Sunday, March 30, 2008

Maalik Wayns interview

Here's an early look at Villanova's 2009 point guard recruit Maalik Wayns from Roman Catholic in Philadelphia.


I just want to congratulate the team on a great season and making it to the Sweet Sixteen.

Stayed for end of season player (and coach) evaluations to be posted in the coming weeks.

Lowry in L.A.

Kyle Lowry had a hot couple of nights in Los Angeles this weekend. Friday night he sank some clutch free throws down the stretch to spoil Kobe Bryant's 53 point scoring outburst, as the Grizzlies surprised the Lakers 114-111. Kyle had 13 points, 2 assists, and went a perfect 5 0f 5 from the free throw line in the game.

On Saturday night the Grizzlies stayed in town but fell to the Clippers 110-97. Lowry scored 20 points on 7-9 shooting from the field (6-9 FT) in only 22 minutes. He also added 3 assists and 2 rebounds off the bench.

Mike Conley is continuing to start at point guard over Lowry even though Lowry has outperformed the rookie recently. Lowry is averaging 10.2 points and 3.6 assists per game in March, while Conley is averaging a modest 6.5 points and 3.3 assists this month.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Kansas ends Nova's season

Final Score: #1 Kansas 72, #12 Villanova 57

Player of the Game: Russell Robinson 15 pts, 5 ast

Recap: Running Diary of the Game

- Seth Davis’ keys for the game: Nova’s inside guys, Casiem Drummond and Shane Clark, need to play well. It looks like Seth has been following this team…

- Stokes, Reynolds, Anderson, Pena, and Cunningham are the starters for Villanova.

- Nova wins the tip, but Scottie airballs his first 3... not a good sign.

- Dante scores the first points of game, Villanova is up 2-0. (Which was their only lead of the game)

- Nova gives up a 3, then Darnell Jackson gets an alley-oop slam. (Alley-oop count: 1)

- Stokes turns it over on inbound play, leading to an alley-oop pass from Robinson off the backboard and to Rush for the dunk (Alley-oop count: 2)

- Gus Johnson on Kansas: “They look like a pro team”. They have 4 or 5 guys that can play at the next level. Kansas has guys coming off the bench that could be the best player on most teams in the country.

- Too many turnovers early for Nova. Kansas is deflecting passes and forcing steals with their aggressive defense.

- Kaun with the alley-oop (Alley-oop count: 3)

- Nova is down 14 early to a very good team, it’s going to be difficult to come back this time.

- Kansas is sharing the ball beautifully. (11 assists in 1st half, 16 for game)

- Alley-oop off inbounds pass to Arthur (Alley-oop count: 4)

- Fisher is in, and Scottie makes back-to-back threes. Fish is taking away some of the ball-handling pressure from Scottie.

- Nova is leading in offensive rebounds (9-0). Shane Clark makes a put-back.

- Fisher forces up a wild double-clutch shot in the lane and misses.

- Kansas is playing pesky defense. They are all over Villanova’s players, not giving them any space.

- Nova can’t make any threes... and Kansas can't miss.

- Dwayne Anderson is not looking so good offensively… what happened to his 3-point shot? (He finished 0-3 from three)

- Redding and Cunningham miss their free throws.

- Dante is called for traveling. He is forcing too much down low. He needs to play within himself.

- The score is 41-22 at the half. Villanova has Kansas right where they want them. LSU, DePaul, Clemson... Nova is a comeback team.

- The Kansas seniors must remember that 2005 game in Philly… they’re looking for revenge.

- Robinson has 13 points and Rush has 11 at halftime, while Fisher and Stokes combine for zero points in the 1st half.

- Scottie only has 6 points in first half – 2-9 from the field, 2-3 from three. Kansas defenders are all over Reynolds, making it very difficult for him to get a shot off.

- At least Villanova didn’t look as bad as Michigan State in the first half. Memphis is up 50-20. No offense to Kyle Lowry, but I think the NCAA Memphis could compete with the NBA Memphis.

- Halftime report: the CBS guys are already looking ahead to the Kansas/Davidson match-up... come on Gumble, at least wait until the game is over.

- Len Elmore warns, “Don’t count out Villanova.” He mentions 21 point comeback at LSU?

- Stokes finally scores at 18 minute mark in second half.

- Dante has some designs shaved into his hair Anthony Mason style... I've never seen him with that before.

- Arthur gets another alley-oop, with some help from Dante on the finish. (Alley-oop count: 5)

- Scottie scores his first 2-pointer of the game on a driving lay-up with 15 minutes left.

- Arthur with a monster dunk off a spin move.

