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26 February 2008


'Cats lose control in sloppy defeat to MU

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
2/26/2008 01:48:00 PM



Marquette 85
Villanova 75
(box score)


#21 Marquette: 21-6 (11-5 BE)
Villanova: 17-10 (7-8 BE, 3-1 B5)

Next game: at Louisville, 03/02 at Freedom Hall.


Villanova might still be turning the ball over, even now, in the darkened and empty Wachovia Center, even after the Wildcats fumbled away their NCAA Tournament hopes like so many aborted possessions in the loss to Marquette last night.

So much for "Guard U," the term sports pundits have used since 2004 to describe Villanova's supposed excellence at recruiting, developing, and deploying dangerous backcourts. So much for "Villanova Basketball," the political slogan Jay Wright's been preaching since 2002 for taking care of the ball, playing aggressive defense, and playing a cerebral game.

Villanova's guards were humiliated last night by a real backcourt, coached by someone who knows how to maximize advantages and play to his team's strengths, in stark contrast to the tactical tomfoolery from the Wildcats' bench.

Marquette was led by a pair of NBA-caliber guards, supported by a few other talented backcourt dwellers off the bench. These guards actually got into the game, instead of languishing on the sideline while their coach trotted out a series of hoepless swingmen who couldn't score in an empty gym -- all in the name of "size" and "defense." Imagine that!

It's too bad that Villanova didn't have a tough, quick guard with a great handle and a phenomenal shot to relieve the two Wildcat point guards exhausted by two difficult games in three days and a relentless Marquette pressure defense. Apparently, that was not an option last night for Jay Wright. He preferred to stick with "size" and "defense" while Villanova struggled to even inbound the ball without turning it over.

So, what did size and defense get Villanova last night? An opponent who lit up the scoreboard for 85 points in regulation and forced 23 crippling turnovers. An opponent led by a 5'10'' guard, the smallest guy in the gym, who scored 25 points, and stole the ball 6 times. A lot of good size does you when your opponent is putting in uncontested layups.

What stings most about this loss is not that it takes Villanova out of the driver's seat for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. It's not that the loss drops Villanova to below .500 -- again -- in conference play. What is most infuriating about this loss was that the game was winnable. Villanova has the talent to play with the likes of Marquette.

What it has not had, what it may never have, is the execution. Tom Crean put on a coaching clinic in Philadelphia last night. I hope Jay Wright was taking notes. Forget about the differences on offense, where Marquette consistently created good looks for itself while Villanova flailed about and struggled just to maintain possession of the ball for the first 20 seconds of each trip down the floor. Look at the differences on defense.

When Villanova had the ball, which was not too often and often for not too long, Marquette unleashed a relentless pressure defense the entire length of the court. Nothing came easy for Villanova after an Eagles' basket, be it bringing the ball up the court or setting up an offensive set or -- heaven forbid -- getting a good, open shot. After a Wildcat basket, however, Villanova retreated, tail between legs, to a conservative zone defense. Marquette was often able to advance the ball to halfcourt with a single pass from the inbounds baseline.

Dominic James was hardly ever required to handle the ball, leaving him free to roam the perimeter and shoot three-point daggers into the heart of the Wildcats. There was hardly any Villanova pressure to defuse in the backcourt. The Wildcats got lured into a furious, fast-paced game, and then played as conservatively and as tentatively as possible against a team that was running full motor to press every advantage and exploit every edge.

Let's talk about halftime adjustments. With the Wildcats leading by seven at the break, Marquette needed to make some changes. The Golden Eagles went on to outscore Villanova by 17 in the second half. Tom Crean managed the game and his rotation with a level of mastery we won't see in the state of Pennsylvania again this year.

The loss last night has severe implications for Villanova's NCAA Tournament resume. The conventional wisdom is that the team needs 21 wins to receive an at-large bid, including at least one more marquee victory. With the Wildcats now at 17-10, a three-game sweep of Louisville, USF, and Providence, plus a victory in the Big East Tournament would probably mean an invitation for VIllanova. With a win at Freedom Hall on Sunday looking less likely by the moment, however, Villanova may have to make a deep run in the BET to have any chance to dance.

