Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nova Neutralizes Notre Dame

Villanova took control in the second half to cruise to a 90-72 victory over Notre Dame. At 19-1 (8-0) Villanova is off to its best start to a season ever. The Wildcats displayed their depth with seven players scoring at least eight points. Corey Fisher and Scottie Reynolds led the way with 17 points each. On the Fighting Irish side Luke Harangody, like a robot, put up 21 points and 9 rebounds. Reynolds and Harangody are two of the leading candidates for Big East Player of the Year, and I hope this game tape is sent to the coaches after the season because it is exhibit-A as to why Scottie Reynolds should win Big East POY over Harangody. Here are the reasons why:

1. Wins and losses matter.

Yeah, Harangody got his 21 and 9, but his team lost (again). The Irish are in the middle of the pack in the Big East (4-4), whereas Reynolds' Wildcats are in first place (8-0). I know last season doesn't factor into this year's voting, but Notre Dame had very high expectations (preseason #9), yet failed to make the NCAA Tournament. He's only one piece of the puzzle, but the team's best player deserves part of the blame for that. Oh yeah, and Scottie Reynolds just so happened to make a game-winning shot to send his team to the Final Four. Back to this season, if Nova finishes first in the Big East and earns a #1-seed in the NCAA Tournament, and Notre Dame fails to make the NCAA Tournament, it will be tough the give the award to Harangody over Reynolds.

2. Reynolds makes his teammates better, Harangody does not.

Harangody has taken almost double the amount of shots as the next player on his team, so obviously the offense runs through the big man. Yet he is averaging less than two assists per game (1.7), and he's averaging over two turnovers per game (2.2). Reynolds, on the other hand, dishes out 3.3 assists per game, despite Corey Fisher (4.3) being the primary play maker. Reynolds has also significantly reduced his turnovers since Big East play started (1.6). They both only had one assist in this game, but Reynolds had just one turnover compared to Harangody's four.

3. Defense.
Scottie Reynolds isn't necessarily a lock down defender, but he gives full effort on the defensive end. I'm not sure Harangody even runs back on defense. For all I know he remains camped out under his own basket the entire game. Harangody is notorious for avoiding contact on the defensive end, afraid of getting into foul trouble. Need further proof? Look at the game the man Harangody was guarding, Antonio Pena, had. Pena had 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists, his first double-double of Big East play. The 14 points were the most he scored since he battled the ferocious front court of Fordham. It was the first time Pena reached double figure rebounds in Big East play. I love Pena, he's a very solid player, but he hasn't been the double-double machine that he was earlier in the season against the bigger athletic forwards of the Big East. Harangody may score and rebound like a Big East stud, but he defends like a mid-major dud.

4. Scottie is clutch, Luke is ???
Harangody scored 16 points in the first half, but disappeared in the second half where the game was decided, while Reynolds was busy scoring 13 of his points. Reynolds has made countless clutch plays and game-winning shots over his career, while Harangody's clutch factor is unknown because he hasn't played in enough big games during his time at Notre Dame.

5. Harangody is ugly.
Plain and simple. You don't want to see that mug on a plaque.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Nova Downs Red Storm (Must See TV Edition)

Villanova trailed by one at halftime, but Jay Wright's squad returned from MSG's locker room with tenacity, going on to beat the St. John's Red Storm 81-71. Nova was carried by a trio of 6-foot-nothing scoring assassins. Scottie Reynolds led the way with 19 points. Corey Fisher scored 18 and Maalik Wayns added 16 points. Villanova is now alone in first place in the Big East at 7-0, their best start ever to conference play.

Now that Leno has officially stolen the Tonight Show back from Conan, NBC is left scrambling to find replacement programing for its 10:00 time slot. Luckily, I have some ideas involving members of the Villanova basketball community.

Monday 10:00 PM
"Saved by the Bell: The College Years II (The New New Class)"
A reboot of the sequel to the hit series. Featuring Taylor King as California beach bum Zack Morris, Antonio Pena as muscle-bound A.C. Slater, Maurice Sutton as the wacky Screech Powers, and Ed Pinckney as the former sports star who returns to school as an R.A.

