Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Round 1: American

Foe: #14 American University Eagles (24-7) (13-1)

Recent History: Villanova is undefeated (8-0) all-time against American. The last time they met was in 1993 at the Pavilion when Nova won 94-62. This is the second year in a row that American has made the Big Dance; it's also their only two NCAA invitations in school history. Last year they were a 15-seed and lost in the opening round to 2-seed Tennessee 72-57. This year the Eagles dominated the Patriot League and are currently on a 13-game winning streak. American is without a quality win, but they have experience against good teams, with losses to Oklahoma, Georgetown, and Maryland. American's bread and butter is the 3-point shot. They have four players shooting over 38% from behind the arc, including 6'8 senior forward, Brian Gilmore (12.4 ppg, 5.4 reb, 42% 3-PT). The clear leader of the team is 5'11 senior shooting guard Garrison Carr. He is averaging 17.8 points per game and is shooting 38.7% from 3-point range. Carr has the capability to get hot from downtown; he sank 8 threes in a game vs. UMBC earlier this season to score a season-high 34 points.Carr proved that he can do it against real competition last year in the NCAAs when he dropped 26 points on 6-15 from three against Tennessee. However, Carr has struggled against top competition this year: 9.3 ppg and 9% 3-PT (3/32) in games vs. Oklahoma, Georgetown, George Washington, and Maryland. Senior point guard Derrick Mercer is the third Eagle averaging double digit scoring at 11.5 points per game (41.4% 3-PT).

Famous Alumni: Basketball: Kermit Washington
Other: Goldie Hawn, Ugly Betty, Star Jones, Barry Levinson, Judge Judy

Fun Facts:
  • The university was chartered by an act of Congress in 1893, fulfilling George Washington's wishes for a "national university".
  • American is ranked #1 Most Politically Active Campus in the United States by the Princeton Review.
  • American University was the birthplace of the U.S. chemical weapons program, and chemical weapons were tested on campus in the early 1900s.

Complimentary Youtube Video:

Final Verdict: This is an experienced American team, riding a long winning streak, but I don't see them being able to handle Villanova's size and athleticism, not to mention the Philly crowd. Carr is the only player that worries me, but Reggie Redding should be able to shut him down. I think Villanova cruises to an easy victory and meets the winner of UCLA/VCU on Saturday.

TV: 7:20 PM on CBS and CBSsports.com

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