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22 February 2008

'Cats look to cool down Huskies

posted by NovaFan09
2/22/2008 04:00:00 PM

Villanova Wildcats (16-9, 6-7 BE) vs.
#13 Connecticut Huskies (21-5, 10-3 BE)

Date: Saturday, February 23, 2008
Location: Wachovia Center (Philadelphia, PA)
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
Television: ESPN

Official 'Nova coverage: Official Site
UConn coverage: UConn blog (excellent blog by UConn beat writer)

Villanova welcomes the nation's hottest team to the Wachovia Center Saturday, as the 13th-ranked Connecticut Huskies travel to Philadelphia to take on the streaking Wildcats for a matinée matchup.

Losers of three of their first six conference games, the Huskies have ripped off 10 straight victories and now stand at 10-3 in the Big East, just a half-game back of Georgetown and Louisville.

Like Villanova, Connecticut doesn't carry a senior on the roster. The maturity of their underclassmen, however, has increased tenfold from a year ago. Anchoring an imposing frontline is likely the Big East's most improved player, Hasheem Thabeet. The 7'3" sophomore not only chips in 10.3 ppg and 7.9 rpg, but leads the conference in blocked shots with 115, a 4.4 per-game average. Jeff Adrien (14.4 ppg and 9.2 rpg) and Stanley Robinson solidify the frontcourt for UConn, which as a team averagea 42.5 rebounds each game.

A.J. Price has put behind his off-court issues and has put it together this season. The reigning Big East player of the week, Price averaged 24.5 points and 8 assists last week in wins versus Notre Dame and South Florida. In light of Jerome Dyson's alcohol-related suspension, Craig Austrie has proven to be a valuable replacement.

Keys to the game

Emphasize rebounding:
UConn is an extremely efficient rebounding team. Villanova, despite its size, is a very good rebounding team, as well. To win this game and halt the Huskies, 'Nova needs to clean up the glass. This assignment starts with Cunningham, Pena, and, to an extent, Dwayne Anderson.

Penetrate: Villanova's guards can not be afraid to take it to the rim. Two of the better dribble-drive penetrators in the Big East, Fisher and Reynolds, should take it to Thabeet and get him in foul trouble early. Remember last year when Scottie went off for 40 points. It was his effective penetration that made defenders play a step off of him, allowing for Scottie to drain open threes, as well.

Start hot: Getting off to a fast start will be of the utmost importance. Wednesday night, 'Nova took WVU out of the game from the get go. If 'Nova can start strong this game and build a quick lead, it may go a long way into getting into UConn's head.


Wachovia crowd:
Nothing compares to the Pavilion, where the 'Cats are undefeated on the season. Unfortunately, Villanova tends to choose revenue over home-court advantage when it comes to scheduling primetime matchups, with the majority of them being played out at the Wach. While the crowd acts as a sixth man for 'Nova at the Pavilion, it has essentially been taken out of games this year at the Wachovia Center. Blame it on the size of the arena or what have you, but something is not right. 'Nova fans need to get loud and keep the noise high all game to help guide the 'Cats to victory.

Remember to predict the final score and post your own thoughts on what should be a great match-up.

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At 12:26 AM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous Sean Don said...

Scottie Reynolds (aka Husky Killer) is going to go off again this year and score 31 points. Good guys win in a high scoring 74-69 game.

At 12:37 AM, February 23, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Uconn 75
Villanova 70

At 8:20 AM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nova 71
uconn 67

At 9:46 AM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous Big D said...

scottie reynolds will get 25pts, and stokes is going to be hot again and have 17, High Scoring game for college basketball, nova 78, Uconn 76

At 10:48 AM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous Michael said...

Villanova 81
Uconn 76

Darn!!! I hade seats in row 17 smack in the middle and now i'm sick, and its my birthday!! erghhhhh!!!

At 10:50 AM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous Michael said...

I agree with big D. Stokes should have an explosive preformance. Its all up to the NovaNation crowd to get the job done.

At 2:23 PM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ALl I can say is WOW Jay Wright did something to this team because they have defaietely been different the past few games...the Gtown call put them over the top

At 2:31 PM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous imisskylelowry said...

Sooooo now everyone is back to supporting Jay Wright? Are you all the same people who said he was disgracing us and called for his head?

The man's a fantastic recruiter (we're not UNC people...), a great motivator, a calming presence (okay he does take some random technicals), and gets the job done.

Does he sub too much? Maybe. But he was trying to find what worked. The Clark situation also set him back. This guy was the team captain and its easy for us to say he shouldn't see the court, but its obviously going to take Jay longer to make that happen.

Does he draw up perfect plays? I really don't know. I don't think he's an Xs and Os coach, but let's be honest. He consistently shuts down Hibbert and Uconn's big men with a small line-up. He's been doing this since he's been at Nova. The man has a great game plan and schemes.

I never doubted him. Shame on all of you who flip-flop on this issue.

At 4:30 PM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote that post about WOW...and Jay Wright was never a bad coach in my mind...I knew from the getgo there would be growing pains I guess those who put down Jay think Coach K is a bad coach or Bob Knights a bad or maybe the opposing coach today (Calhoun) is a bad coach...