10:30 PM
"Fresh Prince of Benin"
Starring Mouphtaou Yarou as Will Smith and Russell Wooten as his cousin Carlton Banks. Watch as high jinks ensue while Mouph makes his transition from Africa to life in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Tuesday 10:00 PM
"Rollie's Recipes"
A cooking show hosted by Rollie Massimino, featuring his famous Italian pasta dishes.

10:30 PM
"The Two Coreys"

A reality show following Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes in their lives after high school in New Jersey as they try to balance athletics and academics.

Wednesday 10:00 PM
"Law and Order: PSU" (Public Safety Unit)
A new addition to the Law and Order franchise, starring Reggie Redding, Isaiah Armwood, and Dominic Cheek as Villanova Public Safety officers who patrol the campus searching for underage drinkers.

Thursday 10:00 PM
"24: Villanova"

St. Joe's fans have planned a terrorist attack on the Pavilion, and only one man can stop them... undercover CTU agent Jay Wright. He has 24 hours to prevent the attack, but Jay must beware of a mole inside CTU.

Friday 10:00 PM
"Walker, Nova Ranger"

Watch as Scottie Reynolds and his partner Maalik Wayns revive Chuck Norris' role as martial arts experts who fight crime in the Big East with roundhouse kicks and jumpshots.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jersey Boys Lead Nova Past Rutgers

Three former New Jersey high school stars led Villanova in a 94-68 rout over Rutgers at the RAC. Rutgers was never in this game, and at 0-6 in the Big East, they might pull a "Conan O'Brien" on Fred Hill before the season's over. The lone bright spot for the Scarlet Knights was freshman Dane Miller who had 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists.

Dominic Cheek - embarrassed former St. Anthony teammate Mike Rosario (1-8, 3 points) by scoring a career high 17 points. He showed his versatility by taking it strong to the basket and knocking down two 3-pointers.

Corey Stokes - was locked in from long range, knocking down four triples for 16 points. He seems to have broken out of whatever shooting slump he was in.

Corey Fisher - The former New Jersey High School Player of the Year had 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. I think all six of his field goals were scored in the paint. In classic Fisher Price fashion, he used a fake pass to toy with defenders while he went up for a layup.

Scottie Reynolds - It's either a really good or really bad sign when Scottie Reynolds and Isaiah Armwood score the same amount of points (9). In this case it was good. Nova's scoring was balanced, and the game was out of hand so quickly that the Cats didn't even need Big Shot Scott in this one.

Isaiah Armwood - was impressive in the first half, where he scored all nine of his points. He threw down a thunderous dunk, and with Armwood's athleticism, Fisher and the guards should be looking his way for alley-oops at least twice a game.

Maalik Wayns - like Fisher, Wayns cut through Rutgers' defense like it wasn't even there. He also tied a season-high with 4 assists.

Mouph Yarou - had 9 rebounds, but he looked lost on the offensive end. Whenever he got the ball deep in the post, he either traveled, stepped out of bounds, or committed an offensive foul. He seems more comfortable pulling up for the mid-range jumper, than taking it strong to the basket, which is not what I want to see from my power forward/center. I'll cut him some slack though, since he is still recovering from Hepatitis.

Reggie Redding - had 5 points and 5 rebounds. Like Reynolds, he wasn't really needed as Jay gave the youngsters lots of run.

Antonio Pena - co-led with Yarou for a game-high 9 rebounds, but picked up 4 personal fouls in only 15 minutes. Hamady Ndiaye (say that name five times fast) seemed to be giving him and Yarou fits inside. Ndiaye is the other bright spot for Rutgers this season, as he's third in the nation in blocked shots, and he had 5 swats in this game.

Taylor King - like Pena, King ran into some foul trouble, picking up 4 in just 12 minutes, limiting him to 5 points.

Maurice Sutton - had a block and a couple of rebounds in six minutes.

