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06 March 2009

'Nova clinches double bye with Prov. win

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/06/2009 01:51:00 AM
Providence 80
Villanova 97
(box score)

Providence: 18-12 (8-10 BE)
#11 Villanova: 25-6 (13-5 BE)

Villanova flexed its offensive muscles on Thursday night as the Wildcats exploded for 97 points to defeat Providence in the year's final game at the Pavilion.

With the win, Villanova secured an all-important top-four finish in the Big East, and the two days of byes that go along with it. The Wildcats will now be seeded all the way into the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament on Thursday.

Villanova also maintains its position as a potential top-3 seed in the NCAA tournament, which is crucial if the Wildcats would like to play the first two rounds in their home-away-from-home at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

It was an excellent offensive game for the Wildcats, who scored 57 points in the second half and shot well overall. Scottie Reynolds, Dwayne Anderson, and Corey Fisher all played outstanding games for Villanova, and the 'Cats looked unstoppable when all their weapons were blazing.

Providence finishes the regular season with an 18-12 record, which normally might not earn a team an at-large invitation to the NCAA tournament. The Friars, however, are 10-8 in the country's best conference, and boast a premium win over then-#1 Pittsburgh.

Conventional bracketology wisdom suggests that Providence would have been a lock with a win over Villanova, but will now need to win one at Madison Square Garden to have a good chance on Selection Sunday.

Congratulations to reader "bosshoghazzard" for most closely predicting the final score.

Villanova now has a full week off to prepare for its post-season. After a grueling Big East season, I am sure the rest will be welcome.

According to the official bracket (PDF), Villanova will next take the court on Thursday at 2 p.m. In practice, however, the game always starts later than that, closer to 2:30.

Villanova will face the winner of the #5 vs. #12/#13 game, which will most likely be Marquette.

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

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 36 min)

    Reynolds continued his scorching shooting ways tonight, shooting an excellent 9-13 from the field. He also put in an outstanding performance from the three, hitting 5-9, or the equivalent of shooting 83% from the two. He did miss both his free throw attempts, which is a bit troubling, since his free throw shooting seems to be dropping off a bit lately. Reynolds added 4 steals, 4 assists, and just 2 turnovers. Let's hope Scottie can continue his hot streak through the entire month of March.
    Grade: A

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 36 min)

    Positives tonight were 19 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. The negatives, however, were substantial. Cunningham shot a dismal 8-17 to get those 19 points, including several missed jumpers that he probably should have passed on altogether. He missed 4 of his 7 free throw attempts, as well. Cunningham also led the team in turnovers, with 5, committing a whopping 71.4 percent of the team's turnovers despite playing 18 percent of the team's minutes. If you haven't surmised this already, I really hate turnovers, especially by forwards. Perhaps worst of all, however, was Cunningham's defense, which was uncharacteristically soft tonight. Cunningham allowed at least three uncontested lay-ups or dunks. All in all, the positives save this grade from the dreaded "F," but it was nonetheless one of the worst games for Cunningham of the season.
    Grade: D

  • Reggie Redding (S, 31 min)

    Redding was Mr. Pass tonight, dishing out 11 of the Wildcats' 26 assists. Those assists definitely earned him 31 minutes, but Redding's normal reason for playing so much, defense, was lacking tonight. Redding was responsible much of the night for covering Weyinmi Efejuku, who lit up the Wildcats for 29 points. Redding was not fast enough to stay near Efejuku at all, which could bode ill for the Wildcats against teams with similar star players. Aside from his excellent passing night, Redding had little other statistical impact. He shot 1-3 to score 2 points, and added 0 turnovers, steals, or blocks. He grabbed 2 rebounds. Those 11 assists go a long way to make up for a terrible night defensively, but it still was not much better than average for Reggie.
    Grade: C+

  • Corey Fisher (27 min)

    Twenty-seven minutes are more like it for Fisher, unquestionably the team's most potent sparkplug. I'd prefer his minutes get up to the mid-thirties, but I guess it's one step at a time for Wright. Fisher shot 3-9 from the field, including 1-3 from the three, to go with his excellent 6-6 performance from the foul line. He handled the ball perfectly, dishing out 6 assists while committing 0 turnovers. His defense was outstanding, and he grabbed 4 steals. He was quick enough to stay with anyone on the perimeter, as well. It was a nearly perfect game for Fisher aside from the slightly reduced scoring output of 13. Fisher showed tonight he could have an excellent impact on the game even while not making many baskets, and this should finally (hopefully?) earn Fisher some more minutes in the post-season.
    Grade: A-

  • Corey Stokes (21 min)