- ANOTHER alley-oop to Kaun. Villanova has no answer for their big men. This is reminiscent of the Horford/Noah dunkfest in 2006. (Alley-oop count: 6)

- Collins makes a toilet bowl shot that touches every part of the rim… everything is falling for the Jayhawks tonight.

- Fisher makes his first field goal on a double clutcher with 11 minutes to go.

- Shane gets blocked, gets his own rebound, lays it in, then down the floor he draws a charge. He is playing pretty good tonight.

- Bill Self takes a seat on his stool with a comfortable lead.

- Stokes misses a three.

- You can see Malcolm Grant leaning onto floor from the bench… he’s itching to get into the game.

- Almost another alley-oop for Kaun, but he is fouled.

- Pena goes down hard after jumping on Kaun’s back for the foul, but he gets up quick and seems okay.

- Russell Robinson and Kansas are all over Scottie… he is really struggling.

- Nova is down by 21 with 5 minutes left… I think it’s time for Jay Wright to unleash his secret weapon from the bench: Malcolm Grant. The only way Nova can win at this point is for Grant to come in with his comeback magic and start bombing threes.

- The energetic Gus Johnson has had to sit through two blow-outs tonight. I’m sure he’s used to it though, from covering so many Knicks games this season.

- Scottie gets in double figure scoring with 2:30 left. (He finished with 11 points)

- Dante Cunningham is named the player of game with 8 points and 7 rebounds… You know your team lost when 8 and 7 earns you player of game. (Although he did finish with 10 points).

- Fisher turns it over then fouls Kansas with 28 seconds left, down by 16… not even Malcolm Grant could pull off this comeback.

- Colenda and Tchuisi enter the game, but NO Grant? I don’t get it... poor kid.

- Now Stokes makes a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left.

- And that’s it. Final Score is 72-57.

Some more thoughts:

- Villanova shot the ball poorly from 3-point range (3-17). That’s simply not going to get it done for a team with no inside game.

- Scottie Reynolds had the same number of turnovers as field goals, four, and he had zero assists.

- Player of the Game award goes to Russell Robinson, not only for his 15 points and 5 assists, but for his tenacious defense, denying Scottie Reynolds all night.

- Redding played too many minutes (18). Some of that time should have been given to Fisher (19 min) or Pena (only 12 min).

- Louisville is the last Big East team remaining in the tournament. That should be a great game vs. North Carolina.

- Villanova can’t hang their heads too much after this loss. They are a very young team, and exceeded everyone’s expectations by making the Sweet 16. Kansas is super-good, and Nova may continue a recent trend by losing to the eventual national champion this year (UNC in 2005, Florida in 2006). They will likely return the entire team next season, and have scholarships to add two more players as well. Based on the way they persevered and finished the season strong, the future looks bright for this group of Wildcats.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kansas vs. Villanova

Get in the mood for an upset...

Evans named MVP

Tyreke Evans was named the MVP of the McDonald's All-American Game. He helped the East to a 107-102 victory over the West squad. Evans had 21 points and 10 rebounds in the game.

After the game he told reporters that he is no longer considering Louisville, leaving four schools on his list: Villanova, Memphis, UConn, and Texas.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tyreke's decision awaits

"Uncommitted senior Tyreke Evans, ranked No. 4 in the current ESPN 150, will make his decision on April 16, the first day of the spring signing period, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Evans will announce his choice at a press conference to be carried live on ESPN. The schools involved are Memphis, Louisville, Villanova, Connecticut and Texas and the 6-foot-6 guard says he is not leaning towards any one program. "I will look at everything," Evans said."

Maybe this run in the tournament will sway Tyreke's decision in Villanova's favor. This run may also affect Scottie Reynolds' NBA draft status. Scottie's stock is rising as Villanova goes deeper in the tournament. Last year Reynolds stated that he plans to stay four years, but things change, especially when there's millions of dollars on the line. If Reynolds were to make the jump to the NBA, Tyreke would probably be more likely to choose Villanova, where he could be the star guard in his hometown. If Reynolds stays in college, Evans may see himself as the missing piece to help Villanova win a title next year.

Drummond out for season

Casiem Drummond will have surgery on his ankle after fracturing it in the game against Siena. Drummond has been used sparingly since suffering from a stress fracture in December. The new injury is unrelated to the previous injury, and it will sideline him for the remainder of the season. The injury shouldn't affect Villanova's gameplan for Kansas because Drummond has not been a major part or the team's recent success. Casiem has missed thirteen games this season, and has played less than three minutes in four other games. This has become a lost season for the big man, and it's a shame because he proved to be a real force inside at times early in the season. He had a monster 17 rebound game against NC State in the Old Spice Classic. He also worked hard to get in shape during the offseason by losing a lot of weight. Let's hope he makes a full recovery and continues to work and improve for next season.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Nova cruises past Siena to Sweet 16

Final Score: Villanova 84, Siena 72

Player of the Game: Scottie Reynolds 25 pts, 8 reb, 5 ast

Recap: Villanova advanced to its third Sweet Sixteen in four years after a 84-72 victory over the Siena Saints on Easter Sunday. Villanova dominated pretty much the entire game. Villanova’s size, speed, strength, and athleticism were too much for the Saints. Villanova’s largest lead was sixteen, but Siena kept it close enough that they could have made a run; however they never did.