Russell Wooten - had his name chanted from up in the rafters of the RAC as he got into the final minute of the game.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Nova-Georgetown Awards

Despite losing another big lead, Villanova held on to beat Georgetown 82-77 Sunday afternoon at the Wachovia Center. It ended a 5-game Hoya winning streak... certainly a cause for awards.

The Brett Favre Award for Outstanding Senior Performance
Senior classmen Scottie Reynolds scored an efficient 27 points (8-15, 4-7, 7-8), and led his Wildcats to their fifth straight Big East win. Senior citizen Brett Favre threw 4 touchdowns and led his Vikings to the NFC Championship game. Scottie has been granted the moniker "Mr. Big Shot" by the media, but this time the little man came down with a big rebound that helped win the game. After the game coach John Thompson III admitted, "Scottie can't be contained."

The Shonn Green Award for Outstanding Rookie Performance
The Jets rookie running back broke for a 53-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to win the game for the Jets. Freshman Maalik Wayns scored 11 points and sank clutch free throws late in the second half to win the game for Villanova.

The Conan O'Brien Award for Getting Screwed by a Major Corporation

Conan is getting screwed by NBC and is losing the "Tonight Show". Kind of like how Corey Fisher got screwed by McDonald's when Chris Wright was named a high school All-American over him. Fisher outscored Wright, who struggled with fouls, 10-6. Who votes for those McDonald's All-American teams anyway? Ronald McDonald, Grimace, the Hamburglar, and Mayor McCheese?

The George Clooney Award for Best Performance in a Loss

For his performance in Up in the Air, Jay Wright George Clooney lost to Jeff Bridges for the Best Actor Award at the Golden Globes last night. Greg Monroe had a monster game in the Georgetown loss: 29 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 steals, and 2 assists. Nova had no answer for the versatile big man, but he didn't receive enough help from his teammates.

The "Jersey Shore" Award for Biggest Waste of Time
To the 10 minutes and 26 replays spent on reviewing the scuffle that wasn't between Armwood and Benimon over a rebound. That slight delay helped contribute to another two and a half plus hour game. Armwood showed some toughness on that play, and later in the game when he came up with a big steal from Greg Monroe. Jersey Shore seems to be the show everybody loves to hate, but I refuse to waste my time by watching it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nova Overcomes Louisville in Some Kind of Hybrid Form of Basketball

Dr. Naismith must be rolling over in his grave because the game Villanova and Louisville were playing was not the form of basketball he intended when he invented the game in 1891. There were 66 personal fouls, 94 free throws, 42 turnovers, and the 40-minute game took roughly 2 hours and 40 minutes to play. Rick Pitino employed his signature full court press, and between the frenetic pace, physical defense, and the white-out crowd (and coach) Villanova was flustered. They could barely move the ball across halfcourt, as evidenced by Reggie Redding's seven turnovers. Jay Wright got so outraged by the rough play and his team's inability to break the press that he was tee'd up and had to be held back by his coaches to avoid being ejected. Louisville got out to a 17-point lead midway through the first half, and at that point Villanova had two choices: 1) Get down on themselves and give up, or 2) Keep fighting and playing Villanova basketball. Luckily they chose the latter and were able to cut the halftime deficit to seven points.

Then the second half was all Villanova, or more specifically all Scottie Reynolds. Scottie scored 30 of his season-high 36 points in the second half and was nearly perfect shooting the ball (9-10 fg, 5-5 3pt, 13-17 ft). Villanova returned from the locker room more patient, finally figuring out how the break the Louisville press. Nova cut down on their turnovers from 17 in the first half, to just 5 in the second. Corey Fisher personified the turnaround with zero second half turnovers, after compiling four in the first half. They also took control of the boards in the second half. Louisville out-rebounded Villanova by 10 in the first half, and they had more offensive boards (15) than Nova had total rebounds (14). However, Nova out-boarded the Cardinals 22-17 in the second half. Taylor King led the team with 7 rebounds, all but one of which came in the second half.