Congratulations to an anonymous reader for most closely predicting the game's final score.

Next up for the Wildcats is a must-win game against Louisville, arguably the best team in the Big East in maybe the most difficult arena in the league for visitors, as well.

On to the player grades. "READ MORE" below for player performance grades and analysis.

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 33 min)

    Cunningham took turning over the ball to an art form last night. He racked up 6 turnovers from the forward position, always an achievement. He did shoot the ball well, 6-8, scoring 13, and he led the team in rebounds, with 11. But my goodness, 6 turnovers? Remove Cunningham's turnovers and his line -- 13 points, 6-8 shooting, 11 boards, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and 1 assist -- looks phenomenal. But Cunningham could not take care of the basketball, and turnovers were why the Wildcats lost.
    Grade: B-


  • Antonio Pena (S, 33 min)

    Pena was all kinds of sloppy with the ball last night. His 8 points came on 2-6 shooting, including a perfect 4-4 from the foul line. His 3 assists and 4 rebounds were overshadowed by his 5 turnovers. He needs to focus on making better decisions passing the ball.
    Grade: C

  • Corey Fisher (S, 33 min)

    Fisher looked great passing the ball last night, racking up 8 assists. He again struggled shooting the ball, going 5-15. He missed all 3 of his attempts from beyond the arc. Fisher had 2 good steals, but turned the ball over 4 times. Fisher did a great job of getting to the rim, but often could not finish. If he could practice better shot selection, make his layups, and take care of the ball, we are looking at a great Big East point guard. His penetration and passing are already up to snuff.
    Grade: C+

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 31 min)

    It was a difficult game for Reynolds, who had to deal with the unending pressure from Marquette all night. Reynolds did lead the team in scoring, on plausible 4-11 shooting, and was perfect from the foul line at 5-5. He struggled from the three, shooting just 1-5. He passed for 3 assists and had 1 steal. The big problem was his 6 turnovers. Reynolds needs to start taking better care of the ball, and it would be nice if he had some help from his teammates in that area.
    Grade: C+

  • Dwayne Anderson (S, 28 min)

    Anderson played well, but he did not assume much of a role on offense, either. He scored 8 points on 4-7 shooting, but missed all 3 of his three-point attempts. He did manage to grab 8 boards and was a force in transition. He turned the ball over just once, but did not handle the ball much, either.
    Grade: B


  • Corey Stokes (25 min)

    Stokes may have been the player of the game for Villanova, not for his 13 points on efficient 4-6 shooting, but because he only turned the ball over once in 25 minutes. Stokes is now a competent offensive contributor, but needs to involve himself more in passing. Last night he did not notch a single assist. Stokes also seems to be making a habit of disappearing after halftime. He scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half, mirroring other recent performances.
    Grade: B

  • Reggie Redding (13 min)

    Redding's earned his part in the rotation for perimeter defense. Dominic James, however, scored 25 points. Redding is a decent defender, but I am not sure if his defense is worth the complete sacrifice the team makes on offense with Redding out there. Redding actually played one of his better games from the offensive end, scoring 6 points on 2-3 shooting. He had 1 steal and no turnovers.
    Grade: C-

  • Shane Clark (4 min)

    Clark made a nice three-point play in transition. His other shot, a clean look at a three, was not even close. He picked up a steal, but his defense was slow and ineffective. Clark also cannot handle the ball at all. Clark may be among the worst dribblers in the Big East. Suffice it to say that I do not think subbing in Clark was the answer in a game when Villanova turned it over with the regularity of a Rolex. To his credit, Clark did not have any turnovers himself.
    Grade: D+

  • Did not play: Malcolm Grant (CD), Casiem Drummond (foot), Jason Colenda (CD), Frank Tchuisi (CD)


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49 Comments:

At 2:04 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Foye's Boy said...

very tough thoughts in your post pete...I was trying to find the statistics on turnovers among the big east teams but i could not....I feel that villanova would be towards the bottom, and I think last night was just a sloppy game...To criticize Guard U and Villanova guard basketball in general over one poorly played game is a little much

 
At 2:19 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Ha, I am ramping up the hyperbole, but only because this was a must-win game and we had the talent to win.

