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29 November 2006

Randy scores on Yao

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/29/2006 12:54:00 AM
ESPN's highlights of tonight's T'Wolves-Rockets game feature a nifty drive-and-score by Randy Foye over defender Yao Ming.

You can watch it on ESPN's Motion player (flash required) here; the play is about halfway through the clip.

And here it is on YouTube. Bonus: the commentary is in Chinese!!

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25 November 2006

Radio for tonight

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/25/2006 05:36:00 PM
Tonight's game vs. Navy at 7:30 is not airing on television, so for all of you unable to make it to the Pavilion, there are some options to listen to the game on the radio.

WNAV 1430 AM (Annapolis, Md.) will have the game, and you can listen to its Internet stream for free. (Realplayer required.)

WPEN 950 AM (Philadelphia) will also have the game. The streaming link is here, but I can't get it to work on my computer. Maybe you will have better luck.

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22 November 2006

Lowry's wrist broken; out indefinitely

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/22/2006 08:49:00 PM
Kyle Lowry, who starred for the Villanova Wildcats last year before being drafted this year by the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies, has broken his left wrist, according to the NBA.

Lowry will be out indefinitely as the fracture heals. Kyle had been enjoying a standout rookie season for the Grizzlies, and had some early rookie-of-the-year buzz.

Kyle will have surgery to repair the fracture, Let'sGoNova has learned. We wish him a quick recovery.

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Lowry injures wrist

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/22/2006 03:12:00 AM

[update] CBS Sportsline now lists Kyle as "questionable" for his Nov. 24 game, while ESPN lists Kyle as "Day-to-Day". So hopefully this means the injury is not severe. The wrist is fractured and Kyle is out indefinitely.

Just one day after leading his Memphis Grizzlies to a win against the Orlando Magic, Kyle Lowry left the game tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers after playing just 11 minutes. According to NBA.com, "Lowry injured his wrist in the third quarter and didn't return."

There is no word yet on how severe the injury is. Losing Lowry for an extended period of time would be a huge blow for the Grizzlies, as Kyle has already emerged as an invaluable sparkplug for the team.

After Kyle's fantastic performance against the Magic, where he scored 16 points, dished out 6 assists, grabbed 5 rebounds, and had 5 steals, in 30 minutes of play, an administrator on the official Grizzlies message boards wrote this in his keys to the Cleveland game post:

Match the Cavs energy level. This is code for play Kyle Lowry 30+ minutes. Playing at home and on 2 days rest, the Cavs are sure to come out with more energy than the Grizz. Last night the Grizz had no energy in the first quarter, until Lil' Lowry came in and turned the game around. Hopefully the high energy level Lowry installed last night can carry over to tonight. Last year in the 89-70 loss at Cleveland on Nov 11th, the Grizz played with almost no energy, evident by only scoring 70 points, starting the game with only 3 points in the first 6 minutes and having four separate times where the Grizz went scoreless for more than 5 minutes at a time. The Cavs main energy guy, Anderson Varejao, will come off the bench just like ours (Lowry) will. After the first round of substitutions, let’s hope that Lowry can lift the Grizz energy level higher than Cavs.

Of the three Villanova rookies in the NBA, Kyle has had by far the biggest impact on his team and the league, so far. We can only hope this wrist injury is not serious and that Kyle will be back on the floor soon.

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Marquette topples Duke; BE roundup

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/22/2006 02:56:00 AM
Also: Cincy, Rutgers lose at home

Marquette 73
Duke 62

The Marquette Golden Eagles (13 AP/17 ESPN) took home the CBE Classic championship for the Big East tonight in Kansas City, defeating the favored Duke Blue Devils (9 AP/8 ESPN) by a score of 73-62. After beating Bobby Knight and his Red Raiders last night, Marquette toppled another coaching legend tonight in Duke's Coach K.

Sophomore Dominic James, probably the best guard in the Big East, exploded for 25 points and 7 assists for Marquette. James also took home the tournament's MVP award.

Perhaps equally impressive, however, was the performance of Marquette's other guard, sophomore Jerel McNeal. McNeal had a terrifying 6 steals on the night, giving him 24 steals already this season. In fact, McNeal and James are 1-2 in the Big East in steals, with 24 and 16. McNeal also scored 17 points while leading the Eagles in minutes, with 37.

Wofford 91
Cincinnati 90

The Wofford Terriers shocked the Bearcats tonight in Fifth Third Arena, scoring 53 in the second half to win 91-90. Wofford, of the Southern Conference, holds the honor of being the first team I have written about for Let'sGoNova whose nickname I had to look up.

Wofford senior Eric Marshall had 27 points for the Terriers. Cincinatti had four starters in double figures, including freshman guard Deonta Vaughn, who scored 33.

Jackson St. 71
Rutgers 70

The bad week for Rutgers University continues. After seeing its national championship hopes dashed in football, Scarlet Knight fans suffered the indignity of losing to little-known Jackson State of the Southwestern Atlantic Conference.

