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03 March 2009

Villanova handles Notre Dame

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/03/2009 02:18:00 AM
Villanova 77
Notre Dame 60
(box score)

#11 Villanova: 24-6 (12-5 BE)
Notre Dame: 16-13 (7-10 BE)

Villanova broke away in the second half on Monday night to soundly put away a Notre Dame team fighting for its post-season life.

The Wildcats used an offense firing on all cylinders to scorch the Irish for 45 second-period points on the way to an easy win, despite a score knotted at 32 at the half.

I actually agreed with Jay Wright's rotation for much of the game. It was good to see Fisher and Reynolds out there together for good stretches, and I like how the team clicked offensively with two Coreys and Reynolds as threats. The only real problem I had tonight was Wright's continued under-utlization of Stokes, who could be a major weapon if he played more than one-third of the game.

All in all, though, it was a well coached game by Wright, who seems to have rebounded from his disaster against Georgetown last Saturday. Let's hope he can keep it up against tougher competition in the post-season.

With the win, Villanova keeps its chances of a double bye in the Big East tournament alive. The Wildcats now need to beat Providence and have Marquette lose to Pittsburgh to earn the #4 seed and the two days off that go with it.

More important, Villanova kept itself in a plausible position to receive a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament, which would likely place the Wildcats in Philadelphia for the first weekend, a tremendous advantage.

Looking at the current state of the top-15, it looks like Villanova will have to defeat Providence on Thursday and then win at least one game in Madison Square Garden to stay in the 3-seed conversation.

Notre Dame, on the other hand, all but sealed its fate in the NIT on Monday, barring a McNamarian run in the Big East Tournament.

The Irish find themselves behind 10 teams in the conference with better resumes: Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Marquette, Villanova, West Virginia, Syracuse, Georgetown, Providence, and Cincinnati. All but the last three of these teams should be in the field at this point.

Although the argument could be made that all of remaining three serious Big East bubble teams deserve to get into the NCAA tournament, my guess is that just two will make it, and I give the advantage to Georgetown and Providence, pending each team's final few games.

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

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

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 39 min)

    Before the game, I was telling one of my friends that Scottie Reynolds should shoot more threes, because that is how he heats up on his epic scoring efforts. Looks like Reynolds got the memo on that one. Reynolds scorched the nets at the Joyce Center, scoring 23 pints on excellent 8-12 shooting, including a fantastic 6-7 from the three. And it's good to see him playing 39 of 40 minutes with no major signs of fatigue. It didn't hurt that Corey Fisher was around for 20 minutes to handle point duties for Reynolds, either. I would like to see Reynolds play the two-guard for 30+ minutes in Villanova's post-season. Reynolds finished the game with good numbers across the board: 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 turnover. It was one of the best overall performances by a Villanova guard I have ever seen. Complete, mistake-free, excellent all around.
    Grade: A

  • Reggie Redding (S, 38 min)

    Redding played well against Notre Dame, but was it 38-minutes well? I guess it worked out. He was quietly efficient on the offense, shooting 3-5, including 1-1 for three, to score 7 points. Redding added 4 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, and 2 turnovers to his well-rounded effort. He looked good on the defensive end after giving up some key plays against Georgetown.
    Grade: B

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 35 min)

    Cunningham shot 8-18 tonight, which is not a bad night for a shooting guard, but should be embarrassing for a power-forward. I don't know why the conventional wisdom seems to be that Cunningham's work in the offseason paid off in the form of a new, ultra-reliable jump-shot, because to me it looks like the same old shot. Except that this year, Cunningham takes a lot more of them. I lost count of how many jumpers he missed during the game: thankfully the play-by-play in the box score remembers. Cunningham was 6-16 on jump-shots. Let that number stew around in your head for a while, and remember you are considering a once-efficient power forward, and not John Starks in the NBA Finals. Cunningham was 8-18 overall, so that means he was 2-2 on non-jump shots. Now, the official box score has a very loose definition of a jumper, so it categorizes some paint shots as jump-shots, but I can assure you that Cunningham made more from the inside and missed more from the outside. Can you imagine how much better it would have been for Villanova if Cunningham didn't miss 10 jumpers? Having Cunningham shoot low-percentage shots from outside the key is a double whammy for the 'Cats: not only are they bad shots, but it leaves Cunningham, the team's best rebounder, out of place for any chance at a carom. Wouldn't you rather 10 more shots for Stokes from the outside, with Cunningham underneath for the rebound, instead? I would, too. Against the Irish, Cunningham finished with 8 rebounds. He added 1 turnover, and 0 blocks, assists, or steals.
    Grade: B-

