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18 March 2009

Best and worse cases for Villanova

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/18/2009 07:23:00 PM
Every March, Let's Go Nova's favorite college basketball writer Pat Forde pens his best and worst cases column, where he outlines the wildest dreams and worst nightmares for all 64 NCAA tournament teams.

Forde hit the nail on the head for Villanova last year, when his best-case scenario of Villanova beating Clemson and Siena before losing in the Sweet 16 came true to the letter.

This year, he sets the bar a little higher. According to Forde, the dream 'Nova run ends as national runner-up:

Best Case: Under-the-radar Big East power flexes its muscles, pounding American and VCU while taking advantage of absurdly friendly Philadelphia draw. The Wildcats wear down Duke and then beat Pitt for the second time this season to reach their first Final Four since winning the whole thing with the Perfect Game in 1985. Dante Cunningham finishes off NBA audition by averaging 20 and 10 on the way to Detroit, where Jay Wright looks flawless as the Wildcats beat North Carolina and then lose to Louisville for the third time this season in the final.

I think that scenario is a tad generous, even as the best case. Just getting to the Final Four would be a dream come true for this 'Nova team, and I am not sure the Wildcats could defeat the UNC juggernaut even in my wildest dreams. But, you never know, especially with Ty Lawson's toe on paparazzi watch all March.

Villanova's worst case is exactly the scenario I dread will happen -- a second-round loss to an excellent UCLA team:

Worst Case: Nova is slowed down and taken out in the second round by UCLA, but that's only the beginning. Turns out Wright was doing his own NBA audition and takes a job in The Association. Guard Reynolds bugs out after his junior season for the pros as well. Rollie Massimino agitates to get his old job back. Even worse, so does Steve Lappas.

Exactly my fear, although as regular readers of this column surely know, I would not mind having Lappas or Rollie back over Jay Wright!

Let's hope that Forde makes it two years in a row for his best-case scenario coming true for Villanova.

What are you best and worse cases? Does anyone think we could actually lose to American? And who is dreaming even higher than Forde, wishing for a national title?

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At 7:48 PM, March 18, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

My best-case scenario is Nova beating Pitt for the final four and Fisher finally cracking the starting lineup!

At 7:52 PM, March 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


As much as you hate Wright - Rollie I can understand, he is about 88 years old and the game has passed him by, but he was pretty great in the day - but LAPPAS? You have GOT to be kidding. Pete, as little respect as I have for your college basketball knowledge, YOU would probably make a better coach than Lappas. Hell, my 7 year old daughter would.

At 8:04 PM, March 18, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

Well I guess we disagree... I think Lappas was a better coach than Wright. No big deal though... I am happy with where we are right now.

At 10:53 PM, March 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my god pete please don't tell me that you just called lapas a better coach than wright. Jay is 10x a better coach than lapas could ever wish to be.

At 11:10 PM, March 18, 2009, Anonymous Mike said...

Lappas is and always has been a terrible coach. Ran two programs directly into the ground, we're lucky that JW has been able to author a renaissance here at Nova because UMass still hasn't recovered from his ineptness.

Please don't make the claim that Lappas is a better coach that Jay. There's no possible way to defend it.

At 11:15 PM, March 18, 2009, Anonymous Brian '06 said...

If Jay were to leave Villanova tomorrow (and I don't think there is any NBA job that would sway him other than MAYBE the Sixers), the next coach of the Wildcats would be Ed Pickney. I'd put money on it.

At 11:17 PM, March 18, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

Well, Mike (#5),

Who is a better coach than whom is mostly an opinion, and thus really can't be proven one way or another. I think Lappas is a better coach than Jay; you think Jay is a better coach than Lappas. Both opinions can coexist.


Yeah, that's a real possibility. But I think Jay is staying, Sixers or not.

At 11:26 PM, March 18, 2009, Anonymous Sean Don said...

Jay Wright is not going anywhere. He's here to stay for at least 10 more years.

At 11:51 PM, March 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No way the 'Cats will lose to American, VCU or UCLA. Let's hope that Texas beats Duke and we avenge an early season loss. Beating Pitt again would be tough but is possible. I think the Final Four is about as good as I could imagine under any circumstance. Of course, if Xavier or FSU plays well, it may make a run to Detroit easier than playing Pitt again.

Worst scenario is we beat American and then VCU plays like Petey Sessons of ODU when they knocked us out in triple OT I believe.

At 12:56 AM, March 19, 2009, Anonymous Jay's Personal Chef said...

I typically only read this site before games because the post game analysis is mostly maladroit and irrationally excessively Jay negative. Unfortunately you managed to go to the edge of reality again with your Jay bashing and even seem somewhat serious while typing your preference of Steve Lappas over Jay. In no way could that statement come from a rationale person. Your "opinion" may have been hard to take before but wow was that comment ridiculous. I'm half tempted to read your piece on the Louisville game. I can only imagine...

At 1:00 AM, March 19, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

#10 --

My analysis is "maladroit"? Did you just turn the page on your SAT-words calendar or something?

Anyway, so what if I like Lappas better than Jay? I am sure I am not the only one.

It's funny because I just mentioned the Lappas thing in passing because Forde made a joke about it, and that's all anyone wants to talk about.

Looks like you guys are the ones obsessed with "Jay negativity," not me. Read my post. It has 99% nothing to do with Jay Wright.

At 1:50 AM, March 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even my 6th grade CYO coach was better than Jay Wright. Not as handsome though. So Wright wins on that one, but that's about it.