At 5:15 PM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous Big D said...

todays game was amazing, i had the oppurtunity to go. The crowd saw a slip by nova with 7mins to go and we helped them win this game. Great day for nova nation.

At 6:25 PM, February 23, 2008, Blogger Jamie said...

big d with the great call on Stokes tearin' it up.

I guess today proves that Malcolm is a goner seeing as he didn't hit the floor at all.

I hope we get some more news on Scottie's injury (?) he was limping pretty bad.

Oh and Michael - I was in the same boat.. .looked forward to this game since the beginning of the season and I woke up this morning feeling like death... aannd i hate myself

At 7:21 PM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

whats everyone think we still need to do in order to make the tourney?!

At 8:09 PM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous todd said...

to make the tourney we still need to win out or win 3/4 with and at least 2 in the BE tourney. if i had to pick one of the two, the louisville game would be a much better win than marquette because it is away. i would be surprised to see them win out but 3/4 and 2 wins in the BE tourney is not out of the question with the way they have been playing. casiem is out for the season which should hurt a little (although it didn't seem so today).

as for malcolm grant, everyone on this site should read this article... http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/colleges/villanova/20080223_Taking_it_all_in_stride.html

stop all the rumors about him, he is a young short guard who is struggling to adjust and play defense, just like i have been saying all year. his end-game performances have been way overhyped (especially on this site). he seems like a good kid though who is willing to work hard and eventually he will be a major contributor to this team.

At 8:12 PM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous todd said...

sorry the link didn't all fit. this is the second part. or you can go on vuhoops.com and find the link there under the article taking it all in stride.


At 8:18 PM, February 23, 2008, Blogger Eric said...

The comment about Grant is ignorant for two reasons: 1) he did play today, and 2) all the rumors and conjecture are apparently baseless, according to this article

At 9:32 PM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous Big D said...

you think about it, villanova needs to win the south florida and providence game no doubt, as for the other 2, id rather beat marquette because its a win against a ranked team and it helps with the resume, but if we lost at home, it would look bad cause then we have no momentum going into louisville, i say we win out. Grab cuse or cinci in the first round, get gtown or ND in the 2nd round and get some revenge, and lets make the turny.

At 9:32 PM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous Big D said...

you think about it, villanova needs to win the south florida and providence game no doubt, as for the other 2, id rather beat marquette because its a win against a ranked team and it helps with the resume, but if we lost at home, it would look bad cause then we have no momentum going into louisville, i say we win out. Grab cuse or cinci in the first round, get gtown or ND in the 2nd round and get some revenge, and lets make the turny.

At 10:22 PM, February 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...


We disagreed in a previous thread about what it will take for Nova to make the tournament. I'm going to revise my estimate, but still disagree a little. I think 3/4 and one BE tourney win, not 2, does it.

The precedent that I assume that you are looking at is Syracuse last year. But (a) that was unusual; I would bet that it is the first time that a BE team won 20 plus in the regular season AND 10 BE games and still didn't make the Tournament, and (2) as mediocre as Nova's non-league slate was, Syracuse's non-league schedule last season was even weaker.

And you have to think that, if they are on the bubble, the injustice of the Georgetown game will have at least some weight.

Finally, keep in mind that most of their biggest wins are coming late in the season.

Though 3/4 is going to be a tall order, even as well as they are playing now.

At 11:34 AM, February 24, 2008, Anonymous imisskylelowry said...

If you really think 3 out of 4 and then 1 BET gets us in you are crazy. That gives us about a 50% chance. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have a close to guaranteed at-large bid.

Syracuse still has a game AT Notre Dame, and home vs Marquette and Pitt, with an away game at Seton Hall in there. If they go 3/4 and win 1 in the BET... you think we're actually in over them if we finish the same? It's a very very tough call. Losing that game at home to Syracuse is very aggravating.. more so than Rutgers.

West Virginia I find having a weaker resume than Syracuse. Provided they don't beat Uconn at home, I think if we take care of ours we'll leap frog them.

The only way 1 in the BET gives us better than a 50% chance is that WVU and Syracuse don't put together similar runs at the end of the regular season, AND the majority of the mid-major conference leaders win their conference tournaments.

If we truly want to control our own fate... 3/4 +2 BET. That's the mantra people... don't hang your hat on the committee thinking about NCST and GTown. I don't think they have the time to care about that!

At 5:51 PM, February 24, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Memphis lost with Tyreke there so maybe the turnaround for us sparks a decision from Mr. Evans...

At 9:35 PM, February 24, 2008, Anonymous Gregg said...

I like your thinking, but 26-1 is better than 17-9.

At 9:39 PM, February 24, 2008, Anonymous JL said...

i highly doubt one loss for memphis is going to change his mind about potentially going there. i mean it says more that he came for the lsu game at the wachovia center and left at halftime or something like that. as good as he is i think everyone would much rather have a big man than another guard. another guard isn't going to put us over the edge to be national champs its going to be having an elite big man. at least thats my opinion.

At 6:08 AM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Randy Foye my boy said...

Nova wins tonite 75-65


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