 
At 2:31 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Paul said...

Fisher needs to understand that he's not Scotty or Lowery and can't go one on three or one on four, chuck up a shot and wish it into the net. He is allowed to slow it down and run an offensive set. Nova could've dominated inside last night, but chose to play completely out of control. A very disappointing loss. Again.

 
At 3:25 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MALCOM GRANT RARRRR MALCOM GRANT FIRE JAY WRIGHT!!!!

 
At 3:40 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

No one said to fire Jay Wright. Your criticisms are immature. If you actually believe the "company line" on Grant, then you need to learn more about basketball. No one ever said that Wright wasn't a master of PR, either.

 
At 4:16 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous Todd said...

Pete, you're the one that needs to learn more about basketball. If you think Malcolm Grant is the solution to high turnovers and poor shot selection, you are out of your mind- those are the reasons why he doesn't play.

And ripping on Jay Wright for a loss to an overall better, more experienced team is ridiculous.

 
At 4:37 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hop off Grant for a little Pete, hes not that good yet. Are you related to him in some way, the obsession with him is ludacris. Can he shoot? Sometimes. Can he defend? Never.

 
At 4:42 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous Big D aka bench fisher said...

im glad some one agrees with me about corey fisher, thanks paul. and the obession of malcom grant is allowed, he single handedly put us back in games and won them for us, last night wasnt about defending, it was comming back from a 10pt lead marq had...thats when you need scoring...and this malcom thing will not die, just because your a hater of grant doesn't mean hes not that good of a spark off the bench, he has better choice making ability and patiences then fisher. dont get me wrong, fisher had a beautiful first half, but his percentage in the 2nd half and sloppy passing and ball handling really hurt us, him and pena made some ugly passes along with scottie a few but who cares, lets move on to a nice game ahead against LU. maybe tyreke will see us win on national TV and choose us anyway.

 
At 4:48 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

I am not saying Grant is the solution, but we sure could have used his speed and ball handling last night when we couldnt bring the ball up the court.

 
At 4:49 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Anon -- how can you say that Grant can't defend when we gave up 85 points last night? How much worse can it get in terms of defense? Grant is as good a defender as reynolds or fisher, ill tell you that.

 
At 5:12 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous Lip said...

The Grant obsession is pretty pretty old. To say that he makes better decisions then Fisher, and can defend as well as Scottie is totally wrong. He's not a great decision maker, yet. His defense also lacks in comparison to are other guards. He brought on a fury of deep threes in the LSU game, that wasn't his decision making just his stroke. I've seen Fisher develop more and more into a point guard rather then a combo guard, while Grant still has a ways to go.

It's not hard to see Wright's thought process on benching Grant. He can still be a great player in the future, but to say he would have won us the game last night is absolutely wrong. We may have lost by more, look at the first half Fisher played!

 
At 5:13 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous lip said...

our other guards, sorry.

 
At 5:39 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

for everyone who says grant isnt the answer and jay isnt a little bit to blame for the loss they are mistaken. Yes marquette is older and more experienced, but we were out coached last night. For a jay wright team to give up 53 points in a half is terrible. They were bad on d earlier in the year, but they have finally learned jay's defensive philosophy. So i give props to crean for out coaching jay. And to anyone who says malcolm grant shouldnt play, i ask you have you watched him play before? First off he shoots better then anyone else on the team, and from 3 better than anyone in the big east. And he definitely could make better decisions then fisher. I know they are both young freshman guards in the big east, and that it is a difficult task for any freshman pg in the big east to play a stellar floor game, but malcolm has proven himself on several occasions, where he single handedly won games, as opposed to fish who has helped lose a fair share of games with his great decisions.