To make matters worse, Jackson St. was 0-4 before heading into Piscataway's RAC, though all four losses were on the road to four good teams with a combined record of 14-0. Still, the Jackson St. Tigers (of Mississippi) finished 247th in the RPI last year, a fact which Rutgers fans may have trouble swallowing.

In other Big East action, DePaul easily handled Chaminade, 93-74, and South Florida dispatched intra-state rival Florida International, 79-50. The Bulls are now 3-0.

Though it wasn't a Big East game, we have to mention Florida's (1 AP/1 ESPN) absolute annihilation of Prairie View A&M, 94-33. Florida coach Billy Donovan only played his starters for 20 minutes tonight, but that still didn't stop his Gators from blasting Prairie View by 61, almost tripling the Panthers' score.

Florida looks dominant this year. Though the competition in its first five games hasn't been overwhelming, the fact that the closest of those games was a 25-pt Florida win is impressive. The Gators' first real test will be on Saturday when it takes on Kansas (10 AP/13 ESPN) in Las Vegas.


Iowa-game grades

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/22/2006 02:09:00 AM
Villanova 89
Iowa 60

Villanova: 2-1 (0-0)
Next game: Navy, 11/25 @ the Pavilion.

Sorry these grades are late. But better late than never.

Villanova secured third place in the Paradise Jam tournament Monday night with a convincing 89-60 blowout win against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

In a stark departure from the loss against Xavier, Jay Wright showcased the team's depth against Iowa, going eight deep in the rotation, and playing 12 players when all was said and done.

Onto the grades:

  • Curtis Sumpter (30 min)

    It seemed Curtis could do no wrong in this game. Sumpter was on fire against the Hawkeyes, scoring 26 and shooting 7-10 from the field, including 4-6 from the three-point line. He also sank 8-10 free throws and had two swats. Grade: A

  • Dante Cunningham (30 min)

    Dante had a great game in the post, which is quickly becoming his undisputed domain. Cunningham shot 50 percent from the field (4-8), and totaled 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Villanova's playmakers are finding that Dante is a convenient target in the lane to finish off a nifty sequence. Grade: B+

  • Mike Nardi (26 min)

    Nardi looked active in the backcourt, and was stroking it nicely from behind the three-point line (4-7). Several of those threes were of the "dagger" variety, as well. Mike also provided a critical scoring burst early in the game when the 'Cats had not yet pulled away: 13 of his 16 points were in the first half. He had a bit of trouble with turnovers, committing 4, but otherwise it was a fantastic performance. Grade: B+

  • Scottie Reynolds (25 min)

    Reynolds again looked good running the point, but I wish he could start contributing more offensively. Against Iowa, he was limited to only 1 point on 0-2 shooting. Still, his defense was great, and he committed no turnovers despite handling the ball for much of the game. He also led the team in assists, with 4, and had a sweet-looking block that cost Iowa a sure 2 points. Grade: B

  • Will Sheridan (16 min)

    The rumor is that Will has been suffering from an undisclosed flu-like illness. Let'sGoNova.com wishes Bump the speediest of recoveries if he is indeed sick. Sheridan did not make much of an impact against Iowa, scoring just 2 points and pulling down 0 rebounds in 16 minutes of play. It was only when Jay subbed out Will that the team was able to assert itself defensively to create turnovers and transition offense. Grade: D+ (Or Incomplete if Will was sick.)

  • Dwayne Anderson (22 min)

    The sophomore sensation is proving himself to be a viable scoring option for the 'Cats this year. Dwayne went off for 18 this time, stroking 4 three-pointers in 10 attempts. Dwayne looks like a streak-shooter: when he gets hot, watch out. He also co-led the team in rebounds, with 5. Grade: B+

  • Shane Clark (17 min)

    Shane had a solid all-around game. Clark scored 6 points on two three-pointers, and also had 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and a team-high 2 steals. Shane's wingspan allows him to play bigger than he stands, and it showed last night against the Big-Ten's Iowa. Grade: B

  • Bilal Benn (18 min)

    Benn is a defense-first player, so his contributions may not be reflected in the box score. Bilal is an excellent practitioner of Villanova Basketball, and may be the toughest guy on the team. Grade: B-

  • Frank Tchuisi (2 min)

    Frank only played for two minutes, so his grade is incomplete, but I wanted to give Frank his own paragraph for getting the first 2 points of his Villanova career. Congratulations!

  • Incomplete grades:
    Casiem Drummond (8 min), Reggie Redding (5 min), Ross Condon (1 min).

  • Did not play:
    Andrew Ott
    (RS), Antonio Pena (RS)

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20 November 2006

'Bama wins Paradise Jam

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/20/2006 10:32:00 PM
Our loss to Xavier looks a little bit worse, now that Alabama beat the Musketeers in a fairly close game tonight, winning the Paradise Jam tournament 63-56. It would have been nice to at least have lost to the eventual champion, but after a close loss to Xavier and solid win over Iowa, the 'Cats can come home feeling good.

