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25 January 2008


'Cats look for some luck of the Irish

posted by NovaFan09
1/25/2008 02:00:00 PM
vs.


#18 Villanova Wildcats (13-4, 3-3 BE) vs.
Notre Dame Fightin' Irish (13-4, 3-2 BE)


Date: Saturday, January 26, 2008
Location: Wachovia Center (Philadelphia, PA)
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
Television: WPHL (Philadelphia), MSG (New York), and more regional channels

Notre Dame coverage: Black and Green || BE Basketball Report

Villanova looks to get back on track in a Saturday matinée at the Wachovia Center against Notre Dame, one of the Big East's toughest teams.

If anything, Coach Wright and fans alike are looking for consistency from the Wildcats, a team that no doubt has frustrated everyone following them this year at one point or another. Filled with talent and potential from top to bottom, 'Nova has shown flashes of brilliance, but only to time and time again fall to lesser opponents that managed to capitalize on the weaknesses and shortcomings of these young 'Cats.

I question how much the fans will be into the game tomorrow at the Wachovia Center. On one hand, I hope that having a marquee opponent come into the Wach will be enough to get the Sea of V amped up. As a student, however, I know that getting ready for a noon tip-off, combined with the memories of a thoroughly crushing loss against Rutgers, will make it hard for Villanova's "sixth man" to bring the energy.

I intended to make this game preview more about the state of 'Nova Nation than the game itself. It goes without saying that this Notre Dame team is a force to be reckoned with. With forwards Luke Harangody and Rob Kurz averaging a combined 32.3 points and 17.6 rebounds per game, this frontcourt is as strong as any the 'Cats have faced to date. Similarly, Kyle McAlarney and Tory Jackson shore up the backcourt, bringing with them leadership and superior ball control. This game will be a test for 'Nova's guards as much as for their big men.

Keys to the game

Defense:
It is my assessment that the Wildcat guards are over-aggressive in their trap defense. If the ballhandler breaks a press or a trap by the 'Cats, more often than not, they are able to find an open man on the wing just salivating for his opportunity to sink a 3-pointer. I would like for the 'Cats to revert to a man-to-man defense at some point this season, but unfortunately the size of the Irish prevents Wright from making that switch. The guards must do their job and not try to do too much by themselves on defense, a defense which has an emphasis on team. If this happens, many more shots will be contested, and the defense will be better as a whole.

Rebounding: After a solid stretch of games, Antonio Pena's production has dropped off some. This game, it is imperative that one of Villanova's forwards get position in the paint to rebound. Harangody has been immovable inside thus far. Look for Cunningham to get on his man and stick with him while the guards try to strip the ball from Kurz when he brings it down low.

Crowd factor: As detailed above, the bandwagon nature of Villanova fans can be disastrous to a young team looking to build on and learn from their failures. 'Nova Nation must bring the noise and show this team it is behind the Wildcats, win or lose.

X-factor

Bounce-back effect:
Count me among the believers that the younger a team is, the better chance the players have to bounce back and perform after a bad loss. I get the impression that the personalities of Villanova's stars won't allow the players to harp on their own mistakes. I think this team, more than any in years past, has the ability to forget about all the negative press and just go out and play basketball. That, more than anything, will guide the 'Cats to victory Saturday.

This is an important conference game for Villanova in more ways than one, and it will be exciting to see how the game plays out. If you're attending the game as a Villanova partisan, wear your 'Nova Nation shirts, and start the cheers early and often.

Remember to predict the final score and offer your own keys to the game in the comments section below.

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23 Comments:

At 2:26 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous JA said...

Great preview again. If any students need some help getting amp'd for the game, just look for the big group of alumni that will be outside the stadium tailgating starting around 9am

Nova - 77
ND - 73

 
At 2:35 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Villanova 65
ND 64

 
At 2:47 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger Eric said...

I agree this team will bounce back.

Nova 82
ND 76

 
At 4:01 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the score predicted on kenpom.com., using pace and offensive efiiciency of both teams to predict the score. it is a site devoted to college basketball statistics, if havent been there you should check it out. I hope this is wrong obviously but i dont see jay making the necessary changes like playing grant 30+ minutes, when we all knew this should have happened many games ago.

