 in www.valueaddbasketball.com of the 4,107 college basketball players, and he is No. 1 at www.kenpom.com as well.

According to bracket predictions, Villanova is almost sure to move to the overall No. 1 seed, ahead of the other anticipated 1-seeds Gonzaga, as well as two teams that did not make their conference championship in Kansas and North Carolina.

It appears three major conference teams secured 2-seeds with Kentucky making Sunday’s SEC championship, and Duke and Arizona winning the ACC and Pac-12 respectively.

Arizona survived a late night game 83-80 against Oregon Saturday, shortly after the Ducks were devastated to learn that Chris Boucher (5.22 Value Add to rank 231st, or in the 94th percentile of all teams). However, even though Boucher’s ranking indicates he would be worth 5.22 points per game to a lesser team, Oregon’s team is so deep that the loss should only cost the team about one point a game since their 6th man has a Value Add of 4.29.

While no one doubts Villanova deserves the No. 1 overall seed, Las Vegas believes their chances of winning the title again are slightly less than North Carolina and Duke, the ACC regular season and tournament champions.

We will break down the brackets after they are released Saturday night.

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