  • Dwayne Anderson (S, 24 min)

    Anderson just could not find his shot. As the ultimate streak shooter, he has got to recognize when he is on and when he is not. Against the Irish, he was most certainly off. The nadir of Anderson's night was a missed wide-open 2-pt jumper from the baseline that was a complete air-ball. Things were going so well for Villanova, though, that a few seconds later, after an offensive rebound, Anderson was dunking it in anyway. But shooting 2-9, including 0-4 from the three, could hurt the team, especially when most of those shots weren't even close. Anderson played well otherwise, notching 6 boards, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, and 1 turnover. Playing 24 minutes seems about right for Anderson, too. Just stop missing so many shots!
    Grade: C+

  • Corey Fisher (20 min)

    Sure, Fisher was 0-5 from the field, but the shots he took were good, high-percentage shots. A player can only be judged on his decisions, and not his results. Fisher also passed the ball very well, dishing 3 assists in half a game, and he would have had more had some of his pass-recipients finished easy looks. He also had 1 block, 1 steal, and zero turnovers. So what if he scored just 2 points? Fisher played well. He was plagued by foul trouble against Notre Dame, which is why he played just 20 minutes. I am convinced he would have seen another 10 minutes despite his cold shooting if fouls were not an issue.
    Grade: B-

  • Shane Clark (S, 18 min)

    Clark turned it on in the second half, playing his trademark cleanup game of put-backs and efficient shots. And thank goodness. This is Clark's bread-and-butter, and let's hope he can keep it up. He sat in the first half with two quick fouls, and honestly, the offense looked pretty good without him. But there is no denying the value he brought in the second half with his hustle game, and there is always a place for that on the court. Clark shot a good 5-7 from the field, but only managed 1 rebound in 18 minutes. He had 0 assists, turnovers, steals, or blocks, and was 2-3 from the foul line. One thing Jay Wright needs to be careful of is leaving Clark, who misses nearly half his free throws, on the court at the end of close games where fouling becomes a factor.
    Grade: B

  • Corey Stokes (13 min)

    Ugh, why only 13 minutes for Stokes, who is by far the team's best shooter. Did you know that Stokes is shooting 44 percent from the three? That's too high a percentage! That means he needs to take more threes! I really don't know why Stokes was only allotted 13 minutes tonight; it just seems Wright keeps him on a very short leash, often yanking him out of the game after a few possessions. What I do know is that to beat teams that will put up more resistance than a fading Notre Dame, Villanova will need another scoring thread to complement Reynolds, Fisher, and Cunningham. Stokes is definitely that guy. He was pretty quiet against the Irish, scoring just 3 points on one really nice shot. During a possession at the end of the first half, Stokes freed himself to rotate to the top of the key, caught the ball in stride, and drained a gorgeous shot. I wish he would launch a few more of those in increased minutes.
    Grade: B-

  • Antonio Pena (13 min)

    During the game broadcast, announcer Jay Bilas echoed a joke from this space a few games ago about Pena on a milk carton. Well, it looks like Pena is back, albeit in a slightly diminished role. Pena shot a decent 2-4 from the field and 2-2 from the foul line for 6 total points. He had 3 boards, and no assists, turnovers, steals, or blocks.
    Grade: B-

  • Incomplete grades: Frank Tchuisi (0+ min), Jason Colenda (0+ min).

  • Did not play: Russell Wooten (CD), Maurice Sutton (RS).

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At 3:53 AM, March 03, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

What do you think of the grades?

At 7:05 AM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous IMKL said...

We only committed 5 turnovers as a team last night. When was the last time we had that few TOs? Great game.