This post had 100% to do with Jay Wright.

At 2:24 AM, March 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha your best case scenario of Fisher cracking the starting line up will never happen and it won't happen next year either.

At 2:41 AM, March 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete, I recently discovered your blog and thought this might be worth a regular visit & read....and then you *destroy* every ounce of credibility that you can possibly have by saying Lappas is better than Wright. Are you INSANE?!? Did you start out this detached from reality or did writing a blog lead you there?

Don't bother replying, I will never visit this site again.

At 2:48 AM, March 19, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...


Guess you're not reading this but -- that is my opinion. I don't think it hurts my credibility. Talk to me about credibility when I get my facts wrong, or when I disguise an opinion as a fact.

At 8:21 AM, March 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best case - Beat VCU to lose to Duke in Boston
Worst case - Lose to VCU, leave Wachovia with 1 win against a team that struggled against Army last weekend

Villanova's only trips to the Final 4 in the modern era will be 71 and 85. It will not happen again.

At 8:21 AM, March 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete a good column about the draw and then this...Lappas? Obviously you were not a fan of Villanova basketball when he was the coach. For someone so big on Xs and Os you want a coach who makes Jay's teams inbounding look magnificent and whose teams regularly struggled to advance the ball into the front court.

Makes perfect sense. Certainly hurts you credibility when you rail against Jay's ingame then want a guy infamous for his lapel tugs and lack of coaching.

At 8:25 AM, March 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete, I like Steve Lappas. He was a great recruiter and is a very nice guy. However in all phases of the game, Jay has our friend Steve hands down. I'm very curious as to you reasoning for picking Lapp over Jay. Please do tell. Except for a great NIT run and a magical run (prior to the NCAAs) in 95, Steve couldn't win more than 1 game in the dance. And, as good as Timmy Thomas has been to our program financially since then, taking him for that one year set us back 3 years recruiting wise and hurt the team aspect of that 96 team. Please share your reasons for taking Steve over Jay. I have never even considered that as the gap is so large.

At 9:19 AM, March 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 11:42 AM, March 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Texas beating Duke would not be something I would hope for. Nova does not match up well with Texas and would be a nightmare scenario. The WV game not withstanding, the Texas game was the only other game all year Nova had no chance at winning. Duke is a favorable draw in that Nova matches up well and with the Yankee like hatred most of america casts upon the Dukees, Nova will have a favorable crowd wherever they play. Alas, vengeance would be nice, but I would rather take the better match up over "Possible" retribution.

At 11:44 AM, March 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete given you Lap love if we lose either of the gems this weekend I would expect kind words for Jay since he would be following in Lap's fine tradition. Don't won't to hear a peep.

Also you do realize the low-point of our program occurred under Lap? I too like the man and think things got a bit harsh. But it was from him that this program had to be rescued.

At 12:43 PM, March 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Not all opinions are of equal validity. As others have said, it would be nice if you would provide a little support for this particular opinion, especially since it flies in the face of conventional wisdom.

Records aren't everything, but consecutive tenures in the same program would seem to make a comparison of records rather relevant.

overall 174-110 (.613)
ncaa 2-4

overall 174-90 (.659)
ncaa 7-4

A more detailed analysis would, if anything, be even worse news for Lappas (e.g., the above doesn't take into account that Lappas inherited a much better team than did Wright).

And, yes, it does hurt your credibility. Your more moderate criticism of Wright is rendered less credible when you make statements like this, which demonstrate either an irational level of dislike for Wright, and/or an irrational appreciation of the least successful coach in Villanova history (lappas).

At 5:14 PM, March 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Havent been here for a few days. Just when I think there is hope for Pete, he goes completely crazy. Steve Lappas is a very good man...but he doesn't have anywhere near the coaching skills as Jay Wright. Lappas' 2 wins were when he was a significant favorite. His losses were also as a favorite. Jay's 7-4 record is superior in that only one of his losses is to a lower ranked team (and that was 2006 against the 3 seeded Florida team on their way to their first championship of 2). So Pete (or RePete as I call you), get real.

At 6:40 PM, March 19, 2009, Blogger Pete said...


Who are the ones "repeteing" this stuff about Jay Wright over and over? I mention it in passing -- since Forde made the joke -- and that's all anyone talks about.

Lappas was a better coach than Jay. That's how I feel. Let's move on.

At 9:20 AM, March 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete never backs up his opinions with anything substantial to have an educated discussion.

When someone makes a good post like #24, he ignores it.

Pete, people would respect your opinions (even if they don't agree) if you offered a compelling argument to go along with them.

At 9:25 AM, March 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete is an out of work blogger, yet a better basketball coach than Jay Wright.

Pete, you could not get a job as a boy's basketball coach at a high school. I will give you $5,000 if you are able to get a job as a high school coach by the start of next bball season.

In return, if you can not, you need to quit all the uninformed criticism of Wright.

Deal? I'll contact you with my information if you agree.

At 10:57 AM, March 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your desire to have Lappas return is patently absurd. As someone who was a student during Lappas' BEST DAYS, when he was still coaching Rollie's recruits, I can tell you that you would be apoplectic at the gametime decisions Lappas made. Furthermore, the motion offense that he employed ruined many a big man (Jason Lawson as one key example).

Don't talk about what you don't know about. Wright, faults and all, is a far better coach than Lappas, and brings respect back to our program.


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