Next game is Navy at the Pavilion on Saturday.

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'Nova-Iowa live thread

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/20/2006 06:23:00 PM

Villanova is now playing Iowa in the Paradise Jam third-place game. For those of you who do not have FCSN TV, here is a link to a live radio stream: WHO-radio

[update 8:14 p.m.] Villanova 90 Villanova 89, Iowa 60. Final. Villanova improves to 2-1 (0-0) for the year. Full recap and player grades coming later tonight.

[update 8:30 p.m.] Ross Condon's three was ruled a 2. Villanova 89, Iowa 60.

In-game updates are below the fold.

[update 8:11 p.m.] Great game for the 'Cats. Box score is here. Full recap with player grades coming later tonight.

[update 8:09 p.m.] Ross Condon for THREE! Ross hit a three-pointer with three ticks left. Villanova wins 90-60, FINAL.

[update 8:07 p.m.] Frank T. scores!! Tchuisi just hit a layup to put 'Nova up 85-57 with 90 seconds to play.

[update 7:55 p.m.] Sumpter finally exits the game, finishing with 26 points on 7-10 shooting. Benn and Redding are now in.

[update 7:53 p.m.] Sumpter just got fouled hard. Why is he still in?! We are up 74-48 with 5:11 to play.

[update 7:48 p.m.] Iowa radio announcers: "Paradise is when you have a defense like Villanova." 'Cats up 70-45 off another Anderson three-pointer. 13 threes for the 'Cats. 6:55 to play.

[update 7:40 p.m.] Reynolds threaded an great pass down low to Dante, who missed it at first, and then put his own rebound back in. Count that as a "ghost assist" for Scottie. Sumpter also just hit two more 3-pt FG, he has 24 on the game, on 7-9 shooting. Nova up 27, 67-40, with 8:50 to play.

[update 7:32 p.m.] It's raining threes in the Virgin Islands. Dwayne Anderson just hit his second 3-pt FG, giving Villanova 10 threes and a 57-32 lead with 12:30 left in the game.

[update 7:30 p.m.] Villanova has forced another 5 turnovers early in the second half. Iowa now has 18 TOs on the game. Shane Clark just hit a huge three, putting Nova up 54-30.

[update 7:26 p.m.] Dwayne Anderson fed a sweet pass down low to Dante for a layup, putting Villanova up 50-28 at the 16-minute TV timeout.

[update 7:24 p.m.] Nardi hit a three and Cunningham had a fast-break lay-up off an Iowa turnover to put 'Nova up 20, 46-26.

[update 7:22 p.m.] 'Cats look a little cold coming out of the locker room. After two minutes of second half play, Villanova only has two turnovers and one foul.

[update 7:18 p.m.] On the floor for the 'Cats to start the second half: Sumpter, Sheridan, Reynolds, Nardi, and Cunningham.

[update 7:15 p.m.] The Wildcats' stifling defense forced 13 turnovers in the first half. Excellent. Second half is about to start.

[update 7:05 p.m.] A look at some stats at the half. Curtis Sumpter leads the Wildcats with 15 points, going an excellent 4-6 from the field. Mike Nardi has 13 points already, shooting 5-11, including 3-6 from the three. Dwayne Anderson has 7 points on 2-6 shooting. Clark and Cunningham each have 3 points. Benn and Drummond also have been in the game.

[update 7:01 p.m.] Villanova leads 41-24 at the half. The 'Cats have hit 7 three-pointers. The three-quarter-court press has proved devastatingly effective, forcing several Iowa turnovers and allowing the 'Cats to run a little bit. The team looks good right now. Hope they can keep it up in the second half.

[update 6:53 p.m.] Villanova just doubled up the Hawkeyes, 34-17, and are on a 31 to 8 run. (Or a 19 to 2 run). Nardi's fast-break three-pointer just forced an Iowa timeout with 2:26 left.

[update 6:49 p.m.] The 'Cats are playing great defense. Dante Cunningham just had a huge swat of an Adam Haluska would-be dunk, and then Villanova forced the Hawkeyes into a shot-clock violation. Still 29-17.

[update 6:47 p.m.] The run continues. Dwayne Anderson hit two free throws and a three-pointer to put the 'Cats up 29-17 with 5:30 to play.

[update 6:44 p.m.] Villanova is on a little run. Nardi hit 2 threes and Shane Clark hit a three. 'Nova is up 24-17 with 7 minutes to play in the half.

[update 6:33 p.m.] Sumpter just scored 7 straight points to put us up 2 with 10 minutes to play in the half.

[update 6:27 p.m.] Slow start for 'Nova... down 10-5 at the 12-minute mark. We are 2-10 from the field, and have given Iowa 9 free throws already.