I really think you need to look at Dante differently. I don't understand how you can say he that we think he has a more reliable jumper this year just because he is taking more of them? Again, he's shooting his highest FG% of his career! He is obviously knocking down enough of these jumpers, because taking so many more of them has not negatively impacted his shooting percentage.

He's just been in a bit of a mini-slump this year since he's been asked to go 35+ minutes every night in a rough Big East. His shot is solid. And I go back to the fact that he is shooting a higher % than Hansbrough.

For Dante to receive a B- to Dwayne's C+ is crazy. He was second in scoring and first in rebounds. Dante had some bad bricks and at least 1 ugly airball that I remember, you don't need to grade based on some personal vendetta against him shooting jumpers.

Redding was a B+ too. The job he did on McAlarney most of the game, and his huge 3 pointer. Redding seemed to be the guy who would make a shot when our offense looked stagnant.

Other than that I agree with all the grades. Stokes should play more too, he's earned it. He has played with some defensive intensity lately. He may not be the best on the ball defender, but he's looked great in our press the last couple games.

Big Nova win; this is the type of game that can propel us the rest of the way.

At 7:27 AM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete once again you have proven that you know very little about basketball. You should really get out more and actually go see a game. There's a good one on campus on Thursday night....but you probably don't have tickets I know you'd rather be sending missives from your chair on the computer that show how little you know about our coach and our players.

First of all, this was a team effort to shut down a desperate team who is always better at home.

After your pounding of Reggie, Shane and Dante all year, you should be heaping praise on them today. Reggie shut down KMc and Shane carried us during the 16-1 run with some gigantic shots. Dante, hit shot after big shot (you getting on him for one airball proves to everyone how little respect you have for the game...there are actually other guys playing against Dante....did you know that Pete...its not like you in your basement shooting the nerf ball!) B- for Dante? Foolish.

And don't think for 1 second that Jay did anything different in the ND game after Saturday's game. I thought the rotation was fine for this type of game when we needed to stop ND from hitting 3's (hence why Stokes only played 12 minutes).

This wasn't a big win it was a huge win.

At 7:33 AM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Pete...just saw your grades....did you watch the game? I agree with anon #3 above...how can you possibly write about Reggie without recognizing that he covered Kyle McAlarney all night and "held" him to 2-7 and 1-3 from 3. What are you crazy? Did you even watch the game? Do you understand the defense we were throwing at ND? And don't you understand that not having Corey Stokes out there had all to do with defense and NOTHING to do with offense? Study up before the tourney Pete. You need it.

Reggie Redding (S, 38 min)
Redding played well against Notre Dame, but was it 38-minutes well? I guess it worked out. He was quietly efficient on the offense, shooting 3-5, including 1-1 for three, to score 7 points. Redding added 4 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, and 2 turnovers to his well-rounded effort. He looked good on the defensive end after giving up some key plays against Georgetown.
Grade: B

At 8:16 AM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous Ken said...

For someone who presents themselves as some sort of coaching expert, your love of Corey Stokes shows you're more Matt Doherty than Dean Smith. Stokes may make a high percentage of threes, but he takes a high percentage of AWFUL threes. For exapmle, we are up 5 with 3 minutes to go and he takes a 25 footer with 30 left on the clock. His selection is awful. Combine that with his terrible defense and it's a wonder he gets as many minutes as he does. The guy is a black hole, who has to get his shots, no matter how they might negatively impact the game.

At 8:16 AM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous Ken said...

For someone who presents themselves as some sort of coaching expert, your love of Corey Stokes shows you're more Matt Doherty than Dean Smith. Stokes may make a high percentage of threes, but he takes a high percentage of AWFUL threes. For exapmle, we are up 5 with 3 minutes to go and he takes a 25 footer with 30 left on the clock. His selection is awful. Combine that with his terrible defense and it's a wonder he gets as many minutes as he does. The guy is a black hole, who has to get his shots, no matter how they might negatively impact the game.

At 9:25 AM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous Mike said...

Pete, I won't go so far as to say you know nothing about basketball, but your insane bias is really shining through this morning.