 
At 6:12 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Ocho said...

Last night was about taking care of the ball, not about personnel. This same lineup played great D, shot well, and cared for the ball over the last couple of weeks. If you cut the turnovers in half, there's the Nova win that we all know was possible. Their immaturity showed a bit in the numerous passes to nowhere. We lost against a more mature team. End of story.

We get another chance for a 2nd marquee win in 3 games on Sunday. Go Cats!

 
At 6:25 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

The fact remains that Villanova was getting killed out there in the second half. The team could barely get the ball over half court, and couldn't deal with MU's pressure. Reynolds and Fisher were exhausted. In that case, if you are getting killed, going from a lead to down 10-12, and you have a talented PG on the bench, throw him in the game.

Of course the loss was not all about personnel, but I think playing Grant would have given the team a better chance to win, if by nothing else but having another ballhandler out there--a fresh one, at that.

 
At 7:51 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete loves malcom grant more than hamburgers

 
At 7:53 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

I have no special reason to harp on the Malcolm Grant issue... I just call them as I see them. And my love for hamburgers is beyond question.

 
At 8:04 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous JL said...

I was highly disappointed with Jay's ability to adjust once MU got on a role. Their game plan was simple, pressure furiously on D, and find that tiny little guard behind the arc. Turnovers no doubt killed us, and I think that can be attributed to the immaturity of the guards, but that will come in time.

As far as Malcolm and Fisher go, they play too inconsistently for anyone to make a solid judgment call. Frankly we haven't seen enough of Malcolm to know, but at times when he plays I think he runs the floor better than Scottie and other times I think he has a lot of work to do. Fisher had a great first half, thats why Jay didn't take him out, pretty simple.

I like to stand by Jay as much as I can, but sometimes I wonder about his ability as a coach as far as making defensive adjustments which seems to be a trend in his time here. I would never go as far as to say fire Jay, but there does need to be some improvement in making better and faster adjustments.

 
At 8:26 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous imisskylelowry said...

Allow me to step to the podium...

Outside of "todd" and "foye's boy" (and apologies to a few others that I just haven't seen on a more frequent basis), there aren't many here who know anything about basketball, let alone comment about it.

Big D.. you may be the worst. I certainly hope you don't run a blog of your own.

Blogs are supposed to be the voice of the fans, not the voice of the media. We sound like self-righteous media types, or clueless national ESPN analysts far too often here.

Sensationalism should be left to beat-writers.

And FYI.. Pete this is not a shot at you. This is still among my favorite blogs, along with Villanova By The Numbers, NoMaas, and The Hardball Times. I visit each regularly.

RANT OVER. Thank you.

 
At 8:40 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous imisskylelowry said...

After reading my comments, it probably wasn't clear. It isn't just the comments posted here, I also find fault with the sarcasm/cyncism of the recap. But one bad apple doesn't spoil the body of work Pete brings.

The loss stung no doubt.

But weren't we all saying after the Uconn win that 4 out of the next 5, + 1 or 2 in the BET and we've got a damn good shot at the Tourney? Because we got smoked for 20 minutes on our home court that changes?

Win at Louisville and we're back on Cloud Nine. Then take care of business and we're right there. Nothing's changed people.

 
At 10:39 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous Todd said...

This is my assesment of our backcourt right now... since that is all anyone seems to be talking about.

Reynolds: he has a very good shooting stroke, is a good leader, and has good poise... he generally makes good decisions running the offense and has good vision but forces some very bad shots (although some of this is due to him having to carry our offense). defense is average. still only a sophomore and will learn to play within himself more as he matures.

fisher: very good ballhandler and does a good job running the offense from the point position... also forces a lot of shots in the lane... has the ability to get into the lane on a regular basis and i would like to see him drive and kick more. defintely the best natural point guard at the moment. defense is also average at best. outside shot is streaky.

