I have come up with several explanations on my own:
- Villanova never takes Penn seriously- I highly doubt this is the case, but I will say that it is a possibility simply because of the obvious talent gap between the two teams. When you play in a tough league like the CAA, it's easy to overlook out of conference opponents, but once again I don't believe this to be the case.
- Penn has the capacity for greater depth- While Penn (or any other Ivy League school) doesn't have the luxury of athletic scholarships, their academic standing and capacity for financial aid gives them the ability to field a team with very little disparity in talent between the best players and the worst players on the roster. While Villanova's players were huffing and puffing on the field, Penn was able to put fresh players on to further wear down The 'Cats. The fact that they have more depth allows them to allow the other team to get tired and then put the reinforcements in.
- Villanova has let Penn get into their heads- Perhaps the most likely scenario of all. Penn has given even the best Villanova teams close games and it hasn't changed year in and year out. Due to the lack of equivalent talent, any edge that Penn has in this series is undoubtedly mental and they have used that to their advantage to a degree by keeping the games close. Even with a perceived advantage in "swagger" Villanova has shown that talent above all reigns supreme.