For Fisher: "A player can only be judged on his decisions, and not his results." If that's the case, Cunningham deserves an A+, because almost all the jumpers that he missed were wide open. Yet you're giving him a B- because of missed shots. You can't have it both ways my friend -- you are grading Cunningham on his execution yet grading Fisher on his decision-making. Why the rip on Cunningham?

You also heap praise on Fisher, saying that his three assists meant he "passed the ball well". Redding must have passed it just as well by your logic, because he had the exact same number of assists, but no commentary that way. And whose fault is it that Fisher picked up 3 fouls in the first half??? Much as you'd like to, you can't blame that one on the coach.

It's also becoming apparent that you don't measure defense. Did you watch Reggie Redding completely shut down Kyle McAlarney? It seems like you are grading players on a stat line rather than on overall performance. Even taking away his 7 points for a minute: a rational question is what grade would Reggie have received if he didn't score, didn't get a rebound, didn't have an assist, but held McAlarney to his season-low output in a game his team would have then won by 10 on the road? You probably would fail him, yet that defensive effort ALONE was an enormous part of why we won the game.

At 9:36 AM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous Geesus said...

For someone who is typically so critical of the coaches and players on this team I am surprised to see you give Corey Fisher such a pass in your recap. "A player cannot be judged on his results...". Errr maybe for you. I typically judge players about 90% by their results. Dwayne Anderson goes 0-97 on wide open jumpers, I think to myself, hey buddy dont shoot anymore your results suck.

At 9:41 AM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stokes has actually played very well the past couple of games on the defensive end. As a taller guard, he also works well in Nova's matchup d as a couple of times he switched off to Gody and was able to hold his own and deny the post pass.

He also has good court vision as evidenced by three great interior passes last night. Stokes being in there, even when he doesn't score, stretches the defense and opens up the interior. It's no coincidence that Dante went on his 8-0 run(6 of which came from the paint) when Stokes was in the game.

If he develops a better dirbble drive game over the summer, watch out.

At 9:45 AM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The double standard mentioned by #7 is glaring and obvious, and is typical of Pete. Bends over backwards to be fair to players he likes, while making nit picking ctiricism of players he doesn't like. He does the same thing to Wright, usually (not so much this time), giving him no credit for positives such as Cunningham's development as a player, and all the blame for negatives.

But I'm feeling charitable today, as his comments are marginally more lucid than normal, so I'll only make one other commnent. It's true that Pete's knowledge of the game is quite lacking, but I'd say that most of his ignorance is directly or indirectly related to the question of defense. Her evaluates players almost entirely based upon their offensive contributions, ignoring defense almost entirely.

At 11:37 AM, March 03, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

# 4 and # 7 and #10,

In Redding's paragraph, what part of "He looked good on the defensive end " did you not understand?

Also, Redding is one of my favorite players. Always has been. So if anything, I am biased towards him, not against him. I think you are seeing patterns here where there are none. B is an excellent grade.

As for a B- for Dante, I am sorry, but he missed 10 jump shots. That's huge. He also didn't have any steals or turnovers, and just 8 boards in 35 mins. All that said, B- is still a good grade. It's 2 notches above average.

At 11:40 AM, March 03, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

@ #3

That's pretty funny. I think it's pretty clear that apart from anything else, I have seen a lot of basketball games. You can say that I have no life, etc -- but it's pretty clear from reading the site here that I do watch basketball.

At 11:45 AM, March 03, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

@ # 5 -- Yes, Ken, I wrote all about how bad that three was in my review of the G'Town game. My point is that anyone shooting 44 percent from the three needs to take more threes in general.

At 3:42 PM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe #5 is referring to the three that Stokes shot this game when we were up by 15 (I think) with 3 minutes to go. There was at least 30 seconds left on the shot clock and it was horrible shot selection. I've never read your blog before but this seems to be an analysis of the stat line only. Playing good defense is often not captured by the box score but is often, and most certainly in last night's case, the reason for the win.

At 4:10 PM, March 03, 2009, Blogger Pete said...

It's a good thing I talk about defense a lot, then.

At 5:11 PM, March 03, 2009, Blogger Dan said...