malcolm: explosive scorer but has not shown the ability to play within the offensive system at all, let alone run it from the point position. definitely the best athlete of the 3 small guards with very good quickness and strength. my feeling is he is in a little bit of a dwayne anderson situation right now (has all the tools but won't see the court on a regular basis until he buys into the system and plays team basketball). has the potential to be the best defender of the 3 as well, but i haven't seen the commitment to that area yet either.

stokes: pure shooter with a lot of size. solid defender, especially on bigger guards who aren't as quick. solid rebounder but needs to work on his ballhandling. i would like to see him be more agressive and use his body to get into the lane like he has shown the last couple of games.

redding: solid all-around player with no glaring weaknesses but he doesn't stand out in any area either. good rebounder, solid defender, good passer, decent shooter, not a great ballhandler. he is a solid option off the bench and does all the little things but doesn't draw any defensive attention as an offensive threat.

 
At 10:48 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

imisskylelowry,

This blog is a voice of the fans. I haven't heard anything from the "sensationalist media" about the Grant situation other than the Inquirer piece to defuse it... that's the whole point. It's the diehard fans who have an opinion on Grant, and my opinion-based post expresses my opinion about it. Dissenters are welcome here too and in fact, encouraged. All points of view are valid, but I will argue for my point of view that Jay is making a mistake sitting Malcolm Grant absent of some sort of extracurricular situation that we do not know about. Since the Inquirer says there is no such situation, then I think it's just a flat-out mistake to get killed in the backcourt and leave a talent like Grant on the bench. What was the worst that could have happened if Grant saw the floor vs. Marquette or St. Joe's? We'd lose the games again?

 
At 10:54 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous todd said...

one more thing i wanted to add...

this is not the nba, it is a college basketball program. jay has 4 years to make these guys the best all-around basketball players they can be. we proved in the 4-5 game stretch before the marquette game that a commitment to defense and team basketball is what wins games consistently in the big east. i know some people want to see malcolm come in and save us by bombing threes every time we are down by 10, but that would be doing these kids a disservice in the long run. how can you expect them to buy into the things he is teaching if he is constantly pulling the guys that are doing all the little things right for guys who can score, but want to do their own thing?

i want to win right now as much as everyone on this site, but there is a bigger picture. jay wright is a successful coach for a reason- trust him for now and in time you will see the development of these young guys pay off.

 
At 11:04 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

I think the idea is to win the current game. You don't sacrifice wins now for some vague notion of "playing into the system" down the road. The "system" should be to get the most out of each player's talents, and I don't think Jay Wright is doing a very good job utilizing Malcolm Grant.

 
At 11:17 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whats with Shane Clark? He only played 4mins but you gave him a D+. He had 3 points and a steal. I know you said he looked "slow", but seriously Pete, at worst he should have gotten an incomplete.

 
At 11:20 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous todd said...

pete,

i respect your opinion but completely disagree. i didn't say we had to sacrifice winning now... we just beat uconn by playing tough defense and team basketball with malcolm on the bench. we smoked west virginia and nearly beat georgtetown playing the same way, so don't tell me that it doesn't work. one bad half against an experienced marquette team with one of the best backcourts in the country is no reason to abandon that philosophy and revert to the shoot em up ways. malcolm is not going to come in and save us by shooting 75% from 3 every time we are losing.

 
At 11:21 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, Pete you said "The fact remains that Villanova was getting killed out there in the second half. The team could barely get the ball over half court, and couldn't deal with MU's pressure."

Nova turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and 11 times in the second half. I'd say the bigger problem in the second half was the 0 for 7 3pt shooting.

 
At 11:43 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

anon --

I'd argue the 0-7 three point shooting was a direct result of the fact that Villanova could barely handle the ball well enough to get any kind of decent shot. In the 2nd half, Villanova's "offense" was reduced to trying to kill as much time before hoisting a bad shot or turning it over.

I gave Clark a D+ despite his 3 pts and a steal because of his complete inability to defend anyone or handle the ball. The 3 pts were all on the same play, a fast break where he happened to be in the right place in the right time. Sure, he finished, and I give him credit for that, but he is still playing poorly on defense and with the ball.

