As the 12 seed in the Midwest Bracket, Villanova is the lowest seeded at-large team in the NCAA Tournament. That makes them the last team in the NCAA. It means they earn the enmity of teams like Arizona St., Virginia Tech, Dayton and Illinois State.
Villanova was only 1 spot higher than Virginia Tech in the RPI (51 vs. 52). Villanova finished 9-9 in the Big East. The difference is that Villanova proved that they could beat good teams. They beat teams like UConn and Pitt.
While Arizona State beat 4 teams that made the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats beat 5 teams. They beat three within their own conference and in their non-con, they beat 2 more NCAA Tournament teams -- Temple and George Mason.
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The final factor that probably tipped in favor of Villanova is that they were the victim of two questionable calls at the end of games. A phantom call that sent NC State to the free throw line with under a second remaining, and a questionable blocking foul at the end of the game at Georgetown. In both cases, the free throws won the game for the other team. That seemed to offset an ugly loss in the quarterfinals to Georgetown.