I've used this site as a nice tool for Nova news since I no longer live in the area. I've been extremely dissapointed with the blog this year though and all the negativity despite a 24-6 record.

The worst part is that I actually agree with you to a point about the two Coreys playing more. But your arguments have been extremely bias and off the point. I wanted to address a few of them quickly.

First off - You seem to compare Shane Clark's minutes to Corey Fisher's, categorizing Clark as a "wing". He has played the wing in the past (2 years ago with Sumpter and Dante underneath), but have you watched his role this year. He's basically our center. He is in there for his post defense and rebounding. And he's doing a great job. If it's not him, it's going to be Pena. He has no impact on Fisher's minutes.

Second point - you seem to like to use statistics when arguing for the two-point-guard offense. I think Jay should utilize it more, but not to the point that you argue. We are murdered defensively by some teams when those two are in together. Case in point - last season vs. Notre Dame, Jay started Corey and Scottie(32 minutes each), and McAlarney went off for 30 points. This is because Scottie is incapable of carrying his load offensively and also close out on shooters. This year, Redding gets 38 minutes, McAlarney hits 1 3. Individual defensive efforts are hard to quantify but that's a pretty good stat right there.

You are onto something with Fisher's minutes, but I beg of you, please be objective. Redding getting a B last night shows your bias. He was absolutely phenominal.

At 5:29 PM, March 03, 2009, Blogger Pete said...

a B is a good grade! What do you want, an A when he only made 3 shots? A grades are reserved for dominating all around performances.

Also, what is this ridiculous bias you speak of? If anything, I am biased against Clark. How can I be biased against Redding, one of my favorite players? That makes zero sense.

Read this blog two years ago when I was calling for Redding to start over and over.

At 7:02 PM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous IMKL said...

Pete, the bias is clear as day when you compare the grades the players received.

Redding and Clark should not be one notch above Fisher and Stokes. Dante should not be one notch above Anderson. To grade them that way shows a clear bias, one that you are not even aware of when we point it out. #7 and #16 make great points, without personal attacks.

We're all comparing the grades against the overall game performances. If you come up with the ratings in a different manner, tell us, this way we can change how we come up with what we think of the grades.

Oh for wanting Redding to get an A, no, not necessarily. But if Fisher shut-down Jonny Flynn (just thinking of a comparable player/role as McAlarney that he may guard, off the top of my head) defensively and put up the same stat-line as Redding, what would you have graded him? I'd have to think he would be at least a B+, most likely an A-.

At 7:07 PM, March 03, 2009, Blogger Pete said...

I dont think I have ever, or would ever, give an A to a player who only made 3 baskets

At 7:46 PM, March 03, 2009, Blogger Fact said...

Notre dame is just a disappointment... they're constantly overrated

At 8:50 PM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"First off - You seem to compare Shane Clark's minutes to Corey Fisher's, categorizing Clark as a "wing". He has played the wing in the past (2 years ago with Sumpter and Dante underneath), but have you watched his role this year. He's basically our center. He is in there for his post defense and rebounding. And he's doing a great job. If it's not him, it's going to be Pena. He has no impact on Fisher's minutes."

Said it much better than I could. If it wasn't already obvious, a post a few days ago (where Pete gave estimates of how many minutes he thought each player should be getting) made it even more obvious that Pete's whole Fisher whine is about thinking that Fisher should get 10 of Clark's minutes. But that's crazy, it's not going to happen for obvious reasons. He would be getting minutes from Redding or Reynolds, maybe Stokes, outside chance Anderson. And you CAN make the case that he should be, but it's a tough call. But Clark? Not only is that crazy, but at the very least it's unorthodox enough that you can hardly criticize Wright for not going that direction. Certainly not to the extent that Pete does.

I mean, the conventional wisdom (correct IMO) is that Nova's biggest impediment to winning a sweet sixteen or elite eight game is going to be a size disadvantage. And Pete wants to give up another 6 inches for 10 minutes a game?