With 4 minutes, I could have given him an Incomplete, but I try to reserve those for times when there is not enough information for a letter grade.

 
At 11:49 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Todd,

Who knows how those games would have played out WITH Malcolm? Are you saying we would not have beaten WVU with him in there? Maybe the difference in the GT game would have been a Malcolm Grant three... we simply don't know what would have happened. In the Marquette game, I think we would have won or at least put up more of a fight with Grant out there. I am arguing not based on past performance, but analysis.

Problem: We could not score against GT for much of the game.
Potential Solution: Grant, one of the team's best scorers.

Problem: We could not handle the ball against Marquette.
Potential Solution: Grant is an excellent dribbler and passer.

Problem: Our guards were exhausted at the end of the Marquette game.
Potential Solution: Grant, always a spark of energy, was totally fresh.

So I am arguing on hypothetical analysis, not hypothetical past performance.

 
At 12:33 AM, February 27, 2008, Anonymous Todd said...

Pete,

I respect your points about Malcolm bringing scoring and ball handling. However, I think he makes our decision making and shot selection worse. Simply put- I think by giving him significant minutes against a team like Georgetown, we lose more than we gain. I agree we need more offense at times, but it is proven that we can win games against top-level competition despite struggling to score by playing great defense, taking care of the ball, and rebounding well. What we haven't proven we can do is simply outscore teams while playing bad defense, making bad decisions, and turning the ball over. (I know you think that Malcolm can bring more offense without sacrificing much in the other departments- that is where we disagree)... I think Fisher and Reynolds run the offense MUCH better than Grant, although their shot selection can also be suspect at times).

We're not in complete disagreement here- I agree we look atrocious on offense at times and need a spark.... however, I am a believer that defense, rebounding, and decision making wins far more games than a high scoring offense.

 
At 1:23 AM, February 27, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

I just don't see how you can tout the importance of defense when we gave up huge amounts of points to Marquette with Malcolm sitting. And what about the 5-game losing streak, with Malcolm on the bench? The defense was bad there, too.

I agree that sometimes Grant makes bad decisions with the ball.. he is far from perfect. I just don't think his defense is any worse than what we're already getting.

 
At 9:44 AM, February 27, 2008, Blogger SpecialK said...

As an avid Nova Hoops fan for more than 39 years, and one who has attended 5 games this year including GTown, UCONN and Marquette - I gotta say Pete's comments on this game are right on.

Guard U? Marquette beat Nova hands down during this one. We really don't know if they did so because of better talent because Jay simply chose not to use the talent he had on hand. Pete's point was that given the short period since the UCONN game - this was the pefect time to USE Grant judiciously for speed, quickness and energy (why he earned the handle "microwave"). BUT NO.

I had to sit there and be subjected to a final 15 minutes of agony so Jay Wright (whom I still respect as a person) could show the Nova Nation that he is the one who'll call the lineups.

Grant is no "savior." He is simply a really talented young kid who plays with heart and enthusiam. He is not a finished product (freshman!) but he is a valuable tool that could and should be MUCH BETTER integrated into this team (that is the coach's job). From everything I've seen of Grant this season (brilliance and sloppiness - BUT NO WORSE OCCASIONAL SLOPPINESS THAN I HAVE SEEN from Scotty and Corey F)) - he has EARNED more PT.

I think Pete raised a point I've strongly advocated...with this speed and talent pool we should be applying pressure full court - and freely rotating players for fresh legs - really using our depth. Marquette did it to perfection!

Way back under Lappas I correctly predicted that Marvin O'Connor both would (and should) transfer in a similiar PT situation. If I were Grant or advising him - I would transfer. MORE IMPORTANTLY if I were Tyreke Evans I'd read the tea leaves and commit to Calipari right now.

We all know how young and inexperienced this team is (hard to believe that Scotty is only a sophomore). Jay shoulda looked out for them - they coulda been a contenda!
This is obviously a young team

 
At 12:06 PM, February 27, 2008, Blogger Ocho said...