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Keys for tonight

posted by Matthew
11/20/2006 06:50:00 AM
Keys to winning tonight's game include:

  • Keeping turnovers down.

    Villanova had 16 last night.

  • Fewer (missed) threes.

    Villanova shot 23. A fairly high number considering the Wildcats only start two true guards.

  • Second chance points.

    Until very late in the game, Villanova was being out-rebounded substantially. If Jay wants to keep the team in more games, he is going to have to install a focus on grabbing rebounds.

Xavier 71
Villanova 66

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/20/2006 03:10:00 AM

Villanova: 1-1 (0-0)
Next game: Iowa, 11/20/06

In an extremely close game with eight ties and 13 lead changes, Villanova came up short against the Xavier Musketeers Sunday night in the Paradise Jam semifinals at the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The game went down to the final few possessions. Trailing by 2 with 12 seconds left, Curtis Sumpter launched a three from the corner, right in front of the Villanova bench. Though there appeared to be contact as the ball left Sumpter's hands, no foul was called. Xavier's Brandon Cole made one free throw to put his team up by 3, and Mike Nardi's 3-pt-attempt for the tie was off the mark.

Xavier guard Stan Burrell led all scorers with 26. Curtis Sumpter and Shane Clark each scored 17 for the Wildcats.

Our Take:

Click read more (below) for why we lost, silver linings, and player grades.

Why we lost:

  • Lack of clutch experience

    Villanova fans were downright spoiled last year in close games. Every time a game went down to the last possession, the Wildcats had three poised, confident, experienced NBA-level players to make clutch plays. It became almost routine to see a game go down to the wire and then won by an Allan Ray jumper, a Kyle Lowry drive, or a Randy Foye anything. Unfortunately for the 'Cats, Ray, Lowry, and Foye are now busy making clutch plays for their respective NBA teams.

    We need a clutch leader to emerge for these end-of-game situations. The natural choice would be senior Curtis Sumpter, but he needs to find his outside shot. Mike Nardi or Scottie Reynolds could also play this role. Someone needs to step up.

  • Lack of scoring

    With the departure of our top three scorers from last year, Villanova needs to find people to put the ball in the basket. Sumpter's return was a huge help, of course. But aside from Curtis and a surprising Shane Clark, the only other Wildcat in double figures was Mike Nardi, with 10 points. We need our Dante Cunningham and Will Sheridan to find their roles in this offense, and dominate the paint. Scottie Reynolds needs to create more shots for himself. And perhaps Dwayne Anderson can provide a scoring boost off the bench.

  • Weak transition game

    Villanova managed just 14 points off turnovers and 6 fast break points, compared to 22 and 13 for Xavier, respectively. It's hard to get transition points when only notching two steals on the night, so the defense needs to work harder to pressure the ball and the ballhandler.

Silver linings:

  • Rebounding

    Villanova won the battle of the boards, 25-21.

  • Shooting percentage

    The 'Cats shot 26/54 for a 48.1 FG percentage, which is quite decent.

  • Jay's passion

    Jay looked fired up this game, especially in the second half. It's a good sign that Jay and the team are this passionate this early in the season.

Player grades:

  • Curtis Sumpter (36 min)

    Curtis looked good down low, exploding for some very nice lay-ups and a monster jam. The outside shot was a little off, though, as Curtis went 8/18 from the field and 1/5 from the three. Led the team in points (17) and turnovers (5). Grade: B-

  • Mike Nardi (33 min)

    Mike was a good presence out there, providing senior leadership and making smart decisions. Had some trouble from the field, shooting 3/10, but did drain 2 three-pointers in 5 attempts, and led the 'Cats in assists (5) and steals (2). Grade: B

  • Will Sheridan (27 min)

    Bump looked a little lost on offense. Twice he took shots that seemed to be by far out of his range, including a contested 3-pointer. Still, Sheridan was good defensively, blocking two shots. We will need more than 2 rebounds from him, however. Grade: C-

  • Dante Cunningham (36 min)

    Dante was a big presence down low, and on the break the few times we were able to run. I wish we would run more plays for Dante in the post, instead of feeding it to him on the wing. Cunningham had a pretty balanced night, scoring 8, blocking 2 shots, and leading the team in rebounds with 8. Grade: B

  • Scottie Reynolds (26 min)

    Why didn't Jay get Scottie in during the second half? In such a close, see-saw game, it makes sense to have one of our two most-talented players out on the floor. Reynolds looked good handling point duties aside from some costly turnovers. Scottie finally missed a shot this season, going 3/6, including 2 three-ponters, for 8 points. He also added 4 assists. Reynolds might be our best three-point shooter. Grade: B-

  • Shane Clark(29 min)

    A breakout game for Shane? Clark co-led the team in scoring with 17, and was very efficient in the process, shooting 6/9, including 4/7 from the three. Clark seems to have developed into a potent perimeter player despite his unorthodox jump-shot. Would like to see fewer turnovers (3), however, and more rebounds (2) and assists (0). Grade: B+

  • Incomplete grades:
    Bilal Benn
    (1 min), Reggie Redding (5 min), Dwayne Anderson (4 min).