It was the "Scottie Reynolds and Corey Stokes show". They combined for 31 of Villanova’s 42 first half points. Reynolds finished with a game-high 25, and Stokes had a career-high 20 points. Reynolds had a great all-around game, grabbing 8 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists. He was hot from downtown, going 4 for 7. Surprisingly, only six of Stokes’ twenty points came from 3-pointers. He did a great job driving and attacking the basket. Stokes was due for a big game after his quiet night versus Clemson.

Dante Cunningham did a much better job staying out of foul trouble in this game. It paid dividends for him, keeping him on the floor to score 14 points and grab 6 boards. Everyone helped chip in, with all twelve players on the roster entering the game, ten different Wildcats scoring and rebounding, and seven recording an assist. It’s either a really good sign or a really bad one if Jason Colenda plays, and today it was a good sign. Corey Fisher and Antonio Pena, two of the heroes from the first round win over Clemson, did not score as much today, but Stokes and Cunningham picked up their slack.

For most of the season there have been two types of Villanova fans. Some gave up early after witnessing the tough defeats and said the team just wasn’t good enough this year. Other fans knew the team was talented and could be very good, but knew that they just weren’t playing up to their potential. The latter appear to be correct, as the Wildcats have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. The first group of fans didn’t even think Villanova deserved to be in the tournament, let alone win two games. Now these young Wildcats will travel to Detroit to face the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks for a trip to the Elite Eight to play the winner of the Wisconsin/Davidson game.

In a surprising twist, Georgetown was knocked out of the tournament by Stephen Curry and the Davidson Wildcats. This leaves Villanova, West Virginia, and Louisville as the only Big East teams left in the tournament. Three Big East teams advancing to the Sweet Sixteen is no surprise, but few expected Villanova or West Virginia to be among them.

Villanova has already surpassed most people’s expectations. No one will give them much of a chance against Kansas, a team many experts predict to win the championship. Then again no one gave Villanova much of a chance in 2005 when they upset the undefeated #2 ranked Jayhawks at the Wachovia Center 83-62. That win brought Villanova back to national prominence and sparked their run back to the NCAA tournament. No Villanova players remain from that team, but let’s hope these Wildcats carry on in the tradition of Ray, Sumpter, Foye, Nardi, Lowry, and all the other players that helped upset Kansas three years ago.

Next Game: Friday, March 28, at 9:40 pm, vs. Kansas

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Upset City

Final Score: Villanova 75, Clemson 69

Player of the Game: Scottie Reynolds 21 pts

Recap: #12 Villanova upset #5 Clemson for the fourth upset of the day in Tampa, Florida. Earlier in the day #12 Western Kentucky upset #5 Drake, then #13 San Diego upset #4 UConn, then #13 Siena upset #4 Vanderbuilt, and finally Villanova completed the sweep for the underdogs in the region. In a surprising scenario Villanova will play Siena in the second the round. Siena should not be taken lightly, but I like Nova's chances of advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. After the five-game losing streak and the pounding Villanova took against St. Joe's, who would have ever thought that Villanova would be playing Siena in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Clemson dominted from the start of the game. Villanova couldn't handle the pressure, and it led to turnovers and easy baskets for the Tigers. Clemson got out to a 36-18 lead, but the Wildcats went on a mini-run at the end of the first half to cut the deficit to twelve points. Then Villanova continued the run into the second half. They looked like a completely different team. Scottie Reynolds was draining threes (4-5), including an incredible shot that he banked in after being fouled from behind the arc. Villanova's ball pressure on defense was great in the second half, and Clemson found it very difficult to score. Villanova also took advantage of Clemson's poor free throw shooting by not allowing lay-ups and fouling them hard under the basket. Clemson shot 60.9% from the free throw line, while Villanova shot 82.8%, including some clutch shots down the stretch.

Corey Fisher was the X-factor for Villanova tonight. He stepped up in a big way and looked like the great scorer from earlier in the season. Fisher had 17 points on 3-8 from the field and 2-3 from three, but most impressively he was 9-10 from the free throw line. Fisher was difficult to stop when driving to the basket and drawing fouls.