You could say Pitino out-coached Jay Wright early in the game because Jay's squad wasn't initially prepared for the press, but in the end Pitino out-coached himself. As good as Scottie Reynolds was, Samardo Samuels was even more dominant. He had 21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks, and was literally perfect shooting the ball (4-4 fg, 13-13 ft). How somebody that unstoppable doesn't touch the ball on every possession is outrageous. Nova had no answer for him inside, yet Pitino seemed content to let his guards jack up threes, 33 of them in total, despite shooting only 21%. Villanova, on the other hand, was much more selective with the longball, and it paid off to the tune of 9-14, 64%.

Between the ultra-fast pace of play and the 33 personal fouls called on each team, depth became very important, especially later in the game. For the past couple of years, Louisville would win these types of games over Villanova because they always had a deeper bench. Now Villanova goes 11 deep, and Jay Wright took full advantage of that by playing 10 players for at least 10 minutes. Maalik Wayns stepped up to score 10 points in the first half to help Nova claw back. It's almost not fair when a player as good as Dominic Cheek is coming off the bench as your ninth man. Mouphtaou Yarou is the newest addition to the roation, and he seems to be getting his legs back under him, playing 14 minutes in the game. He showed some nice post moves on offense and provided a shot-blocking presence on defense, but he needs to learn how to avoid the ticky-tack fouls.

Villanova showed a lot of grit and perseverance to come through and win this game. Nova should get back to playing actual basketball in their next game, a showdown at noon in Philly against Georgetown and their classic Princeton offense.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nova Beats Marquette by 2... Again

That ending was a lot more exciting than it should have been. Villanova blew a 22-point lead with lazy and sloppy play in the second half. After a questionable intentional foul call on Corey Stokes, the Golden Eagles had the ball with 27 seconds left and a chance to tie the game with a two or take the lead with a three. Nova's defense came through with another big stop, just as they did in the first battle between these two teams, and like the last time, Villanova held on to win by two points, 78-76, for their 35th consecutive win at the Pavilion.

And a battle it was. This game had more hits and tackles than the Eagles had in the loss to Dallas later that night. Mouphtaou Yarou and Darius Johnson-Odom both had bandages on their heads. Taylor King layed on the floor in pain for several minutes after busting his head and shoulder. And Corey Stokes sent Lazar Hayward flying to the floor in what was a hard foul, but not flagrant.

Nova was getting anything they wanted offensively in the first half, and they looked to be on their way to another thrashing in the Pavilion, like the one they handed DePaul in the previous game. Stokes was back and on fire (16 points), Scottie Reynolds added 15 points, and three more Wildcats scored in double figures (Pena-11, Fisher-11, Redding-10). So how did Villanova lose such a big lead? Well, they seemed to get too comfortable with the lead, especially on the defensive end. They had several lapses on defense that resulted in backdoor layups and wide open threes. Also give credit to Marquette for turning up the pressure defensively. It's happened before this season where Villanova let a big lead slip, and there is a common theme in each of those instances: opponents' hot 3-point shooting in the second half.

Let's take a look at the data...
11/20 vs. Dayton: 18-point lead cut to 2, won by 7
Dayton: 4 threes made in 1st half (30.8%); 7 threes made in 2nd half (43.8%)

12/6 vs. Maryland: 16-point lead cut to 2, won by 9
Maryland: 3 threes made in 1st half (42.9%); 6 threes made in 2nd half (50%)

12/13 vs. Temple: Nova had 14 point lead in first half, lost by 10
Temple: 4 threes made in 1st half (36.4%); 7 threes made in 2nd half (63.6%)

1/9 vs. Marquette: 22-point lead cut to 2, won by 2
Marquette: 2 threes made in 1st half (25%), 9 threes made in 2nd half (60%)

The trends have been consistent. When Villanova gets up big, the opponent starts jacking up threes to try to come back, and Nova is unable to defend the 3-point line. They especially struggle against taller players who can shoot threes:

vs. Dayton: Chris Johnson 6'6 (3 threes made), Luke Fabrizius 6'9 (5 threes made)

vs. Maryland: Eric Hayes 6'4 (5 threes made) and Sean Mosley 6'4 (3 threes made)

vs. Temple: Juan Fernandez 6'4 (7 threes made), Ryan Brooks 6'4 (2 threes made), Craig Williams 6'9 (2 threes made).