  • Did not play:
    Frank Tchuisi
    (CD), Casiem Drummond (CD), Ross Condon (CD),Andrew Ott (RS), Antonio Pena (RS).

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Old Dominion shocks G'town: BE roundup

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/20/2006 03:08:00 AM

Old Dominion reprised its role as Big-East spoiler, downing Georgetown (8 AP/ESPN) 75-62 at the Hoyas' McDonough Arena. It was, of course, the first time ODU has defeated a ranked team since 1995, when the Monarchs stunned Villanova after three overtime periods in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Pittsburgh (4 AP/5 ESPN) hung on at home against Oakland, 66-55, after trailing by 4 at halftime.

UConn (21 AP/19 ESPN) beat Mississippi 77-59 at the Hartford Civic Center.

Notre Dame crushed The Citadel in South Bend, winning 74-50 after leading 40-12 at halftime.

Rutgers doubled up St. Thomas Aquinas by the score of 82-41 at the always-formidable RAC.


19 November 2006

Pena to redshirt

posted by Matthew
11/19/2006 04:55:00 PM

Let'sGoNova has learned that freshman Antonio Pena will likely take a redshirt this season.

This is a surprising move considering Pena already prepped last year. This will make Pena 25 years old as a senior, assuming he doesn't leave early. Physically, Pena already appears ready to contribute. Perhaps Jay feels Pena just needs more time to mature mentally and learn Villanova basketball.

[update by Pete at 5:20 p.m.] Expect no official announcement on this anytime soon, as Pena could join the team this year if we suffer some injuries. As of right now, however, it is looking like he will indeed redshirt the year.

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18 November 2006

Big East roundup

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/18/2006 03:55:00 AM

Aside from Villanova, five other Big East teams took the floor Friday night.

  • Pittsburgh 78
    Northeastern 52

    Pitt (4 AP/5 ESPN) easily handled the winless Northeastern Huskies. Panthers center Aaron Gray had a monster night with 24 points and 14 boards.

  • Connecticut 88
    Central Arkansas 59

    UConn (21/19) beat up on Central Arkansas, winning easily with a balanced scoring attack.

  • Texas 77
    St. John's 76

    After losing last night to Coaches vs. Cancer runner-up Michigan State, Texas (19/18) barely eked out a win in the consolation against St. John's, which itself lost yesterday by 32 to eventual CvC champion Maryland. Freshman center Kevin Durant had 29 points and 10 rebounds for the Longhorns.

  • South Florida 82
    South Carolina State 69

    The South Florida Bulls are now 2-0 after defeating the SC St. Bulldogs in the battle of the bull.

  • DePaul 71
    Eastern Illinois 41

    The Blue Demons picked up their first win on the season, blowing out Eastern Illinois by 30.

After last night's games, the Big East Conference is 29-6 for the season.

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Villanova 81
College of Charleston 67

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/18/2006 02:13:00 AM

Villanova took down the College of Charleston tonight by the score of 81-68 in first round of the Paradise Jam tournament.

I was not able to view the game, so I will not grade each player's individual performance. From a thorough perusal of the box score, however, several thoughts come to mind:

  • Reynolds played a solid game.

    Scottie split the point duty with Mike Nardi for much of the game, and turned in a nearly flawless performance. Reynolds continued his perfect shooting from the field, going 2-2. Scottie hasn't missed a shot so far this season. He also did not commit any turnovers, which is pretty amazing for a freshman splitting time at point guard in his first game against an NCAA opponent. Reynolds added 2 rebounds and 2 assists to go with his 6 points. No steals, which is a little disappointing, but otherwise, looks like a very solid game for our highest-touted freshman.

  • Sumpter was explosive (in the first half)

    Curtis poured in 17 points in only 20 minutes played, mostly in the first half. Curtis's effort in tonight's game was very reassuring: it looks like Sumpter will be a force this season. Curtis also went 3-5 from the three, had 3 steals, and 2 rebounds.

  • Nardi was a workhorse

    Mike Nardi led the team in minutes played with 36 tonight. He scored 16 points, and half came from the charity stripe, where he was a perfect 8-8. He also shot 2-3 from the three, which is encouraging, but only 3-10 from the field overall. Nardi also led the team in assists, with 6, but had no steals. When was the last game our starting backcourt had no steals? I can't remember. But overall, Mike was probably tonight's MVP. It looks like the tonsillitis/mononucleosis/black plague has fully healed and Nardi is at full strength, thankfully.

  • Bump can score, and rebound

    Will Sheridan had a great game. Bump put up 14 points on a decent 5-11 from the field and 4-5 from the line. He also led the team in rebounds with 8, including 5 offensive boards, and had 3 steals. Solid night from Will.