Also stepping up for Villanova was Antonio Pena. He provided some low-post scoring for the wildcats with 12 points. Pena and Shane Clark co-led the team with six rebounds to help Nova out-rebound the bigger Tigers 36-31.

Villanova had its share of problems in the second the second half also. Jay Wright picked up a technical foul for arguing that Reyonlds was fouled after a jumpball was called. This enabled Clemson to get within two points at 64-62. It could have been a costly mistake by Wright, but luckliy it didn't affect the outcome.

Dante Cunningham picked up his fourth foul early in the second half, forcing Jay Wright to go deep into his bench to find a big man to replace him. With Casiem Drummond likely not healthy enough to re-enter the game, Wright had to go all the way to Cameroon to find a replacement. That's right, Frank Tchuisi was called upon during a crucial stretch in the second half. He played less than a minute, but it just goes to show that this win was a collective effort. It was not just Reynolds' and Fisher's scoring that led Villanova to victory; it was the team defense and contributions from players like Dwayne Anderson, Shane Clark, Dante Cunningham, Corey Stokes and Reggie Redding. This game represents the evolution of the team during the season. Earlier in the season Reynolds and Fisher were putting up some big offensive numbers, but Villanova was losing games because they weren't getting it done defensively. Now when you combine the drastically improved defense and the scoring of Reynolds and Fisher, Villanova is a tough team to beat.

Some believed that Villanova did not deserve to be in the tournament, yet here they are with a victory over Clemson. They proved the doubters wrong, and have a chance to go to the Sweet Sixteen. The Big East has looked impressive in the tournament so far. The conference went 7-1 in the first round, and would have went undefeated if not fot the last-second shot made by San Diego today. Nova seems to thrive as an underdog, but let's hope that won't stop them from defeating the 13-seed Siena on Sunday. If they can take care of business against Siena, Villanova can go back to it's underdog status in a potential Sweet Sixteen game versus top-seeded Kansas.

Next Game:
Sunday March 23, vs. Siena, at 12:10 pm

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Foye wins battle of former Wildcats

Randy Foye helped lead the Timberwolves to a 98-94 victory over his former teammate Kyle Lowry of the Grizzlies. This was the first time Lowry and Foye met in the NBA after leading Villanova to a Sweet Sixteen in 2005 and Elite Eight in 2006. Foye had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, scoring all of his points in the second half. He also added 3 assists in 36 minutes. Lowry had 8 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and a steal in 21 minutes off the bench.

Lowry vs. Foye

Kyle Lowry will face off against Randy Foye tonight as the Memphis Grizzlies travel to Minnesota for a battle of 16-50 teams. This is the first time the former teamates will play against each other in the NBA. Lowry was injured when the two teams met last season, and Foye was injured earlier this season. They may end up guarding each other as they both play point guard.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Foye gives back to community

Here's a great story about Randy Foye working out with local high school basketball players over the summer. Foye resides in Rumson, New Jersey for the summer, and was looking for a gym to practice in. He didn't have to, but Randy offered to practice with the players on the local team and help develop their skills. The story shows a lot about Randy's character.

Foye is averaging 11.7 points this season for the Timberwolves. The other night in Portland Foye flirted with a triple-double, scoring 9 points, dishing 8 assists, and grabbing 10 rebounds.

2007-2008 Highlights

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Nova is dancing

All Villanova fans can take a sigh of relief. Villanova made the NCAA Tournament as a 12 seed in the Midwest region. They got a pretty good draw too. I think they have a decent chance to win a game or two. They play 5 seed Clemson in the first round in Tampa, Fla. on Friday at 9:50 pm. If they win, they will play the winner of #4 Vanderbilt and #13 Siena.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Making a case for Nova

Villanova should make the NCAA Tournament field of 65, and here are my reasons why:
  • RPI:51, SOS:45, Overall record: 20-12, Last 11 games: 7-4
  • Quality wins over tournament/bubble teams:
    1. UConn 2/23
    2. Pitt 1/6
    3. West Virginia 2/20
    4. George Mason 11/23
    5. Temple 12/9
    6. Syracuse 1/19, 3/12
  • Two last second foul calls that cost Villanova the game:
    1. NC State 11/25 - Without the foul call Villanova would have won the Old Spice Classic and finished undefeated in preseason non-conference play.
    2. Georgetown 2/11 - Villanova could have gone to overtime with the chance to get a marquee road victory against a top-ten team in the nation.
  • Villanova finished 9-9 in the Big East Conference, and 1-1 in the Big East Tournament. From top to bottom, the Big East is the most competitive conference in the country. Most mid-majors that are being considered over Villanova would have a very difficult time finishing at .500 in the Big East. These include teams like Illinois St., South Alabama, St. Mary's, UNLV, New Mexico, and VCU.
  • Villanova has some bad losses: DePaul, Cincinnati, Rutgers, and St. Joe's; but these were all on the road where it is always tough to get a win in the Big East. In the case of St. Joe's, Villanova was in the midst of a five game losing streak and suffering from an identity crisis. They are a different team now, and if Villanova played the Hawks today, especially on a neutral site, there would be a very different outcome.
  • Most other bubble teams are weak this year, with a majority of them failing to win even one game in their conference tournaments. These teams include: Oregon, Arizona St., UMass, Ohio St., Arizona, Baylor, Dayton, Florida, and Ole Miss.
With that said, some bracketologists don't have Villanova in the field of 65. Wildcat players and fans will have to keep their fingers crossed on Selection Sunday. Covergae starts at 6:00 pm on CBS.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Foye/Jay-Z vs. Smith/2Pac