vs. Marquette: Lazar Hayward 6'6 (4 threes made)

You can be all over someone on the perimeter, but if they're taller than you, they can just shoot it right over you. In the case of the 6'4 guards, those games took place while Reggie Redding was still suspended, so the 6'1 Corey Fisher and 6'2 Scottie Reynolds were forced to guard taller players. As for the front court 3-point shooters, Antonio Pena and Taylor King aren't quick or athletic enough to guard people out on the perimeter, and 6'5 Corey Stokes and 6'5 Reggie Redding (the team's best perimeter defender) are too short to guard the Lazar Haywards and Luke Fabriziuses of the world. The only player with the size, quickness, and athleticism to guard these types of players on the perimeter is 6'7 Isaiah Armwood; however, he is too young and raw to fill that role.

It's still too early to tell if these problems result from a simple lack of intensity and focus while playing with a big lead, or if Villanova truly has a problem defending taller players who can knock down the three. Villanova was lucky they were able to hold on to win this game, but they need to tighten up their perimeter defense to prevent another collapse in the future that may end in a loss. Finally, as Scottie Reynolds said, "There is no limit on our team if we can do that for 40 minutes, but we are not capable right now of doing that as a team for 40 minutes. That is our goal. When we get to that point we can be something special."

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Foye Caught in Arenas Circus

I knew I was taking a risk when I drafted Gilbert Arenas on my fantasy team, but I figured I would lose him to another knee injury, not a gun suspension. By now you know the story: Arenas and Javaris Crittenton had some kind of gambling dispute and Arenas brought guns into the team's locker room. Ever the jokester, Arenas tried to lighten the situation by playfully making gun gestures with his hands in a pregame huddle. Randy Foye had the misfortune of being caught in Arenas' vicinity during his antics and was fined $10,000 by the NBA. Being the upright citizen and proud Villanova grad that he is, Foye had all the right things to say afterward: "It was foolish, stupid, immature, but I've got to be a man and accept my penalty and I apologize to the fans and the organization for behaving in that manner."

It's unfair that Foye is being penalized for his teammate's actions, but in reality, this might be the best $10,000 Foye spends all year. For most of the season Foye was coming off the bench for Washington and was struggling to find consistent playing time. Now he replaces Arenas in the Wizards' rotation as the team's starting point guard, which is significant considering this is a contract year for Foye. Randy may lose $10,000 now, but he has an opportunity to showcase his talent this season and remake that 10k, plus a lot more, with a new contract over the summer. Foye is averaging 8 points this season, down from 16.3 last season, but he's scored 18 and 20 points in his first two games since Arenas was suspended indefinitely.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nova and DePaul in Avatar

With James Cameron's 3-D epic grossing over a billion dollars worldwide, I decided to do an Avatar-themed recap of the DePaul game. Plus, let's be honest, there's only so much you can say about a 99-72 shellacking, I have to spice it up somehow. If you are not one of the millions to have seen the movie yet, don't worry, there are no spoilers.

Jay Wright's Avatar...

... starring Mouphtaou Yarou as Jake Sully

Jake Sully is a paralyzed marine who is given a chance to walk again through the Avatar program. Yarou was given a second chance at Villanova after being sidelined with Hepatitis B for almost two months. Moupth had 4 points, 2 rebounds, and a block in 14 minutes, as Jay Wright will ease him back into the rotation gradually.

... and Jerry Wainwright as Colonel Quaritch

Potentially facing another winless Big East season, Wainwright's days as DePaul's head coach may be numbered, and that's a shame because the guy is a quote machine. Here's what he had to say about Taylor King after the game, "he has range that might start back in Piscataway. He is insane."