  • Big bench contribution

    Jay went with an unusually deep rotation tonight: Nine players saw 13 or more minutes. Shane Clark played 28 minutes off the bench, putting in 12 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. Freshman Reggie Redding played a solid 18 minutes, and sophomore Bilal Benn was in for 16. Dwayne Anderson ran for 13 minutes but did not score. Casiem Drummond got in for 2 minutes, and Frank Tchuisi also saw the court for 1 minute. Freshmen Andrew Ott and Antonio Pena did not play. Pena, our highest-regarded recruit before Reynolds came aboard, may have not played because the team is considering a redshirt for him. Let's hope not. Something tells me we may need him down the stretch.

  • 17 Turnovers

    Seventeen turnovers are too many. It may not cause us to lose against the College of Charleston, but 17 TOs will not cut it in the Big East, or against Xavier and Alabama, for that matter.

Aside from the turnovers, it looked like a good game for the 'Cats, who will face Xavier on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. (Eastern) in the Paradise Jam semifinals.

Xavier was able to knock off Virginia Commonwealth tonight, 70-67. Alabama (AP 10/ESPN 11) won on the other side of the Paradise Jam bracket, handling Middle Tennessee State 71-62. A showdown against the Crimson Tide for the championship on Monday looks likely if we can get past the Musketeers on Sunday.

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17 November 2006

Video for tonight

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/17/2006 03:29:00 PM
With the 'Cats opening their NCAA season tonight at 8:30 (EST) against College of Charleston way down in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a lot of Villanova fans are itching to see the team play.

Unfortunately, Fox College Sports will not be showing the game on television tonight: FCS coverage will start with the game on Sunday should the Wildcats be able to advance tonight.

The Paradise Jam Web site, however, is offering a video stream of the game tonight for a fee of $7.95. The feed requires Windows Media Player (PC or Mac), and there are questions about its quality. Still, it seems like this is the only place to get video of the game.

In the past, direct links to the pay-to-play feeds have been shared amongst Villanova fans during the game. If such a link emerges tonight, I will post it here, for, um, informational purposes only.

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State of the program

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/17/2006 03:13:00 PM
Dana Pennett O'Neil of the Philadelphia Daily News writes a long article on how close Villanova is to joining the national elite set of hoops programs like Duke, Carolina, Kansas, et al.

I tend to agree with the article's conclusion that we are right on the cusp of going national-elite. Villanova is now a national-level recruiting player. The piece correctly points out that even the recruits we didn't get speak well of the program, as several top prep players had Villanova on their short lists.

Another interesting topic raised by the article is venue scheduling. Now that Villanova is such a strong program, how should we balance the games between the Wachovia Center and on campus? DPO says Jay Wright and the higher-ups are considering a UConn-like arrangement, playing half their games on campus, and half off, with the toughest opponents on-campus, to benefit from a more-raucous crowd in a smaller venue.

Says Jay:

"I don't know if we're at their level yet, but we're going down that line," Wright said. "How we mesh our place with the Pavilion, that's the final piece for me."

My take on this is that we should definitely schedule our toughest opponents on campus, and fill the Wachovia Center on our own name against weaker foes. I am not sure I would advocate a 50-50 split, like UConn. Instead I would recommend playing one-third of our games off-campus, and two-thirds at the Pavilion or whatever replaces it.

What are your thoughts?


16 November 2006

VMI puts up 156

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/16/2006 11:56:00 PM
Virginia Military Institute racked up 156 points tonight in a standard 40-minute game against NAIA opponent Virginia Intermont. Check out this boxscore. It's insanity.

Virginia Military Keydets
M. Murrer, F198-140-0250322
R. Williams, F2418-265-8482045
A Lonon200-10-1001130
F. Robinson, G171-122-433214
J. Castleberry, G182-62-336436
C. Holmes, G1911-215-6663031
L Jones142-50-011145
T. Holmes, G2111-211-1465126
D. Pflugner, G234-60-203719
C Josey162-50-014316
J. Piribek, NA91-10-000102


TURNOVERS: 8 (J Castleberry 1, F Robinson 1, C Holmes 2, T Holmes 2, A Lonon 1, C Josey 1)
BLOCKED SHOTS: 9 (M Murrer 4, R Williams 2, L Jones 2, J Piribek 1)
STEALS: 35 (J Castleberry 3, M Murrer 1, F Robinson 3, R Williams 6, C Holmes 4, T Holmes 7, D Pflugner 1, A Lonon 4, L Jones 3, C Josey 2, J Piribek 1)
3-PT FGS: 21-61, .344 (J Castleberry 0-3, M Murrer 6-11, F Robinson 0-9, R Williams 4-9, C Holmes 4-10, T Holmes 3-9, D Pflugner 1-2, L Jones 1-4, C Josey 2-4)

Oh yeah, and VMI won the game, 156-95.

