By Julie Glass
Villanova’s Josh Hart is the best player on the nation’s top-ranked team, and he kept the Wildcats undefeated Saturday with a tour de force against Notre Dame.
And he also staked his claim for national player of the year!
With Villanova trailing by nine midway through the second half and in desperate need of a spark, 18 of the senior guard’s career-high 37 points came during the final 13 minutes of the game, rallying the Wildcats to a 74-66 victory in a battle of two of college basketball’s final eight unbeaten teams.
Hart had a hand in almost every key basket of Villanova’s comeback, from a steal and layup to cut the deficit to five, to a deep 3-pointer that sliced it to three, to a driving layup that pulled the Wildcats within one.
His 37 points on 14 shots matched the scoring output the rest of the Wildcats managed on 36 field goal attempts. Eleven rebounds and four assists from Hart were also both team highs.
There are still plenty of other national player of the year contenders around the country, from Kansas’ Frank Mason, to UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, to Duke’s Luke Kennard. But for now, they’re all chasing Hart, who so far is college basketball’s best all-around player.