... and the DePaul Blue Demons as the Na'vi blue aliens

Memorable Quotes:

"They've sent us a message... that they can take whatever they want. Well we will send them a message. That this... this is our land!" - Jake Sully
A message was sent to DePaul... that this is our house! Villanova extended its Pavilion win streak to 34 games. The Wildcats had a little extra motivation because their last loss in the Pavilion came against DePaul three years ago.

"You should see your faces!" - Trudy Chacon
You should have seen DePaul's faces on defense as they watched shot after shot go in for Villanova. Nova shot a staggering 61% in the first half, taking a 25 point lead into the locker room.

"You have a strong heart; no fear. But stupid, like a child." - Neytiri
Maalik Wayns is fearless on the court, but he is young and still susceptible to freshmen mistakes. Wayns had a season-high 18 points in just 20 minutes off the bench. I've never seen someone go coast-to-coast and score so easily. However, he also led the team with 4 turnovers.

"One life ends; another begins." - Jake Sully
Corey Stokes sat out with a sore hamstring, and Isaiah Armwood took his spot in the starting five. Aside from his game-winning shot against George Mason, this was Armwood's best game as a Wildcat. He had just 6 points, but led the team in rebounds (7) and steals (5). Jay Wright really likes Armwood because of his length and athleticism, and he will likely continue to log major minutes, even when Stokes comes back.

"You haven't got lost in the woods, have you? You still remember what team you're playing for?" - Col. Quaritch
Although he had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Mac Koshwal may have forgotten which team he was on because he turned it over to Villanova seven times.

"You are not in Kansas anymore. You are on Pandora, ladies and gentleman." - Col. Quaritch
You are not playing out of conference cupcakes anymore. You are in the Big East. With DePaul out of the way, the schedule gets a whole lot tougher from here on out. Expect to see more down-to-the-wire games like last weeks against Marquette, especially with a rematch against the Golden Eagles coming up next. Their three Big East games have been decided by a total of
six points.

Some more thoughts on the game that I couldn't finagle into Avatar comparisons:
  • Scottie Reynolds scored 21 points, his tenth straight game in double figures and seventh game of the season scoring 20+, boosting his season average to 17.9 ppg. Jay gave Scottie some extra playing time in the final minutes to pad his stats and help him catch Kerry Kittles on the Villanova all-time scoring list.
  • Corey Fisher had a great bounce-back game, running the point flawlessly: 15 points, 6 assists, 0 turnovers. He also made a DePaul defender look silly with a Fisher Price crossover.
  • Jay Wright used the blowout to rest his big men Antonio Pena and Taylor King, 19 minutes each, though they did play well while on the floor.
  • Reggie Redding had 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists. For my 2010 predictions, I should have said Redding will record a triple-double. He has the best chance of anyone on the team because of his rebounding and passing versatility.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Thoughts, Resolutions, and Predictions

Villanova won both their first game of 2010 and their first Big East game of the season with a thrilling 74-72 victory over Marquette. Scottie Reynolds hit a tough shot with 18 seconds left to give Villanova the lead, then the Cats followed that up with a good defensive stop on the other end. Redding sank one free throw, then with 2 seconds left Marquette failed to get a final shot off in time as Nova held on for the win. Now, to ring in the new year, for each player I will give my quick thoughts on their performance in the Marquette game, propose a new year's resolution for them, and make a prediction for their future in 2010.

Scottie Reynolds
Game Thoughts: Down by one, less than twenty seconds remaining, on the road in front of a hostile crowd, and Scottie Reynolds was as cool as a cucumber. He pulled a behind-the-back-and-through-the-legs dribble move, normally reserved for the playgrounds, then drew contact and made the shot. Game-winners are now becoming routine for Scottie.
New Year's Resolution: To cut down on turnovers. He's averaging over three a game, but is off to a good start in the new year with just one t.o. in 30 minutes against Marquette.
2010 Prediction: Scottie will finish second to Kerry Kittles among Villanova's all-time scoring leaders.