Stormy night in the Garden

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/16/2006 10:08:00 PM

St. John's got walloped on its own floor tonight, losing to Maryland 92-60 in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

Even the final score doesn't tell the story of how one-sided this game was: at halftime, the Red Storm trailed 58-21. Ekene Ibekwe, the Terps' senior forward, actually outscored the entire St. John's team with his 22 first-half points.

Maryland looked solid the entire game. Four of its five starters finished with double-digits, and the team won the battle of the boards, 45-31.

The Terps, now 4-0, will play next in the CVC finals against the winner of Michigan State vs. Texas (19 AP/18 ESPN), which is being played now at the Garden.

Update (11:33 p.m.): MSU just upset Texas to advance to the finals.


Scottie Reynolds: how good will he be?

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/16/2006 05:17:00 PM

I have very high hopes for Scottie Reynolds, our freshman guard from Herndon, Va. Of course, expectations are always lofty for McDonald's All Americans, but I think that Scottie can have an immediate impact as one of the best guards in the Big East.

After a slow start in the exhibition game against Holy Family, Scottie lit it up against Rollie's Northwood University Seahawks. Reynolds was 6-6 from the field, including one 3-pointer, pouring in 13 points in just 16 minutes. Scottie also contributed 4 assists and 3 steals.

Granted, the competition may not have been up to snuff, but what I have seen and heard of Scottie so far leads me to believe he may be a truly special 'Nova guard.

Time will tell, of course, but I'd say that right now, Scottie Reynolds may well help us get deep in the Dance this year.

Click "read more" for a ridiculous 6-second clip of Scottie losing his defender in high school.

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'Cats not tempted by paradise

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/16/2006 02:15:00 PM

The Inquirer's Shannon Ryan pens a short piece revealing Villanova's all-business approach to tomorrow's Paradise Jam tournament.

Will Sheridan says he will lead his young teammates by example, not letting his eyes stray from the task at hand. Mike Nardi says it's no vacation -- though he did get a stylish new haircut before jetting off to the Caribbean.

The most interesting tidbit, however, is something I did not expect:

As on every trip the Wildcats take, the players must turn in their cell phones before they go to bed. They have an 11 p.m. curfew.

Jay Wright collects cell phones at 11 p.m.?

This tells us two things:

  1. Our players are completely dedicated to basketball.
  2. Jay Wright is a fantastic leader

Tough practices and strict academic standards I can understand. Pretty much every top program does that. But taking away the cell phones of 15 college students every night on a road trip? That is a miracle.

In any event, I love our chances for Paradise Jam. Three quick wins and we could well be ranked, as Ms. Ryan aptly points out.

First game against CofC is tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. Villanova-time.

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Wednesday night roundup

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/16/2006 12:27:00 AM

It was a relatively busy night in college basketball. Nine teams from the top 25 suited up tonight, and eight managed to win.

Tyler Hansbrough poured in 20 points to help North Carolina (AP/ESPN 2/2) survive a hard test from Winthrop. UNC finally pulled away in the last five minutes of the game to win 73-66.

Though Brigham Young led for much of the first half, UCLA (6/6) came back to win 82-69. Sophomore star Luc Richard Mbah a Moute put up 24 points and 8 rebounds for the Bruins.

Arizona (15/16) lit up the scoreboard against N. Arizona, winning 101-79. Freshman forward Chase Budinger led the Wildcats with 32 points and 7 rebounds.

Nevada (24/23) blew out Oregon state, 75-47.

Unranked Oral Roberts shocked Kansas (3/3) to win 78-71. According to Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton, Kansas at #3 was the highest ranked team Oral Roberts had beaten in the last 30 years.

Kentucky (22/22) outlasted Miami (Ohio), winning 57-46 with 18 points from junior guard Joe Crawford.

In Big East action, Georgetown (8/8) led the entire way against Vanderbilt before winning 86-70. The Hoyas' Jeff Green led all scorers with 19 points.

Syracuse (18/20) easily pulled away from Northeastern, notching the 81-58 victory behind 19 points from sophomore guard Eric Devendorf.

Last and most certainly least, Rutgers put up an egg against Kansas State, losing 41-55. Rutgers shot an astounding 18.8 percent from the field, and only managed to sink nine baskets in the entire game. The Scarlet Knights also shot 3-20 from 3-point-range, a blistering 15 percent.


Sweet highlight video

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/16/2006 12:21:00 AM
I like this montage of last year's season a lot better than the other one floating around the Intertubes with the "Mr. Brightside" song. Hopefully 2006-2007 will lend itself to many similar such emotionally charged pieces.


15 November 2006

'Nova a "big-time place"

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/15/2006 03:21:00 PM

Comcast SportsNet is running an AP piece on the Wildcats' expectations for the season. The article gives a very good review of what the team accomplished last year, and outlines the current state of the program. Curtis Sumpter says he is back and better than ever, and Mike Nardi praises his new backcourt buddy Scottie Reynolds.

