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29 January 2008

'Nova looks to end skid at Pitt rematch

posted by NovaFan09
1/29/2008 06:00:00 PM

Villanova Wildcats (13-5, 3-4 BE) at
#21 Pittsburgh Panthers (16-4, 4-3 BE)

Date: Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Location: Petersen Events Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Television: ESPNU

Pittsburgh coverage: Pitt Blather || Post-Gazette

Official game notes (PDF): Villanova.com

Villanova returns to action Wednesday night looking to snap its two-game losing streak. The 'Cats will travel across Pennsylvania for a rematch with the Pittsburgh Panthers. In the last meeting this season between these two teams on Jan. 6, Villanova edged Pitt 64-63 at the Pavilion.

After a slight identity crisis immediately following the loss of Levance Fields and Mike Cook, the Panthers have gelled together as of late, putting together a 4-3 conference record, despite a surprising loss to Rutgers.

In the last Villanova-Pitt game, it took another dose of Malcolm Grant heroics for 'Nova to come out with a victory. Grant, who went off for 22 points, was once again the catalyst for a Villanova comeback. In what has been an issue all season long, Villanova played flat for most of the game, shooting 34 percent from the field.
Defensively, 'Nova was out-rebounded 43-31, but did force the Panthers into committing 22 turnovers. Not only is this game a must-win from a record standpoint; the 'Cats must also win to revive the disappointed fan base and avoid a mental slump in a crucial stretch of the season.

Keys to the game

Contain Young and Blair:
If the Notre Dame game was any indication of how sorely missed Casiem Drummond is, one must look no further than the stat line Luke Harangody put up: 25 points and 10 rebounds on 8-14 shooting, including 9-13 from the line. In Villanova's one-point victory over Pitt, DeJuan Blair dominated the 'Cats inside to the tune of 12 points and 15 rebounds, while Sam Young added an easy 16 points. Villanova cannot afford to have Pena and Cunningham in as much foul trouble as they were in against ND if they are to have any chance of keeping the two Pitt forwards from putting the game away.

Collapse on their guards: Villanova must harass Pitt's ballhandlers and force them to make bad passes. Last meeting, Villanova scored 28 points off 22 Pitt turnovers, and every basket was critical in a one point victory.

Make Pitt keep up: Jamie Dixon's squad did a tremendous job of melting the game clock while methodically slowing the pace of the entire game down last time. Villanova thrives when playing at a faster pace. Villanova's forwards have to execute quick outlet passes to the guards, who in turn must beat the slow defending Pitt guards off of the dribble.


Dante Cunningham:
Dante did not put up his usually solid numbers against Notre Dame, partly because he was in foul trouble most of the night. If Cunningham plays within himself on offense by not forcing shots and allowing the game come to him, he should be good for double-digit points. Defensively, he and the rest of the frontcourt must put a body on Pitt down low.

Final thoughts

This Pitt team is going to give Villanova everything it can handle.

Remember to add your own insights in the comments section below, and to predict the final score in our ongoing contest.

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At 6:58 PM, January 29, 2008, Anonymous Tony said...

Pitt 74
Nova 64

Blair and Young too much to handle inside, Ramon goes off from 3pt range, a la mcalarney

At 9:44 PM, January 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

should we switch to a 2-3 zone perhaps?

At 10:11 PM, January 29, 2008, Anonymous ambicious said...

nova 80
pitt 70

i think their humiliation and lack of effort as of late will give them a painful realization, and kick 'em into gear!

At 1:09 AM, January 30, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Nova 71
Pitt 68

At 8:51 AM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous JA said...

The score may end up being a lot higher than this, but similar to the game at the pavilion earlier this season this will be a close contest that could go either way. Probably.

Nova 66
Pitt 64

At 9:24 AM, January 30, 2008, OpenID bosshoghazzard said...

Boom. Time to turn the season around. Lets see if Jay Wright has learned anything about his poor selection of starting lineups. Grant, Fischer, Reynolds, Pena, Cunningham. Clark should never go in (lets hope he transfers.) We lose this game, we don't even make the NIT.

At 9:51 AM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous WheresChrisCharlesWhenYouNeedHim said...

the young cats continue to play flat and not live up to their potential whatsoever....

the zoo - 73
nova nation - 61

At 11:42 AM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Joey said...

pitt's frontcourt will be too much to handle, again. Home court played a huge advantage last time. It will again this time.

Pitt - 68
Nova - 62

At 12:00 PM, January 30, 2008, OpenID bosshoghazzard said...

We are gonna shoot above 50% from 3 to save the season.

Nova 83
Pitt 74

At 12:32 PM, January 30, 2008, OpenID MatadorM83 said...

Pitt 72 - Villanova 55

At 12:32 PM, January 30, 2008, OpenID MatadorM83 said...

No reason to believe that Jay Wright will motivate this team to play 40 minutes

At 1:08 PM, January 30, 2008, Blogger Eric said...

Nova 80
Pitt 76

At 1:18 PM, January 30, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:19 PM, January 30, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

Villanova 71
Pitt 66

The 2 Coreys score around 30 combined points

At 4:37 PM, January 30, 2008, Blogger Scot said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:38 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Ifwehadchrischarlesinourfrontcourtstillwewouldbe#1 said...

Pitt 78
Nova 68

At 4:56 PM, January 30, 2008, Blogger VUhoops.com said...

Pitt- 84
'Nova- 73

At 5:21 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Jair Veldhuis said...

Giants 23
Pats 17

At 5:39 PM, January 30, 2008, Blogger Jameson said...

Pitt 82
Villanova 68

Don't go to the 2-3, Villanova isn't long enough to do that.

Even though they are short handed Pitt should win this game easily.