Check out Bill Simmons' links for this week. He posts a video clip of Randy Foye and Craig Smith debating who the better rapper is: 2Pac or Jay-Z. Foye defends Jay-Z. Watch the video to find out why.

Also check out his 15 suggestions from the readers at the bottom of the page. The Sports Guy actually posted one of my comments. That's me at #14: Tim in New York: "Now, I know why Isiah is paying Jerome James $5.8 million. He's averaging almost 40 points and 30 rebounds per 48 minutes this season."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Nova falls to G-town

Final Score: Georgetown 82, Villanova 63

Players of the Game:
Jonathan Wallace 20 pts (5-6 3pt) and Jessie Sapp 23 pts (6-9 3pt)

Villanova Player of the Game: Scottie Reynolds 13 pts, 4 ast

Recap: Villanova made a valiant effort in an early second half comeback. They were able to take a four point lead in the second half after Georgetown dominated the first half. Georgetown was up by as many as fifteen in the first half and led by eleven at halftime. In the end Nova ran out of gas, and Georgetown pulled away late.
Reasons for the loss:
1. Georgetown shot the ball ridiculously from downtown. They tied a Big East Tournament record with 17 made 3-pointers. The Hoyas were 60.7% (17-28), with five different players knocking down a three.

2. Scottie Reynolds suffered a serious cut above his eye after going down hard to the floor on a driving lay-up. A foul wasn't even called on the play. Blood was dripping down his face, and although he returned to the game, it clearly bothered him. I have to give Scottie a lot of credit for going back out there and playing his best through the injury. It was reminiscent of Steve Nash's performance with the bloody nose versus San Antonio in the playoffs last year.

3. Corey Stokes struggled shooting the long ball. He was 2-12 from the field and 2-8 or three to score 8 points. Villanova's 3-point shooting was a key to yesterday's victory over Syracuse, but the team was only 6-18 (33.3%) today.

4. Villanova was unable to take advantage with Roy Hibbert off the floor. Hibbert was held scoreless and fouled out in only 14 minutes of action. This helped Nova's comeback early in the second half, but they weren't able to sustain it.

5. Patrick Ewing Jr. filled up the stat sheet in his daddy's old stomping grounds. He had 7 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals.

6. Despite recent success, Shane Clark regressed today. He only had one point and was 0-4 from the field in 22 minutes.

7. Villanova only had six points off the bench. Part of the reason was Corey Stokes getting the start. Another reason was Jay Wright not bringing in any scorers off the bench. Corey Fisher only played eight minutes, and Malcolm Grant did not play at all.

8. Casiem Drummond only played two minutes. Villanova could have used the big fellow today, but that ankle must still be bothering him.

Now it's time for the waiting game. Villanova is on the bubble. Some experts say they are in the NCAA Tournament, others say they are heading to the NIT. Jay Wright had this to say following the game, "We're an NCAA tournament team, but that's not our decision. We'll let the committee make that decision. We still think we're one of the best teams in the country, we just weren't better than Georgetown today." I also think they should be in, but there's nothing more they can do now except sit back and hope the other bubble teams lose.

Next Game: ???

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Nova advances in BET past Syracuse

Final Score: Villanova 82, Syracuse 63

Player of the Game: Scottie Reynolds 22 pts, 6 ast

Recap: This was a huge victory for the Wildcats. There are conflicting opinions on whether or not Villanova will be in the NCAA tournament with this win alone, but they definitely improved their chances. The manner in which they won was also impressive. Syracuse got out to a quick eleven-point lead in the first half, and Donte Greene seemed unstoppable. However, Villanova was able to claw their way back into the game and pulled within one at halftime with a Dwayne Anderson three. Then Villanova came out and dominated the second half 55-35, fueled by a barrage of 3-pointers. Nova shot 11-21 (52.4%) for the game from behind the arc.

Now let's get on to the awards...