What struck me most, however, were two quotes from the article. The first, from Coach Jay Wright, shows that Jay sees big things for the team, not only in a few years, or next year, but this year.

"I like our group," coach Jay Wright said. "It might take us a little longer, but I'm kind of excited about the future. And by that, I mean the end of the season."

The second quote is from Nardi. When asked if he were surprised that a marquee entertainer like 50-Cent appeared at Nova's Hoops Mania, Nardi perfectly captured the future of the program with his reply:

"That's what Villanova's about," Nardi said, smiling "We're a big-time place. We get it done."

Well said, Mike.


Fight song

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/15/2006 02:45:00 PM
To get you all in the mood for the season, here is a great video clip of the band playing our fight song, V for Villanova.

I'm not sure which game this is from, although it's clear they are in the Wachovia Center. One thing I do know is that it is a game from the legendary Andreas Bloch era, as a fan can be seen eagerly hoisting a "Bloch #1" sign. Andreas always provided a spark off the bench, and when he got hot, it started raining threes, West-German style.


Lowry gets "steal of the night"

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/15/2006 02:25:00 PM

Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry, one of Villanova's three rookies in the NBA, was honored by the league this week in its "steal of the night" video spotlight.

The clip, which requires Windows Media Player, shows Kyle intercepting a Lakers' pass and taking it the length of the court for the layup.

Lowry's hustle and tenacity led the Wildcats to the Elite Eight last year; already he is showing he can be that kind of an impact player for the Memphis Grizzlies.

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A demonic start

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/15/2006 04:17:00 AM

Aren't power-conference teams supposed to beat up on their early-season non-conference opponents?

Apparently someone forgot to tell the DePaul Blue Demons, who have started the season with two bad losses. After losing by 20 to a Bradley team that is at least decent, DePaul managed to score only 39 points in a 10-point loss to perennial Big-10 doormat Northwestern.

DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright

It's not like the rest of the Big East is mired in mediocrity, either. The remainder of the conference is a combined 22-1 for the season. Even lowly South Florida, which finished last year at 7-22 with an anemic 1-15 conference record, is 1-0 right now.

Let's hope the Blue Demons can get back on track for the rest of their non-conference schedule.


[ Bracketology ]

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/15/2006 12:20:00 AM
ESPN's Joe Lunardi is at it again with his "bracketology" forecasts. As Joe probably says, it's never too early to fill in a bracket.

Joe has Villanova as a #7 seed, playing #10 Virginia in New Orleans. Personally, I think a #7 seed is a little low for us -- we've lost a lot of talent, yes, but I think we are closer to a #4-5 seed. Winning a string of games and getting ranked will obviously help our causes come March.

Lunardi's number-one seeds are UNC, Florida, Kansas, and UCLA. After earning two number-one seeds last year, the Big East's highest seed in this version of bracketology is #2, earned by Pittsburgh. Lunardi expects eight teams from the conference in the Big Dance: Pitt (2), Georgetown (3), Marquette (5),UConn (6), Louisville (6), Villanova (7), Syracuse (8), and DePaul (10).

Where do you think 'Nova and our Big East friends will be seeded in the tournament? Comment below.

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14 November 2006

Paradise Jam

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/14/2006 11:20:00 PM

On Friday, the 'Cats suit up for their first game of the Paradise Jam tournament, where they will face the always-feisty Cougars of the College of Charleston.

The aptly named tournament, which will undoubtedly feature lots of jamming in a paradise-type setting, is hosted in the U.S. Virgin Islands and sports a field of eight teams.

Check out the bracket here.

College of Charleston finished last year with a 15-11 record and an RPI of 188. They had a few decent wins, including a 4-point victory over a good UNC Wilmington team in December. CofC enters Paradise Jam with a 1-0 record after upsetting Georgia St. in Atlanta on Saturday.

Should the Wildcats be able to overcome College of Charleston, they will likely face Xavier Sunday at 8:30 p.m. (Eastern). That game will be shown live on the Fox College Sports Network.

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Fisher, Stokes, Grant sign LOIs

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/14/2006 09:01:00 PM

Corey Stokes

Villanova's highly touted incoming guards for 2007 inked their letters of intent today, according to a press release posted at Villanova's official site.

Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, and Malcolm Grant will all join the 'Cats for the 2007-2008 season. With Scottie Reynolds retuning for his sophomore year, could the 4-guard offense be back for Villanova? Let's hope so, if last year's results were any indication of its effectiveness.

The two Coreys hail from New Jersey and were both heavily recruited on the national scene, and Grant is considered one of the best point guards coming out of New York City.

Stokes (pictured right) is expected to add a scoring boost immediately. Jay Wright swoons over his smooth stroke:

Corey is probably one of the best shooters we have ever recruited at Villanova. [...] Corey brings size, toughness and a great basketball IQ."

With the addition of these three new guards, Villanova is well on its way on becoming "guard country" on a national scale.