    Stokes was a major force in this game. He continued his hot shooting from the three, hitting 3-5. He also used his good height and strength to grab 4 rebounds and 1 block. He played decent defense, and added 1 steal. I think 21 minutes tonight was a big under-utilization of Stokes. Imagine how hard it will be for Villanova's opponents to contain the Wildcats with all four of Stokes, Fisher, Reynolds, and Cunningham firing on all cylinders. In order for this to happen, Stokes has got to get the minutes to heat up and stay effective.
    Grade: B+

  • Shane Clark (S, 20 min)

    Clark was not at all effective on offense (1-5 shooting, no foul attempts, no assists), but was a little better on the defensive end. Clark had 2 steals and 5 rebounds in his 20 minutes. I'd like to see 10 of his minutes go immediately to Stokes, but you have to admire Clark's hustle.
    Grade: C

  • Dwayne Anderson (S, 17 min)

    Anderson, troubled by early fouls, still managed to score 19 points in 17 minutes, which is excellent. And he shot very well, 7-11, 3-5, and 2-2. Anderson, who had missed his 12 prior three-pointers before the game, is the ultimate streak shooter, and it's great to see him take those shots when he is hot. He also added 7 rebounds in just 17 minutes: compare that to Cunningham's 8 in 36. Anderson also added 3 assists, 1 block, and 4 steals in a phenomenal effort, playing half the game. If we extrapolate what his line would have looked like with 35 minutes, we get 39 points, 14 rebounds, 8 steals, 2 blocks, and 6 assists! Of course, it would have been difficult for him to maintain that pace, but what a game for Anderson despite the fouls.
    Grade: A

  • Antonio Pena (9 min)

    Just 9 minutes, but a bit of a resurgence for Antonio Pena. He shot a good 2-4, showing intelligent awareness and spacing on the offensive end. He also was a perfect 2-2 from the foul line. He added 1 rebound, 2 blocks, and 1 steal in his very limited time.
    Grade: B

  • Incomplete grades: Frank Tchuisi (1 min), Jason Colenda (1 min), Russell Wooten (1 min).

  • Did not play: Maurice Sutton (RS).

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At 3:10 AM, March 06, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

Bash away, anons!

I was sooo positive for this one. Didn't say one bad thing about Jay.

At 8:16 AM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dante Cunningham a D? With 19 points? It truly wasn't a great game to the standard that Dante has given us this year. But "Tae33" has risen his play and is the MVP of this team. I love every single one of the other players but without Dante having a breakout year in the true form of Mark Plansky, Tom Greis and Harold Pressley, 25-6 doesnt happen.

I just wonder "RePete" why you feel the need so often to call out Dante. 8-17 isnt great shooting (47% for you in case you can't do the math) and I agree with you that there were 2 or 3 that were 1 to 3 feet outside his range, but lighten up on him. Not one of Dante's better games but 19 points on 17 shots isn't terrible especially since every time he touches the ball it opens up the floor for our shooters.

B- for Dante for last night.

At 8:35 AM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A "D" for Cunningham? God you are a fucking joke Pete. Please stop blogging now; you are embarrassing yourself. 8-17 is terrible, but 3-9 from Fisher deserves an "A-"? Again I'm almost convinced that your commenters who think that this is a parody site must be correct. No one is really that stupid. No one.

At 8:53 AM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He touts "not saying one bad thing about Jay" but needs to continue his schtick with a new target.

A "dismal" 8-17 for Dante? 47% is bad according to this site.

At 9:15 AM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 9:22 AM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's our center/forward, you can't compare his shooting percentage to Fisher. Also, I agree, 5 turnovers is horrendous for a big man.

After the ND game, everyone was bashing Pete for not factoring defense into his grades. Now tonight, you want Pete to overlook Dante's defense (or lack thereof) and focus solely on the fact that he had 19 points.

He is without a doubt the MVP of this team, but you can't argue he was anywhere around a "B" player tonight.

At 10:11 AM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me! My name should be in BOLD at the top.

At 10:52 AM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dante = MVP this year
(as #2 above points out it was not a great game for him but still not a D)

Pete = Joke...
please stop now unless you are a parody. If you are a parody, tell us so that we know. If you're not a parody, you know nothing about basketball! You should actually go to the games...you might learn something more than what you see on TV. Its not ONLY, scoring or defense, its the WHOLE package. Yes, that includes LEADERHIP.

At 11:05 AM, March 06, 2009, Blogger Pete said...

"After the ND game, everyone was bashing Pete for not factoring defense into his grades. Now tonight, you want Pete to overlook Dante's defense (or lack thereof) and focus solely on the fact that he had 19 points. "


At 11:20 AM, March 06, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

Bosshog -- fixed!

At 11:28 AM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to admit the anons are grabbing at straws for the Pete bashing in this one.

At 11:29 AM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous Pretty toney said...

I should be in bold too. Dante gets a C in my book. His offense gets B-, good production but too many turnovers. His defense gets a D, Providence's big men are well below average in the Big East and Dante got burned several times. C for the game for Dante. He can't turn the ball over like that against Pitt or UConn and expect to win the game.