Any news on Casiem's ankle? Last I heard (Monday afternoon), he was day-to-day.

 
At 1:25 PM, February 27, 2008, Blogger Foye's Boy said...

Cas Drummond should play on Saturday from what I have heard.....


As for Malcolm Grant, I seriously think his whole production (especially like in the LSU and the Pitt game) is misconstrued.....Do I think he is a good ball hander, shooter, and defender? yes...but he is not a great one of any of them three things (YET)....This team plays its best when it avoids turnovers, takes open jumpshots, plays tight d, and rebounds.....Malcolm is not the difference, he is not ready yet, and I dont think he would have done a better job not turning over the ball than reynolds on monday night. He is just not ready yet and does not have the experience, and is not the answer to this team. We had a bad game because we turned it over and slacked defensively in the 2nd half and thats the bottom line. What im trying to say is, we can beat L'ville without Grant. Any thoughts?

 
At 2:04 PM, February 27, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

FB,

I just don't understand why people are making elaborate arguments that we have won and can win without Grant. How is that the point? Can we all agree that Grant is a valuable asset? Can we all agree that we should get the most out of our available assets? Why are we trying to construct justifications as to why a talented player should not be used?

 
At 2:26 PM, February 27, 2008, Anonymous JA said...

I'm with you on those points, Pete. It's also hard to argue the fact that Malcolm Grant is not "yet" a good player and so should remain benched. Look at how terrible Stokes played the first 2/3 of the season, yet continued to get significant playing time, and with it has gotten more practice and experience so that now he is a strong contributor to count on every game. Had Grant been getting those minutes, would we still be saying that he's not ready? Probably not. He would have greatly benefitted from the playing time and improved in a similar fashion.

 
At 4:00 PM, February 27, 2008, Anonymous Big D i hate kyle lowry said...

"Big D.. you may be the worst. I certainly hope you don't run a blog of your own."

this was to a point i made about grant. i believe i said exactly what pete said with his problem analysis.

Imisskylelowry,

alrite we have established that you are "hard" with a keyboard and a very ignorant fan who likes to think he knows more then other die hard fans...but the fact is, we still lost and if you like it or not all your bullsh*t about fisher being better might be true, but do we ever see malcom to make that assumption? its like the espn news commerical when you talking out of your ass, get facts straight

2nd. if we want to discuss malcom grant on here we can, its not your blog and you can complain to yourself at your home when reading this but if you don't want to hear this go to another blog, or go make your own. the grant issue is big right now and your gonna have to face it. so "fa-k" your complaing and whining, your a joke, all you do is complain and hiss about how everyone is wrong. lets go cats, beat LU

 
At 4:21 PM, February 27, 2008, Anonymous Gregg said...

I agree with Pete about Malcolm Grant, he should be getting at least 15-20 minutes of pt a game.

I'm starting to wonder if any of you who say that his defense is bad have watched a game this season. Malcolm plays so intensely on defense that it literally looks like he is doing jumping jacks. Compare that to Fisher, who gets beat off the dribble at his oppenent's will. Could some body please tell me why you think that Malcolm cannot defend?

Also, I agree with Pete that Crean is an excellent coach, and be absolutely embarrassed Jay in the 2nd half. If you remember, Jay called time after Marq. made two baskets, (what a waste of a timeout) but then let them play after Marq. went on a big run.

Jay Wright has clearly lowered himself to one of the bottom three coaches in the big east. I'm not just saying this as a result of this recent loss either. He just gets out-strategized day in and day out.

 
At 6:39 PM, February 27, 2008, Anonymous imisskylelowry said...

rabble rabble rabble malcom grant rabble rabble rabble

 
At 1:11 AM, February 28, 2008, Anonymous cman said...

malcolm grant has so much heart that it's making me sick to not see him play at all.