The Steve Nash Award for Best Point Guard
... goes to Scottie Reynolds. Reynolds has a knack for stepping up in big games, and he did just that today, scoring 22 points. He also had six assists, his most since December 14 vs. Hartford, and zero turnovers in 34 minutes. He handled the point most of the game, leaving Corey Fisher on the bench. He seems to play better with the ball in his hands. Scottie made 4-7 threes, including a fade-away three that would have impressed even Kevin Pittsnogle.

The AT&T Award for Long-distance Call of the Day
... goes to Corey Stokes. He made four of eight 3-pointers, including a couple from well beyond the NBA line. Stokes matched his career-high with 18 points, and he added 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. He is shooting 36.8% from 3-point range in Big East play.

The Bank Job award for Thief of Game
... goes to Dwayne Anderson for his 4 steals. Dwayne had another great game for the Wildcats with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists. He made three of four 3-pointers as well.

The Charles Barkley Award for Rebounder of the Game

... goes to Dante Cunningham who co-led the team with 7 boards. Villanova dominated the glass in the game, outrebounding the Orange 40-27. Dante added 13 points for the Wildcats.

The Energizer Bunny Award for Energizing Performance
... goes to Shane Clark. Shane seems to have recovered from whatever sickness he was suffering from during the season. He scored in double figures for the third straight games. Clark had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal. His energy helped him grab 5 offensive rebounds, including a big one-handed put-back slam. Had Shane been able to play at this level all season, Villanova probably wouldn't have to worry about being on the bubble at this point.

Next Game: Tues. March 13, 12:00 pm, vs. #1 seed Georgetown

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Reynolds, Fisher awarded

The 2007-2008 All-Big East Teams have been announced. Scottie Reynolds was named to All-Big East Second Team. Corey Fisher was named to the Big East All Rookie Team. Reynolds averages 15.4 points and 3.2 assists, and has scored 20+ points nine times this season. His season high was 32 points at Cincinnati on January 12. Fisher averages 9.7 points and 2.9 assists. He has had three 20+ points games this season, his high being 23 at DePaul on January 3.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Big East Tournament

It's official. Villanova will play Syracuse in the opening round of the Big East Tournament on Wed. at noon. This is probably Villanova's biggest game of the season because it's a must-win to have any chance of making the NCAA Tournament. The winner will play Georgetown, and if Villanova gets there they would have the opportunity to avenge the controversial loss from back in February. Syracuse (19-12, 9-9) and Villanova (19-11, 9-9) have similar resumes, but Syracuse has the edge with their RPI and Strength of Schedule. Syracuse has an RPI of 45 with a SOS of 7, while Nova has an RPI of 56 and strength of Schedule of 56. The loser of this game will most likely not make the tournament. If Villanova wins, they still may need to beat Georgetown in the second round to secure an at-large bid. That last-second Georgetown call is starting to hurt more and more. It would have given the Wildcats a great road win, but now their best road win is against bubble-mate Syracuse. Here's a look at the Big East Tournament bracket...

Wednesday, March 12

Game 1: No. 8 Villanova vs. No. 9 Syracuse (ESPN, noon)
Game 2: No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 12 Providence (ESPN, 2:30 p.m.)
Game 3: No. 7 Pittsburgh vs. No. 10 Cincinnati (ESPN, 7 p.m.)
Game 4: No. 6 Marquette vs. No. 11 Seton Hall (ESPN, 9:30 p.m.)
Thursday, March 13

Game 5: No. 1 Georgetown vs. Game 1 winner (ESPN, noon)
Game 6: No. 4 UConn vs. Game 2 winner (ESPN, 2:30 p.m.)
Game 7: No. 2 Louisville vs. Game 3 winner (ESPN, 7 p.m.)
Game 8: No. 3 Notre Dame vs. Game 4 winner (ESPN, 9:30 p.m.)
Friday, March 14

Game 9: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner (ESPN, 7 p.m.)
Game 10: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner (ESPN, 9:30 p.m.)
Saturday, March 15

Game 11: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner (ESPN, 9 p.m.)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Foye ties career-high

Randy Foye tied his career high with 26 points last night to help lead his Timberwolves to a 99-96 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. He had 6 points in the final 1:15 to bring the Wolves back from a 13 point deficit. This is the first time all season Minnesota has won back-to-back games. With 26 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds this was Randy's best game of the season. He relied less on his 3-point shot (0-1) and drove to the basket more often. He was 8-12 from the field and 10-12 from the free throw line. Of his performance, Randy said, "I was just playing aggressive tonight. Coach put the ball in my hands, wanted me to attack and make plays, and that's what I did." Foye battled against another former Wildcat, Tim Thomas of the Clippers. Tim has been struggling with injuries lately and had 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Nova ends regular season with win over Providence