At 12:42 PM, March 06, 2009, Blogger Fact said...

I think that 8-17 is by no means dismal.. thats close to 50 percent tons of players dante's size would kill to shoot close to 50 percent. Dante did look rattled though. And reggie 11 assists and no turnovers! that deserves at least a B i don't care what kinda D he played. Reggie did a lot of the ball handling and had no turnovers.

At 12:45 PM, March 06, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

Well he got a C+ which is an above average grade.

As for Dante, 8-17 is bad for him, I think we can all agree. So is 3-7 from the foul line, and 5 turnovers when the 'Cats only had 7 turnovers all night.

At 12:54 PM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great points Fact....agree 100% with you.

T-E-A-M - The beauty of our team is that if 1 or 2 guys don't score or play well, there is always someone ready to take over. For us giving grades to individual players (other than hustle) doesn't make much sense.

OVERALL - in the scheme of things the more important discussion on this board should be about us as a TEAM. I don't see it at all here as Pete is so hyperfocused on anti this and that). Along these lines, when was the last time that a Villanova team closed out a season 8-2 over its last 10 and 11-2 over its last 13 AND with all losses to tournament teams with most being in the top 10? Answer=never. Lets focus on the team gang and forget the player ratings.

At 1:03 PM, March 06, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...


when the heck did i ever say anything that disagreed with you that the team is more important. that goes without saying. it doesn't make much sense to give grades to the individual players? why not? it's something to talk about and give opinions about. no one is disputing that the final score is more important.


At 3:05 PM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous Mike said...

In my opinion, Dante did not play his best game, but giving Dante a D for a 19 point 8 rebound performance is plain ridiculous. I also didn't think his defense was all that bad.

That said, I have come to recognize that Pete has a different grading scale than (1) me, and (2) I will ever understand. So he's entitled to that opinion.

At 6:45 PM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous IMKL said...

Good read (a bit of a fluff piece however) that highlights how truly amazing this regular season has been: http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/news?slug=ap-t25-bye-byevillanova&prov=ap&type=lgns

I don't think any of us saw this type of regular season being possible, and if we did it was certainly on the very far end of a wildest expectations.

Blame Jay for 1 or 2 losses if you want, but this may be his best coaching season when you consider how much he got out of every single player. He also has this team in position to win all but 3 games, Texas, @Marq and @WVU. Uconn, LVille, and GTown were all winnable. LVille stings the most. Wright was able to get this team to stay on task, despite Drummond's transfer, and play consistent throughout, despite a short bench.

For a team that was "worst than last year's," Wright was certainly able to make them better despite a tougher, deeper conference. Props.

At 9:19 PM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IMKL: Agreed. Jay did a very nice job. Who would have thought Nova would have 25 wins at this point of the season. More than the Foye / Raye / Sumpter / Frasier / Nardi team. That has to have something to do with coaching!

At 12:34 PM, March 08, 2009, Anonymous Matthew said...

Looking forward, I am very excited about the prospect of playing Marquette followed by Louisville. We certainly played Louisville close at the beginning of the season and I would love another crack at them. Not to mention they will prove to be excellent preparation for the NCAAs regardless of the outcome.

Any predictions for BET outcomes?

At 2:13 PM, March 08, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete: I commend your constraint and efforts to be more positive in this most recent post. With an AP #11 record, a 13-5 record in a league with 6 teams in the top 25, and an overall record of 23-6, it shouldn't be too hard to acknowledge that the Nova team as a whole, including Jay Wright, have done a wonderful job this year and exceeded all reasonable expectations.

At 12:58 PM, March 09, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

apparently jay will win BE COY.

At 1:33 PM, March 09, 2009, Blogger Pete said...

haha this site will NOT approve

At 4:15 PM, March 09, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay will be BE COY tomorrow. He deserves it more than anyone...this was his best coaching job in 8 years. There is NO WAY after the UCONN game at 2-3 that I could get to 10 wins much less 13! Great job Jay!

Dante = Most Improved
Corey Fisher = 6th man today

At 8:35 PM, March 09, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the double bye was not coming back, no matter what Villanova did?

At 8:35 PM, March 09, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete, you remind me of the story of a Japanese soldier found on a remote island in the South Pacific 5 years after WWII ended, still in full military gear and ferociously defending his foxhole position. Apparently, no one told him that Japan had lost the war.

If Jay Wright wins COY, he beats out all of the coaches you would openly pine for. Jay will have achieved it with only one player on the All Big East Teams.

Pete, the war is over. Time to put away the bayonet.

At 2:49 PM, March 10, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

^ hahahaha post of the year

At 5:10 PM, March 10, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reggie Redding has 11 assists, and gets a C+ for the effort?


Does this guy even watch the games?


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