1) i havent seen malcolm take a play off when hes on the court

2) i never see anyone blow by malcolm or get a clean shot off without a hand in his face against malcolm

3) he is sick at three's and anyone who disputes that, just compare him to fisher who is AWEFUL at three's. sure fisher gets hot once every 7 games but he is seriously terrible at three's. he puts no backspin on the ball.

4) jay wright is starting to come off as extremely arrogant. just leave and let coach k coach this team. We would be ranked 6th in the country and he would not be stupid enough to only recruit one big man.


wish we had sheridan back so he would be so terrified to institute the four guard lineup of stokes, reynolds, fisher, and grant.

 
At 1:46 AM, February 28, 2008, Anonymous todd said...

the bashing of jay wright that goes on on this site is hilarious... i can understand calling for malcolm because you have seen flashes... but suddenly every blogger east of the mississippi is a better coach/recruiter/talent evaluator than jay wright.

when did it become easy to recruit the best basketball players in the country to come to a small school outside of philly with a bunch of stuck up white kids and (until this year) completely subpar facilities?

this is not duke ladies and gentlemen... jay is doing a great job recruiting and coaching what he can get. jay would take tyler hansbrough and ty lawson in a heartbeat. the expectations here tend to get a little out of hand sometimes.

 
At 2:49 AM, February 28, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

I think Jay is a good recruiter and a good representative of the program. I hope he is our coach for the future. That said, I disagree with several of the tactical decisions he has made this year. I am not saying I would be a better coach, but I am pointing out decisions he has made where I disagree. All viewpoints are welcome here in the comments; mine is just one of them. Since I write the blog's content (including the opinion pieces that are the recaps), of course my voice is going to be heard there. If you disagree with something I say, please let me know in the comment section. That is encouraged.

 
At 7:18 AM, February 28, 2008, Anonymous Gregg said...

Thank you cman, at least somebody can see that Malcolm is a good defender.

 
At 11:17 AM, February 28, 2008, Blogger Foye's Boy said...

To clarify pete, I definietely think he is valuable and he should be getting like 10-15 min a game at least....Theres no way in the world he should be benched for all 40 minutes....So I agree with you he should be playing, it could only help, especially since the others looked a little sluggish...But I dont think not playing Malcolm is our biggest problem in the last game- -- it was getting torched for 53 points in the second half

 
At 10:58 PM, February 28, 2008, Blogger Novawin said...

Todd....you're the man....I could not agree more with the general ideas expressed in your comments.

Just because this team may not get 25 wins this year we should jump all over Jay Wright and blame him??? I think not!! These dopes who think they know better than Coach Wright crack me up....paaalease....grow up. Have we forgotten the first two years of Foye, Ray and company??? Those teams were not good but they finished up pretty good didn't they....and with a legit chance to win a national championship. This team, by the way, may very well be just as good and are better at this stage than the Foye and Ray team....so everyone please give them and Coach Wright a braek if they don't beat a ranked opponnent or make the tourney....which would kill me by the way (I was a soph at Nova when they won it all).

Coach Wright is coaching and teaching a young bunch....coaching and teaching that may pay off huge in a couple of years.

Enjoy the last few games and win or lose support the team AND the coach....and trust that he knows better than you what he is doing....Todd and I do!

 
At 11:15 AM, March 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No pre-game Louisville stuff?

Maybe later today.

Anyway, this will be another game the Nova optimists call a "learning experience" for a "young" team.

Jay and and the boys are going to quickly get taken behind the woodshed this afternoon. This one will be ugly. This is not bashing Nova (necessarily) but L'ville is very good and we are not.

Cards 85
Cats 55

 
At 11:15 AM, March 02, 2008, Anonymous Gregg said...

Will there be a live blog for today's game?

 
At 11:17 AM, March 02, 2008, Anonymous Gregg said...

anonymous, it won't be that bad, but we still won't win. By the way, Louisville is my national champion

 
At 12:15 PM, March 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys aren't giving villanova enough credit. you've seen us get hot and we can be an extremely good team. we really do have what it takes to win this game, we need to win this game if we want any chance at the ncaas!

 

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