After dismantling Notre Dame at the Wachovia Center last night, one question seemed to be on everyone’s mind: Could No. 3 Villanova soon be the top ‘Cats in the land?

With current No. 1 Kentucky losing Tuesday at South Carolina — and No. 2 Kansas playing at No. 11 Kansas State this weekend — Jay Wright’s team stated its case emphatically by playing stifling defense in the second half against the Irish (15-6) to turn a one-point game into an 18-point rout.

The Wildcats (19-1) took away Notre Dame’s best deep threat, Tim Abromaitis, who shot just 2-of-9 from beyond the arc. Abromaitis came into the game leading the nation in 3-point shooting at 49.6 percent. Luke Harangody led the Irish with 21 points and 10 boards.

 

With leading scorer Scottie Reynolds plagued by foul trouble, running mate Corey Fisher (17 points) and center Antonio Pena (14) took over the scoring load for Villanova. A late flurry by Reynolds with the game decided also gave him 17 points.

Freshman guard Maalik Wayns, the Big East rookie of the week, also chipped in with 10 points.