Pete, get it into your head. 2006 was an abberation born of necessity and an unusually talented and experienced set of guards - and they still fell short of the final four because they got killed by a much bigger team. You can point to other relatively small teams wwho have had some success, but they don't win national championships, and they rarely make the final four. Even this year's quality smaller teams (and we will see how far they get) all* play bigger than Nova does now, with Clark getting around 20 minutes a game. And this year is something of an aberation anyway.

*Yes, except for Marquette, another team that plays small out of necessity rather than choice. And another team that won't see the sweet sixteen.

At 8:56 PM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I dont think I have ever, or would ever, give an A to a player who only made 3 baskets"

That really says it all, doesn't it? Sure, Pete, you talk about defense sometimes, but when push comes to shove, you simply don't respect the importance of defensive play nearly as much as you are spellbound by good offensive play.

It came through in your comments on the Georgetown game too. You were appalled that Nova didn't win despite Georgetown's late shooting slump. But it didn't even occur to you that said slump might have been caused in part by Wright's coaching moves, and specificly his personal decisions?

Of course one could argue that even so, given that Nova was behind, he should have gone with a more offensive lineup (even though the players you wanted in were ice cold). But that argument would have required a little nuance, and you don't do nuance very well, do you?

At 8:59 PM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re my comment #21, you saw the same thing with the Grant stuff last year. If Grant played more, whose minutes would he have gotten? Fisher's, probably, maybe Stokes or Redding - all players Pete professes to like. No, Pete basicly wanted 3 players under 6'2" on the floor at once - a recipe for a rebounding and defensive disaster.

At 9:15 PM, March 03, 2009, Blogger Pete said...

As a matter of policy I am no longer reading long anonymous rants.

At 11:11 PM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous papa smurf said...


Finally, you've been acknowledging the anons pathetic existence for too long and encouraging their craziness. However, please continue to respond to the IMKL, Ken, Mike's etc. I enjoy their reasoned criticisms.

At 12:19 AM, March 04, 2009, Anonymous IMKL said...

You don't even read my rants Pete. You ignored everything on focused on one tiny thing...

"I dont think I have ever, or would ever, give an A to a player who only made 3 baskets"

What about the stats I point out concerning Dante? Why did Clark and Redding score only a notch above Stokes and Fisher? Same with Dante scoring a notch above Dwayne? Explain your methods of grading.

I already know your opinion of me, but at least answer logical questions rather than focusing on my guess that Fisher may have been given at least a B+ if he did the same thing as Redding did in the ND game. You may have squeaked it into an A- just because you'd credit Fisher with making our offense look so good and limiting our TOs to just 5. Okay... you answered this with some lazy response, but answer my real questions that I repeated above.

At 1:24 AM, March 04, 2009, Blogger Pete said...


How many "notches" above Fisher and Stokes would you like Clark and Redding to have been? You are acting like there is some objective scale here. Also it is interesting to note that in this game, the grades were clustered very close together anyway.

Dante got his grade because he missed 10 shots. Maybe I am old fashioned, but I don't think it's OK for a power forward to miss 10 of 18 shots. I'm sure Jay Wright disagrees with me, and that's fine. My blog grades don't count toward Dante's real GPA. And a B- is still a good grade.

I think, at heart, it's an issue of grade inflation. If I give Redding an A when he scores under 10 points, what can I give him when he does the same defensive job but scores 30? So I tend to reserve the A's for truly dominating performances.

A guy like Redding, who for the 1000th time is one of my favorite players, is a role player and thus is not going to have the chance to dominate many games.

And I have no problem with you, IMKL. I like that you participate on the site. I just got a little pissed off because you said that I update the site more after a loss than a win -- which makes no sense. I put a lot of time into this blog, way more than some other of the blogs do (greycat excepted.) I wrote a 1600-word recap that was about 10 times longer than vuhoops' but for some reason everyone thinks he is a bigger fan because he is so "positive."

I would say the guy who is writing 1500 words per post is probably pretty dedicated to the team, win or lose.

At 7:28 AM, March 04, 2009, Anonymous IMKL said...

"IMKL picked VUhoops live blog not this one, GOOD!"

