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Jeff Goodman ESPN Insider 

Josh Hart has a career-high 31 for Nova so far. Guy is a terrific college player. NBA executives vary on what he will be at the next level, but he has gotten better in every area since last season. Has 12 of team's last 16 as Villanova now leads Notre Dame midway through the second.

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Josh Hart has 31 points. And there's 9 minutes left. Has converted a steal, drained a three, scored on a jump stop and used a nifty spin to the hoop. And that's in the last three minutes

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Notre Dame has so many veteran players and it shows. Irish work nearly seamlessly together. Currently have 13 assists on 19'made buckets

Farrell races to hit buzzer-beating layup

No. 23 Notre Dame leads No. 1 Villanova 41-36 at the half, thanks in part to Matt Farrell's layup just before the buzzer.

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Jeff Goodman ESPN Insider 

South Carolina coach Frank Martin told ESPN that Sindarius Thornwell will not play Monday in New York against Seton Hall. Was suspended indefinitely last week.

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

That last bucket from Matt Farrell emblematic of Villanova's entire first half. Caught flat footed. Trail at half for the first time this year, 41-36. Josh Hart scored 10 of Wildcats last 12 but can't keep them in it alone. Notre Dame really smart, fluid offense.

Jeff Goodman ESPN Insider 

Amazing what Notre Dame coach Mike Brey has done in South Bend. Two consecutive Elite Eight appearances despite losing Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton two years ago -- and Demetrius Jackson and Zach Auguste after last season. Not sure if Irish will hold on and beat No. 1 Villanova today, but up early and look for real.

Dana O'Neil @ESPNDanaOneil

Villanova currently playing a terrific version of Ole defense. Steve Vasturia just blew by Mikal Bridges, arguably Cats best athlete.

Jeff Goodman ESPN Insider 

URI's Dan Hurley told ESPN he will be without Hassan Martin again with the quad injury. Martin missed victory over ODU earlier this week. Also, sixth-man Christion Thompson (knee) out. Rhode Island plays at Houston this afternoon.

Jeff Goodman @GoodmanESPN

URI's Dan Hurley told ESPN he will be without Hassan Martin again with the quad injury. Also, sixth-man Christion Thompson (knee) out.

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Notre Dame is shooting 63 percent. That's good

Dana O'Neil @ESPNDanaOneil

Jay Wright suggesting the officials 'Wake up.' Didn't exactly agree w/ that over and back call, I'd say.

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Josh Hart only productive guy in a Villanova uniform right now. He has 7 points, 2 assists and a rebound. Teammates shooting combined 3 of 9 without him.

Jay Bilas @JayBilas

Notre Dame's Matt Farrell may be the most improved player in the country. Legit.

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Notre Dame looks more awake right now. Offense getting whatever it wants inside and out. Six assists in seven made buckets

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Usually New York-NJ gets a good Notre Dame crowd. Not today. This is a Villanova home game, sounds like.

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Courtside for Villanova-Notre Dame. Should be good test for top-ranked Wildcats. Teams match up well. Expect a lot of points

ESPN Stats and Information  

Duke and UNLV will play on Saturday for the first time since the 1991 National Semifinal. Duke has won 5 National Championships since the 1990-91 season, most in the country during that span.

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Calm before storm. Villanova and Notre Dame here at the Never Forget Tribute Classic at noon. Public address announcer just serenaded us with When Somebody Loves You while testing his mic.