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11 February 2008

'Cats head to D.C. to renew rivalry

posted by NovaFan09
2/11/2008 10:00:00 AM

Villanova Wildcats (14-8, 4-6 BE) at
#6 Georgetown Hoyas (19-3, 9-2 BE)

Date: Monday, February 11, 2008
Location: The Verizon Center (Washington, D.C.)
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Television: ESPN

Official 'Nova coverage: game notes (PDF)
Georgetown coverage: Van Buren Boys || Hoya Saxa

Villanova travels down to Washington, D.C. as 13-point underdogs to the Big East's best team Monday, as the 'Cats look to push their record to 7-0 at the Verizon Center versus Georgetown.

The Hoyas are reeling after a loss to Louisville this past Sunday. Rick Pitino drew up an excellent game plan that limited Georgetown's offense.

After allowing nearly 81 points per game in their five game skid, the 'Cats limited Seton Hall to 28 percent shooting in the second half. Hopefully the 'Cats have turned the corner defensively just in time. Villanova is 12-2 when holding opponents under 75 points, and if Villanova can slow down GU by pressuring the guards in the backcourt, the game will slow down considerably.

Georgetown is led by Roy Hibbert, fueled by the stoic and stable guards Jonathan Wallace and Jessie Sapp, and has considerable contributions from freshman Austin Freeman and sophomore forward DaJuan Summers. Through and through, Georgetown is bigger and more experienced at nearly every position.

Keys to the game

Contain Hibbert:
The Hoyas use Roy Hibbert in the same way the San Antonio Spurs employ Tim Duncan: the offense runs through the center position. Hibbert essentially acts as a second point guard for the Hoyas, because nearly every offensive possession starts with Hibbert getting the ball down low and either kicking it out to his guards or creating his own offense. While Jay Wright's in-game planning has been under attack recently, there is no denying that he can stop Hibbert, as 'Nova limited the projected lottery pick to one shot attempt in their first meeting last year.

Limit GU offensive sets:
Under Coach John Thompson III, the Hoyas run a very deliberate offense. In order to beat Georgetown, Villanova must limit the amount of time the Hoyas are in their offensive sets. Last season Villanova had success in pressuring the Hoyas' inbounding passes, and once they got past half court and called a set, the shot clock was already down to 15-20 seconds. Saturday night, Rick Pitino employed an effective press, forcing GU into 15 turnovers en route to a Louisville victory.

Protect the ball:
Villanova must play a nearly flawless game in order to come out of tonight victorious. If Villanova is able to limit the Hoyas' offense, the game then comes down to Villanova's offensive capabilities. Limiting turnovers and taking quality shots are just some of the things the 'Nova coaching staff must emphasize throughout the game.


Hibbert and Patrick Ewing Jr. make up one of the most formidable forward combinations in all of the Big East, and Villanova's frontcourt will be hard-pressed to limit the damage. As the nation's premiere low post player, Hibbert has an assortment of pump fakes and back-to-the-basket moves. Drummond, Pena, and Cunningham must be careful to not get into foul trouble and play solid defense. Ewing Jr., an explosive player, is more athletic and physically imposing than Cunningham, and is a defensive force as a rebounder and shot blocker. Look for the 'Nova guards to take it to him looking for contact.

Final thoughts

Villanova will have its hands full tonight, but this team has surprised me more than once this season. Look towards the bench during the game, to see if Malcolm Grant has traveled with the team, amidst speculation of a possible transfer. Grant has already lost one year at prep school, and if he were to transfer again he would likely sit out another season, making him a sophomore a full two years older than the rest of his peers. Here is to hoping these rumors are not true.

As always, you may predict the final score of the game in the comments section below. The author of the closest prediction will receive a mention in the game recap.

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At 10:08 AM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous Homo Sexa said...

Gaytown 74
Villanofun 65

At 10:09 AM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GeorgeTown 83
Villanova 51

This will NOT be pretty, folks.

At 10:37 AM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just like in 1985, we will stop the Horrible Hoyas. Dwayne Anderson will spark an extremely productive offensive outing with Malcolm Grant coming off the bench, silencing all transfer rumors, as he shoots above 75% from behind the arc draining at least seven 3s.

Nova 79
Team that got runner up to us in '85

At 10:49 AM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big Difference: The 1985 team had a coach capable of motivating his team.

At 11:13 AM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay can motivate. The guys can't hit baskets or hold on to the ball.

At 11:32 AM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous bpeach01 said...

61 Nova, 60 GTown

I'm an optomist. If they win, it will be on defense and it will be a low scoring game, given their horrific fg%s of late. I was at last year's win at the Verizon Center- the building does not get very loud, as compared to many other arenas I've been too. The X-Factors are Cunningham, Drummond, and Pena. If they can swarm Hibbert and limit his offense, and disrupt his distribution, they have a small shot. I dream of the day when they can turn the corner, and put those 10 beautiful minutes in the 'Cuse game into a whole game.

At 12:19 PM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous Dorion said...

Gotta keep cheering!

Cats 65

At 12:34 PM, February 11, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Gtown 65
Villanova 40

At 12:34 PM, February 11, 2008, Blogger Jameson said...

Georgetown 74, Villanova 58

At 1:01 PM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous JA said...

I can't remember any previous year where I've still not really understood how good the team is or what they're made of this late in the season. Each game has been a surprise - either they've played surprisingly badly, surprisingly well, or the line-up/playing time has been unexpected.

Regardless, they've got a shot at it tonight, however slim.

Nova 67
Georgetown 65

At 1:15 PM, February 11, 2008, Blogger NovaFan09 said...

40 points, Pete?

GU 74
Nova 60

Forwards have a lot of work to do.

At 2:08 PM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous Monica Thompson said...

G'Town 75
Nova 55

At 2:13 PM, February 11, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Haha... I am not too optimistic about this game.

At 2:25 PM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete, get with the program. The Dub-Cats will score more than 40 by half.

At 2:37 PM, February 11, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

I hope so

At 3:09 PM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous CallingForColenda said...

WhatsAHoyas - 71
NovaKittens - 53

At 4:53 PM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous Abby said...

I think the team will be hard tonight and put in the effort. Just a tough spot after G'town lost this weekend.

G'town 74
Nova 55

At 6:18 PM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nova 68
gtown 64

I've got to say i really love your optimism every game bosshoghazzard! It gives myself more hope.

I really know we can do it tonight, we've just got to play hard and smart, and WITH MALCOLM GRANT!

At 6:40 PM, February 11, 2008, Anonymous Lip said...

Shades of 85!!

Nova 68
G-Town 62

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