Final Score: Villanova 73, Providence 63

Player of the Game: Dwayne Anderson 17 pts, 11 reb, 4 ast

Recap: Villanova closed out the regular season tonight with a tough road victory over Providence at the Dunkin Donuts Center. I don't know how anyone can take Providence seriously when their home court is called the Dunkin Donuts Center. Anyway, the win gets Villanova back to .500 in the Big East and 19-11 overall. They are currently tied with Syracuse for eighth in the Big East. Cincinnati and Pitt are still yet to play their season finales, but as it stands now, Villanova would play Syracuse in the 8 vs. 9 game at the Big East Tournament. Nova will most likely need to win at least one game in the Big East Tournament to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats and the Orange are both on the bubble, and they split the season series, both winning on the road. The winner will greatly improve their tournament resume, but the loser's bubble may burst.

Villanova was lucky to pull out a victory. Providence had plenty of open looks at 3-pointers, but they couldn't knock them down. The Friars shot 23.8% (5-21) from three on the night. If they were able to make a few of those, it could have been a different story. Villanova wasn't all that much better, shooting 29.6% (8-27). Corey Stokes led the team with three 3-pointers, and they came at crucial moments. Whenever Providence made a run, Stokes hit a three to spoil their comeback. Stokes was second on the team in scoring with 13 points.

Villanova showed more hustle by outrebounding the Friars 37-29. Nova had 11 offensive boards, fueled by Dante Cunningham's 5. Dante had 10 total rebounds to go with his 7 points and 4 assists. Cunningham has lost his touch from the free throw line lately. He was 3-7 tonight and has made only 7 of his last 17.

Dwayne Anderson played 40 minutes and had an all-around fantastic game. He had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and he also dished out 4 assists and had 4 steals. He had a rough night shooting threes (1-7), but was an impressive 8-10 from the free throw line. Dwayne has been Villanova's MVP during the second half of the season. He is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win, and he understands that scoring isn't necessarily the answer. It starts with defense and rebounding, which are Anderson's strengths.

Scottie Reynolds had another solid game with 10 points and 3 assists. It's good to see that other players can step up and score. Earlier in the season if Scottie didn't led the team with around 20 points, Villanova would most likely lose the game.

Corey Fisher broke his 3-point shooting slump by going 2-3, but those were his only six points on the night. He didn't do a very good job handling the ball. Fisher only had 1 assist and 2 turnovers in his 15 minutes on the floor. Fisher should penetrate and kick out more, rather than rely on the three.

Shane Clark scored in double figures for the second straight game with 10 points. However, most of those points came from free throws in the final minute of the game. He was a perfect 8-8 from the line, but struggled from long range. He was 0-2 for three, and missed one of them badly with a airball that flew over the basket. Shane played pretty good defense all game, and he even had 2 blocked shots.

Antonio Pena had a quiet night. He only played 15 minutes and notched 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in that time. He almost pulled a Shane Clark by missing a dunk right under the basket, but the ball bounced up off the rim then fell back down through the hoop.

Reggie Redding played 19 minutes off the bench and added 4 points and an assist. Malcolm Grant played 2 minutes and failed to score. Grant did have a nice steal where he went diving across the sideline to force the turnover.

Casiem Drummond missed his thirteenth game of the season. He has been on and off since suffering from the stress fracture in his foot back in December.

Next Game: Wed. at Madison Square Garden vs. T.B.A.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Foye reaches 1,000

Randy Foye scored his 1,000th career point Wednesday night at Utah. He was at 999 points entering the game and scored 18 to surpass the 1,000 point mark and move his NBA career total to 1,017. Randy scored 832 points in 82 games during his rookie season. He has 185 points through 17 games this season. Foye is shooting an impressive 42.6% from 3-point land and is averaging 10.9 points per game.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Nova vs. USF: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Final Score: Villanova 72, South Florida 59

Player of the Game: Shane Clark 15 pts, 7 reb

The Good
  • SHANE CLARK IS BACK! Shane had his best game in a long time, scoring in double figures for the first time since December. He had 15 points on 7-11 shooting, 7 rebounds, an assist, and he even knocked down a three. He also had one of the sickest dunks of the season; a one-handed put-back slam off of a Malcolm Grant missed three. It's great to see Shane back in form.
  • An extremely rare Scottie Reynolds dunk. He set the tone early with a one-handed slam on a break-away. He had 9 points for the game.
  • Dwayne Anderson's effort. The play where he went diving into the stands to save a loose ball says it all. He gives 100% all game long and will dive after any loose ball. He had 7 points and 10 rebounds. He also made a nice play where he faked the pass then went up for a one-handed slam.
  • Villanova's team defense. They held USF to 31.5% from the field and 17.4% from 3-point range.
  • Reggie Redding's defense. He had 2 blocks and 2 steals in only 16 minutes of play. He only had 3 points, but had 3 assists and no turnovers.
  • A Frank Tchuisi sighting. The Cameroonian made his first free throw of the season for his only point of the night.