Paraphrasing that, but I chuckle at that comment, since it was made when I wasn't even on this site during whatever game that was. That must make me the blue man of LGN or something.. what a lousy distinction. But you are right, my conspiracy theory about updating more during losses was dumb. It' was just the perception, similar to your theory on VU transfers. I guess we should leave these controversial conspiracy theories to those who are in the know... after all I know nothing about your personal obligations.

Anyway, okay I respect and understand why you chose the grades you gave then. I agree, the grades should be fairly bunched together considering everyone played a great game.

As for Dante, we'll just never see eye to eye on our opinion of his mid-range jumper. His career stats speak for themselves, although as of today, his FG% is actually down 0.4%. Based on 5 add'l shots a game though, I still say his shot is very very good.

The wear and tear of the BE season is definitely hurting his shooting lately, and I feel like too much emphasis is being put on the performances in the last 2-3 weeks. Prior to Feb 19th, there were only 4 games where Dante shot less than 50%, and one of them is a bit unfair since it was a 2-5 effort in his foul out at Uconn. Since then, a 5 game span, he's shot less than 50% 3 times. And it can't be the quality of the opponent, since 2 of those 3 games were Rutgers and DePaul.

At 11:58 AM, March 04, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pete just to offset your argument about dante....if you look at blake griffins stats there are multiple games where he goes 6-15 from the field yet he is always considered a dominating presence. surely you wouldnt dare knock down his grades here would you?

At 12:17 PM, March 04, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete, your mindless, thoughtless, meaningless rants that favor shooting over everything continue to prove what many other on here already know...you don't really understand the game. For you to downplay defense, leadership and the intangibles that anyone (I'll use Dante and Reggie here) display in favor of your love of "making every shot" is proof that you have no idea what you are writing.

And Jay neither agrees or disagrees with you...you are nowhere on his radar screen.

At 12:44 PM, March 04, 2009, Anonymous Fake Pete said...

This is directed at comment 29.

Blake Griffin Grade: F
Corey Fisher Player of the year

Prediction for next years player of the year: Malcolm Grant

At 12:58 PM, March 04, 2009, Blogger Pete said...

@30 -- The day I start factoring bullshit concepts like "leadership" is the day I stop blogging. They're not trying to secure a hill in the Revolutionary War here... it's a game of basketball.

They're running around trying to put a ball through a hoop. Let's not forget that. I don't think "leadership" plays any role except to give something announcers to bullshit about during the pre-game show. "His leadership helped the team overcome the adversity of trailing by 6 on the road." Ha! "Adversity" is another one of those meaningless basketball cliches. Good thing the leadership can overcome the adversity.

It's just a game! Intangibles like leadership play about as large a role in college basketball as the color of the sneakers.

This is not to say that there is not a strategy and tactical set to the game -- of course there is. Intelligent and disciplined teams always have the edge. But that's not what "leadership" means the way you and everyone else uses it. You're attaching more of a individualistic heroism to the word, implying that a certain player makes his teammates play better not by being in the right place on the court, or running hard (hustle, which is valid), BUT BY SHEER PSYCHOLOGICAL WILL.

Which is all well and good for the pre-game show but is mostly horseshit otherwise.

At 3:44 PM, March 04, 2009, Blogger Eric said...

@32 That's some pretty good pot-stirring right there. I guess I'll take the bait.

It's one thing to say that you can't measure an intangible (which is true by definition, right?); it's another thing to say that the intangibles don't exist or don't have an effect. Whether it be in a battle, in a game, or in the mundane world of office cubicles, someone with charisma, excitement, passion, team spirit, etc., can and does affect the performance of those around him or her.

Leadership often occurs on the sideline, in a huddle, in the locker room, on the practice court. None of which will show up in a stat line.

If the team shows up to a game, and it's clear they are just not motivated or pumped up, you would quickly blame Jay. You obviously recognize (what would normally go without saying) that as the coach, he has some psychological effect on the team. Surely you don't claim that the team members themselves cannot also affect each other in ways other than hustling and being in the right place on the court.

I think this is one opinion you will retract after a few minutes of thought.

At 4:06 PM, March 04, 2009, Blogger Pete said...

I think it's the coach's responsibility to make sure the players:

1. Are conditioned enough to play hard the whole game

2. Understand the game-theory fundamentals that dictate playing hard the whole game. (Bobby Knight was the best ever at conveying this.)