Going for the top prediction two games in a row!

At 6:55 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Gregg said...

Villanova 75
Pitt 74

I'm trying to stay positive. In order to win this game they will need to play excellently. I don't think that Pitt has ever lost 2 in a row in that stadium.

Reynolds is going to go off and drop 28. He'll get good support from Dante, Tone, and Grant.

At 7:11 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone else glad shane clark is feeling under the weather?

At 7:12 PM, January 30, 2008, Blogger Jameson said...

That's a strong start there for the Wildcats.

At 7:16 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous richie said...

Woohoo great start like always boys. I can tell Hay really has you motivated.

At 7:24 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good to see Cas back! But come on anderson and redding on at the same time? where is malcom?

At 7:44 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Gregg said...

Wow, they're really shooting lights out!

At 8:02 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

malcolm, malcolm, malcolm!!! oh yeah, it doesn't matter what we think!!!

At 8:53 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Bruiser said...

We suck

At 8:57 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it kills me to admit it, but bruisers right.

At 9:03 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous richie said...

Its official we suck. No NIT for this team. Jay Wright is to busy gelling his hair before the game then getting them ready to play. Man they sicken me. Where the hell is Grant? I hope he transfers for his own good. This slide is Jays fault and no one else. How does Grant go from starting to not even playing a minute. WTF JAY!!! He should just go coach for the sixers along with Larry Brown. Man I miss Nardi, Sheridan and Sumpter. This team isn't half as good as them even with Sumpter playing on one leg and Nardi with a bum ankle. Stokes and Fisher are not 5 star prospects. There low 4s to high 3s. Jay is a worthless coach when theres no seniority leadership. Oh look theres Grant now checking in with 3 minutes left, its too late Jay, you waited to long to use the Big East leading three point shooter. No he has to ride and die with Redding and Anderson. Two of the most horrible players on the team. Man that felt good to get that out of my system.

At 9:06 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous richie said...

Oh look Jay theres malcolm draining another three. In your face.

At 9:20 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Bruiser said...

Bash me if you want for being negative on this website, but Jay is not a good coach. He is a good recruiter and he connects with the players in a sense that they like him.

Remember, people were ready to let Jay walk until they turned their season around at home against Kansas when Roye, Ray, Sumpter and Fraser were juniors. Two good years, with a bunch of real high quality guys. These guys need coaching to maximize their talent. Jay is not getting it done.

Jay has no idea what he is doing right now.

At 9:22 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Gregg said...

Now I'm starting to consider getting rid of Jay Wright. You guys can go on and on about how he led us to the elite 8, but that was all Foye, Ray, Nardi, and Lowry, not his coaching. What type of an offense do they run? Oh, thats right, they don't have one. It's give the ball to Reynolds, and feed Pena in the post so he can miss 8 shots under 2 feet. This team has potential, it just seems like they don't care AT ALL. Jay, what is the point of wasting 35 minutes of the game and then putting Grant in the game for the last 5. You would think that he would have learned from the previous Pitt game when Grant dropped 22...but no. Oh, by the way, thanks for wasting Drummond's season.

At 9:24 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Gregg said...

You beat me to it, Bruiser, I totally agree.

At 9:25 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous emily said...

i just feel bad for malcolm, hes arguably the best player on the team. I mean he's not perfect but he deserves more than what, 7 minutes a game? i dont get it! has he not proven himself time and again that he is worth of minutes? He works his butt off for a lousy team, and gets NOTHING in return. this game was horrrendous, im by no means a bandwagon fan, but its hard to find anything to like about tonight..

At 9:27 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous emily said...

gregg, i totally agree with everything you just said. im outraged and heartbroken, i just cant help but give up on this team because of jay wright's coaching. And cas shouldve been redshirted, this WAS a complete waste of a season for an outstanding player. :[

At 9:31 PM, January 30, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

I very much disagree with Wright's playing time decisions once again... get ready for a rant tonight in the next post.

At 9:33 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Kittles said...

Pete - Interested to hear the commentary.

I have never met Jay. Is he just not a smart guy?

At 9:36 PM, January 30, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

I think Jay is a good leader of the program; I just have some problems with his playing time decisions. Absent of more information, 22 mins for Stokes (0-5) and 8 mins for grant who torched Pitt last time is inexcusable. It takes me a few hours to do the game recap so it should be up much later tonight.

At 9:49 PM, January 30, 2008, OpenID MatadorM83 said...

Why did any of you have any reason to believe that Jay Wright would motivate this team to play 40 mins?

At 10:00 PM, January 30, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

I don't think it is a problem of motivation. I think the problem lies with the rotation.

At 10:16 PM, January 30, 2008, Anonymous Beasley!!!!!!! said...

If only we had Baker Dunleavey still. He would have smoked Pitt.

At 10:33 PM, January 30, 2008, Blogger NovaFan09 said...

Tonight I was at a sports bar with several friends and we were discussing Grant's playing time. I have learned that Malcolm Grant suffered a concussion in the last Cincinnati game.

According to Asst. Coach Doug West, who spoke to about 100 students prior to the home game against DePaul, Grant suffered a concussion midway through the game against the Bearcats.

Cincinnati forwards were setting screens and picks on Villanova guards with the intention of "taking them out."

Grant, along with the rest of Villanova's backcourt, was advised to be weary of Cincy's big men and their game plan.

Despite warning, Grant got licked late in the game. I for one will not speculate any further if this is the case Malcolm has been riding the bench, but this is coming from a credible source who was present when West made the announcement.

More to follow

At 1:57 PM, January 31, 2008, Anonymous I like poopy said...

nova is a great team but not as good as rutgers


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