The Bad
  • Corey Stokes' 3-point shooting. He was 0-5 from long-range. The team as a whole wasn't much better at 18.8% (3-16). I'm sure Stokes will shake this night off and shoot better next game.
  • Corey Fisher's continued shooting woes. He was 1-5 from three and 2-6 from the field for 6 points total. He has never really recovered from his 1-16 FG night against Georgetown. Fish is 2 for his last 20 from behind the arc.
  • Casiem Drummond's foul trouble. Cas fouled out with 6:37 left in the second half, despite only playing 12 minutes. It's a shame because he was effective while on the court. He had 6 points, 7 boards, and a block in his short time on the floor. If Drummond can stay out of foul trouble it will significantly help Nova make a run in the Big East Tournament.
  • Dante Cunningham got two quick fouls that kept him on the bench for most of the first half. He was a perfect 4-4 from the field to score 8 points.
  • Villanova gave up 29 points to USF freshman Dominique Jones, although he did take 21 shots to do it.

The Ugly
  • Villanova's play in the the final 3 minutes. Sloppy passes, turnovers, fouls, and quick shots when they should have been running the clock down. Malcolm Grant in particular was playing out of control in the final minutes and looked like he was trying to do too much. Luckily Villanova had a big enough cushion of a lead that it didn't matter.
  • Villanova's sloppy play in the middle of the second half. USF cut the lead to 6, before Nova was able to pull away and go up by as many as 23.
  • Shane Clark missed three dunks. The first was forgivable because it was a difficult one-handed tomahawk that would've been one of the best dunks of the season. The last was unacceptable: a two-handed dunk right under the basket.
  • USF's intentional foul on Antonio Pena. A USF player pushed Pena in the back right under the basket, but Tone still made the the lay-up. Pena finished with 10 points.
  • The Wavecam. It's more like the "Blair Witch cam". It's not a bad idea, but the camera moved around too much, and the ball got cut off the screen a few times.

Next Game: Sat. Mar. 8, 7:30 pm, at Providence

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Lowry scores 24

Kyle Lowry scored a career-high 24 points in a 112-97 loss to the Chicago Bulls tonight. He had a great shooting night (8-12 FG, 1-1 3PT, 7-8 FT). He also had 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 rebound, and only 1 turnover in 32 minutes off the bench. Kyle is averaging 8.9 points, 3.6 assists, and 3.3 rebounds this season.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Nova pummeled by Louisville

Final Score: Louisville 68, Villanova 54

Player of the Game: It's difficult to give it to any one player on Louisville because their scoring was so balanced, so I'll just give the award to Rick Pitino for getting the most out of his players and out-coaching Jay.

Villanova Player of the Game: Again it's difficult to choose, but for obvious different reasons. I'll give it to Malcolm Grant for his 11 points and 3 assists.

Recap: I could blame the loss on Jay Wright for his questionable lineups and rotations, or on Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher for being late to the shoot-around, or on any number of other reasons, but the truth of the matter is that Louisville is just a far better right now. Villanova fans finally saw Malcolm Grant get extended playing time; however it wasn't the way they envisioned it, coming at the expense of Corey Fisher and Scottie Reynolds. Jay Wright probably should have played Corey Fisher more minutes, but ultimately it wouldn't have made much of a difference. Louisville is playing some of the best basketball in the country right now, and has a legitimate chance to win a national championship. Although it was never really a close game, the Villanova players shouldn't get too down on themselves over this loss because it was against a great team in an extremely hostile environment. The Wildcats have two winnable games left on the schedule vs. South Florida and at Providence. If they win both, Villanova will finish at .500 (9-9) in the Big East. That is not so bad, and with one or two wins in the Big East Tournament they may still have a chance for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

I'd love to go a little more in-depth in the post-game analysis, but I can't since a certain network (I'll give you a hint: it starts with a C and ends with an S... and there's a B in the middle) switched to the UCLA/Arizona game in the middle of the second half in most areas. I could understand them switching to the more competitive game when there was less than two minutes remaining, and it was clear that Villanova wasn't coming back. It was an insult to the players to cut the broadcast at that point in the game. At the 13 minute mark, with a 13 point deficit, it was way too early to give up on the game. Malcolm Grant already proved that anything could happen with his late-game heroics in the LSU game. If you say you're gonna broadcast a certain game, then broadcast it.

Next Game: Wed. Mar. 5, 8:00 pm, vs. South Florida, at the Pavilion