3. Are well versed in both basketball tactics and strategy

4. Have both basketball fundamentals and the coach's particular plays and sets ingrained in their muscle memories.

After those conditions are satisfied, which I think are the minimum requirements for any head coach, ideally not much will be left on the court for "leadership" to affect.

I guess you can say there is some crossover between leadership and hustling, proper court spacing, and unselfishness with the basketball; and obviously the latter three have immense effects on the game... so I might give you some credit there.

When it comes down to it we might just be arguing semantics. That said, though, I really am not going to bump up Dante Cunningham's "grade" because he is such an awesome "leader" on the court.

At 6:44 PM, March 04, 2009, Anonymous IMKL said...

@30 and Pete @32.

As a HUGE baseball fan (300 times a bigger than I am about College BBall), this reminds me of the scouting vs sabermetrics debate. Trying to quantify intangibles like toughness, leadership, etc, is a fruitless effort. Using only stats, you lose out these intangibles that shouldn't be ignored if you are analyzing humans.

I myself side with the sabermetrics because I feel like I can actually get somewhere with it. At the end of the day I don't care if that player is GRITTY, or has great HEART. To bring it back to basketball, can he score? Can he get his shot at will? Using unscientific characteristics it's impossible to argue these points, however you can use eFG%, court +/-, etc etc etc to do these things. Maybe I'm missing some of the big picture, but not nearly as much as just saying "oh wow he's a leader on the floor!11!!1!!!!" And FYI, defense can be put into stats to be properly valued and compared.

So for me personally, #30s comments are laughable. You come off looking like 99% of the people who post comments at the bottom of articles on espn.com, and trust me, that is not a good thing.

I know Pete feels the same way, but he isn't a stat guy per-say.. or just doesn't like to be in your face with it.

So I don't know what my point is, I just found it interesting to see the dichotomy, sabermetrics vs scouting (not sure what else to call it), pop up here. I thought this was just a baseball thing due to its intense focus on history and numbers, but there is definitely a momentum behind it in basketball (greycat, pomeroy, etc are proof of this).

At 4:15 AM, March 05, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not reading anything said here so this may not be relevant but I'm gonna assume there has been bitching about Stokes minutes. I implore those who may be questioning his minutes, if you TiVO, to re-watch the ND game and track Stokes when he is in. I saw him give up 8 easy pts on botched switches while watching real time on my Jet Blue flight. Stokes is a very good defender for almost any team in the country and is definitely improving but he plays for Jay who is a defense first coach so his minutes go accordingly. He is not a bad defender but Jay's defensive sets are relatively difficult to follow. Good news is Stokes will be fully prepared to take the role full time next year so they'll have a little more consistent outside presence to go along with the defensive presence of current.

On to Providence. I hope they feed Superman Shane and he scores 20+. That would just make me very happy.

At 6:48 AM, March 05, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey Pete...#30 here....have you beat my leadership thought to death enough??? take out the leadership comment and use only defense if you like you moron. Any by the way...8-18 (or missing 10 shots as you point out, is 1 less make than 50%). Your comment that its okay for a shooting guard but not for a power forward is further proof that you've never actually understood the game. We're not talking about a guy that gets dunks we're talking about 8-12 footers that are against the biggest people the other team has. So please, please get real.

At 11:02 AM, March 05, 2009, Blogger Eric said...

How did Jay not make this list?

At 11:38 AM, March 05, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"only defense if you like moron"

And rebounding, don't forget rebounding. Almost as much as defense that's a blind spot for Pete, and a flaw on his constant complaint that Nova doesn't go with an even smaller lineup.

"Your comment that its okay for a shooting guard but not for a power forward"

The juxtiposition of Pete's comments regarding Cunningham's shooting in the last game and Fisher's is hilarious. 8-18 is horible and enough reason to mark Cunningham down to a B-, but 0-5 is just fine and merits the same B-.

At 12:06 PM, March 05, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Someone tell Sean Donovan that the audio was disabled

At 12:21 PM, March 05, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

Nice catch, #40


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