Villanova blew its 25-game 'Big 5' winning streak with a brutal upset against Penn, and now the team is falling apart

Mitchell Leff/Getty ImagesVillanova senior Phil Booth reacts to a foul call at the end of the Wildcats stunning loss to the Penn Quakers Tuesday night.
  • After winning the national championship in dominant fashion last April, the Villanova Wildcats have suffered a stunning fall from grace to start the 2018-19 college basketball season.
  • A series of ugly losses early in the season dropped the Wildcats out of the AP Top 25 Poll for the first time since 2013.
  • On Tuesday, Villanova suffered another bad loss, losing to the unranked Penn Quakers, snapping their 25-game “Big 5” winning streak and casting serious doubts on the future of their program.
  • After the loss, Jahvon Quinerly – the crown jewel of head coach Jay Wright’s 2018 recruiting class – posted a cryptic message to his Instagram story about his decision to play at Villanova.

Villanova became king of the dance for the second time in three years last April, but things have gone far downhill for head coach Jay Wright and his depleted Wildcats squad ever since.

The latest blow came Tuesday night, as the Penn Quakers beat Villanova, 78-75, snapping Villanova’s 25-game winning streak in the “Big 5” – an unofficial association of Philadelphia-area programs that includes the Quakers and Wildcats in addition to La Salle, St. Joseph’s, and Temple.

Perhaps even more concerning for Villanova than the loss itself is its looming repercussions. Jahvon Quinerly – a five-star point guard and the crown jewel of Wright’s 2018 recruiting class – played just one minute in Tuesday night’s upset and took to Instagram to express his dissatisfaction.

Quinerly was more than likely referring to the Arizona Wildcats as his top choice. The McDonald’s All-American committed to play for Sean Miller in August of 2017, but chose to retract his commitment in light of Arizona’s involvement in the FBI’s college basketball corruption investigation. He announced his decision to play at Villanova a few months later.

As of Wednesday morning, Quinerly’s Instagram account had been deactivated. It’s unclear whether or not Quinerly crafted the post himself, but if it truly reflects his sentiments, Wildcats fans have a serious cause for concern heading into conference play and beyond.

The loss to Penn and subsequent drama continues what’s been an up-and-down season for Villanova. After starting the season ranked ninth in the nation, Villanova fell to the then-No. 8 Michigan Wolverines in a 73-46 rout before losing an overtime decision to the previously unranked Furman Paladins just three days later.

Michigan basketballMitchell Leff/Getty ImagesIgnas Brazdeikis celebrates the Michigan Wolverines’ 73-46 rout of the Villanova Wildcats November 14.

Villanova subsequently fell out of the AP Top 25 Poll for the first time since 2013, spelling trouble not only for the Wildcats themselves but for the entire Big East conference.

Fans and pundits saw Villanova’s win over the then-No. 14 Florida State Seminoles on their home floor as a sign that the team’s early-season woes were just a fluke, and the Wildcats reappeared in the rankings the following week.

Thanks to convincing victories against the La Salle Explorers, Temple Owls, and Saint Joseph’s Hawks, Villanova had climbed its way up to No. 17 in the country.

Now, after a letdown against Penn, the Wildcats may have some work to do to right the ship before a highly anticipated matchup with the Kansas Jayhawks.

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