Reggie Redding
Game Thoughts: Shot a poor 3 of 11 from the field and missed his first 2 free throws, but like fellow senior Scottie Reynolds, Reggie remained calm and confident under pressure, making 5 of his final 6 free throws to help ice the game.
New Year's Resolution: To never be as dumb as the Tennessee players caught driving with marijuana, open alcohol, and a gun.
2010 Prediction: Redding will finish the season second in average scoring and rebounding. He is currently second in both, so what I'm basically saying is that this is no fluke.

Corey Fisher
Game Thoughts: Fisher was surprisingly benched at the end of the game, and he only played seven minutes in the second half. Wayns was playing well, but I wouldn't think that needs to come at the expense of Fisher.
New Year's Resolution: To shoot less threes and more free throws, like at the beginning of the season.
2010 Prediction: Fisher will at least test the waters of the NBA Draft this summer.

Antonio Pena
Game Thoughts: An underwhelming game from Pena, just 4 points and 5 rebounds. He was outplayed by the smaller 6'6 Lazar Hayward (17 points, 14 boards, 3 assists).
New Year's Resolution: To practice free throw shooting. (67%)
2010 Prediction: This number zero will get caught with guns in the locker room like the other Agent Zero, Gilbert Arenas... No, not those guns, I'm talking about Pena's massive biceps.

Corey Stokes
Game Thoughts: Stokes' shooting slump continued with a 2-point (1-5) performance. That's five straight games without multiple 3-pointers made or double-digit scoring.
New Year's Resolution: To just keep shooting. His stroke is too sweet, eventually he will catch fire.
2010 Prediction: Stokes will make 5+ threes, score 20+ points, and officially break out of his funk in Nova's first game at the Wachovia Center, 1/17 vs. Georgetown.

Taylor King
Game Thoughts: King had an average game (6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists), though he continues to impress with his rebounding ability.
New Year's Resolution: To stay patient on offense and let the guards create open shots. He is not as effective at creating his own shot off the dribble.
2010 Prediction: King will score 24 points against Duke in the NCAA Tournament, and two rounds earlier Villanova will beat Miami despite a heroic 37-point outburst from Malcolm Grant.

Maalik Wayns
Game Thoughts: Wayns looked like Tony Parker with his speed and ability to slice through defenders and get to the basket. He tied his season-high with 16 points and earned crunch-time minutes over Corey Fisher.
New Year's Resolution: To study tape of Kyle Lowry and imitate.
2010 Prediction: Maalik will make the All-Big East Freshmen First Team.

Dominic Cheek
Game Thoughts: Cheek played a season-low seven minutes, which was surprising for two reasons: 1) He has played well in his limited minutes all season, and 2) Jay Wright could have used his depth to exploit Marquette's 7-man rotation.
New Year's Resolution: Work on jump shot, it's too high-arcing.
2010 Prediction: Dom will have at least one 20-point game by the end of the season.

Isaiah Armwood
Game Thoughts: Jay Wright is trusting Armwood with more playing time (14 minutes), but he still looks very raw. He almost caused a couple of turnovers because he's so eager to get rid of the ball whenever he touches it.
New Year's Resolution: To bulk up. He makes Maurice Sutton look like Barry Bonds circa 2007.
2010 Prediction: With his super-athleticism, Armwood will have a highlight-reel dunk this season, worthy of Sportscenter's Top 10.

Mouphtaou Yarou
Game Thoughts: Mouph was finally cleared to play, although he didn't get into this game.
New Year's Resolution: To just stay healthy. (fingers crossed)
2010 Prediction: I say Yarou will return to game action next week.

Maurice Sutton
Game Thoughts: Mo didn't get into the game until the final 2 seconds. He wasn't needed because of Marquette's undersized team.
New Year's Resolution: See Armwood, Isaiah.
2010 Prediction: Sutton will block more than double the amount of shots as anyone else on the team.

Jay Wright
Game Thoughts: He got the win, but as I mentioned before, I think Jay could have used his bench and ran the press more often.
New Year's Resolution: To stop yelling at the refs after a bad call.
2010 Prediction: Jay Wright will be the first one to break his New Year's resolution.