79 ND
75 Nova

 
At 4:47 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger Foye's Boy said...

lets get the tailgate going at 930 and lets get that place rockin

nova - 81
nd - 75

 
At 4:49 PM, January 25, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

Villanova 75
Notre Dame 70

 
At 6:51 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Gregg said...

Villanova 70
Notre Shame 67

 
At 6:54 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Lip said...

Nova 72
ND 66

 
At 7:12 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Nova Ed '77 said...

Just found this blog ... love your insight. You just may be as big a fan as I was as a student over 30 years ago. Keep it up and go Cats!

 
At 7:13 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found this blog ... love your insight. You just may be as big a fan as I was as a student over 30 years ago. Keep it up and go Cats!

 
At 11:14 PM, January 25, 2008, Anonymous Richie C said...

I'm sickened by you bandwagon fans. This team still is young basically a bunch of kids. When they get the chemistry needed they will be a top 4 team in the Big East. They have shown they can hang with the top crop teams by beating Pitt at home, and Cuse in there building. They can still get a 6 or 7th seed in the tournament. There 4-1 vs the top 50 rpi this year as well which is really strong. 11 Big East games to go they can do this if Jay puts the right team on the floor. However if I see Clark start and/or get more then 20 minutes against ND I'm going to throw up in my mouth. He shows nothing I'd rather see Ott Or Fchuisi out there, hell maybe even Colenda. Redding isn;t very good, I think I have a better jumper then he does. Anderson is way more athletic then the both of them but is not very skilled in the offensive department. And Pete how is this a major set back to the program? UNC just lost a similiar game to Maryland who sucks this year. It's one game with a very good team with a great future for next year. I will copy this into the ND thread as well.

Anyway

Nova 76
ND 64

 
At 12:39 AM, January 26, 2008, Blogger Jameson said...

Notre Dame 86
Villanova 73

Villanova's defense isn't good enough for the Irish offense. Luke Harangody is going to tear the 'Nova defense apart because of the Wildcats lack of a decent forward.

 
At 1:26 AM, January 26, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

richie,

Losing to Rutgers is much worse than losing to Md. Md has won a national championship this decade; enough said. Losing to Rutgers in basketball this year is like losing to Appalachian State.

 
At 1:33 AM, January 26, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1:37 AM, January 26, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Not to mention that Md is MUCH better than RU this year.. MD is 2-2 in conference with an RPI of 82... Rutgers was 0-6 with an RPI in the 200s.

If Md played Rutgers on a neutral court right now the Terps would be favored by about 10

 
At 11:51 AM, January 26, 2008, Anonymous shawnymac said...

Nova 76
ND 73

 
At 12:20 PM, January 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you're not in one of the regions that can watch this game on tv (which, sadly i am not) you can watch the game from the link on www.channelsurfing.net

FYI..

 
At 12:31 PM, January 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shane Clark is just terrible

 
At 1:25 PM, January 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NIT here we come

 
At 1:42 PM, January 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone just remember that Foye, Sumpter, Ray and Fraser got kicked around their first year in college.

We are not a good team this year, but we will get better.

Scottie is either hurt or just going through a slump and we go as he goes right now.

We will go to the NIT get some experience and hopefully be back next year.

Being ranked to start the season this year was not justified and the ranking process is silly early in the year. This is a young team that just is not good right now. Give them time.

 
At 2:14 PM, January 26, 2008, Anonymous emily said...

i agree with annonymous, the latest annonymous. I was very upset iwth this team at first, but im realizing that this year is going to be bad, and we'll just have to deal. We're so young, but i think we're going to learn a lot this year and next year we'll be a real threat. It appears that we're not going to lose any players, and with stokes beginning to come into his own, i really do believe next year is our year!

 
At 2:50 PM, January 26, 2008, Anonymous Gregg said...

They're still under-achieving a lot. Stokes was an All-American, Fisher dominated in high school, and they are being outplayed by a three star recruit in Malcolm Grant.

We could be so much better if we had Drummond, so please, does anyone know when he will be back? I still believe that they can get an invitation to the Dance, if he is available.

 
At 4:14 PM, January 26, 2008, Anonymous mildcats said...

notre shame 90
villanova 80

these picks need some diversity

 

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