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30 December 2006

Foye named NBA "rookie of the trimester"

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/30/2006 08:18:00 AM
Marc Stein, ESPN's senior NBA writer, has named Randy Foye his "rookie of the trimester" for the first third of the NBA season. Though Stein admits that it's been an underwhelming rookie class so far, he makes a point to say that Randy has made a name for himself above and beyond his peers:
Like a lot of Wolves fans, I wish Foye played more. Yet I've seen enough from this guy in a couple of crunch times -- at Dallas in November and Tuesday when he scored the game-winner to save the Wolves after they had blown a big lead to Chicago -- to pick him out of a struggling group that only has one rook (Adam Morrison) averaging better than 10 ppg.

Though it's still early in the season, one has to say that Randy Foye is now the clear frontrunner for the rookie of the year award. It will come as no surprise to 'Nova fans if Randy does eventually win it, since they saw his talent and impact for four years.

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27 December 2006

Foye and Ray score career highs

posted by Matthew
12/27/2006 01:22:00 AM

Randy Foye had a career high 25 points Tuesday night as Minnesota defeated Chicago. Despite playing only 26 minutes, Foye hit 8 of 17 shots from the floor.

No points, however, were more important than his last two. In a move Villanova fans have seen numerous times, Foye hit a driving layup with a little over one second left to break a 98-all tie, leading the T'wolves to a 100-98 victory.

Allan Ray also had a career-high 12 points on 5 for 10 shooting in 18 minutes of action during Boston's 105-116 loss to Denver. Ray looked impressive playing more than simply "junk minutes."

Kyle Lowry remains out of action with a broken wrist.

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24 December 2006

Celebrating the birth of our savior

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/24/2006 03:20:00 AM

Each year, we take time out of our busy lives to observe the birth of someone very special. Sure, we might not fully appreciate all he has done for us year-round, but this time of year we make sure to celebrate the birth of our savior.

I am, of course, referring to Coach Jay Wright, the savior of our basketball program, who turns 45 today.

When Jay took the reins in 2001, the program was a shambles. Steve Lappas had been run out of town, and the team wasn't getting the kind of recruits to get to the next level, which at that time was the NCAA tournament.

Fast-forward five years later, and the Villanova basketball program has undergone a remarkable transformation. Since Jay Wright became head coach, the team is 112-61.

After suffering through a five-year long NCAA tournament drought, the 'Cats returned to the big dance in 2005, reaching the Sweet 16 before losing to eventual champion North Carolina on a phantom traveling call. It was the closest UNC came to being beat during its tournament run.

The next season, the Wildcats opened the year ranked in the top five, despite losing Curtis Sumpter for the entire year in a preseason injury. Jay and his unique 4-guard starting lineup went on a tear, notching a 28-5 record on their way to an Elite Eight appearance before bowing out to eventual national champion Florida.

The 'Cats finished the season in the top five, and Jay won three national coach of the year awards.

After losing three guards to the NBA this spring, Jay responded by signing up four incoming guards whose talent may even exceed the last class. Coach Wright has turned Villanova into a national recruiting player, and much success is yet to come.

So happy birthday, Jay Wright, and many happy returns (to the NCAA Tournament, of course).

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La Salle game grades

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/24/2006 03:18:00 AM

Villanova 64
La Salle 51

(box score)

Villanova: 8-2 (9-2, 0-0 BE, 2-0 B5)
Next game: vs. Temple, 12/30 @ The Pavilion.

After blowing out Rider by nearly 50 points, this game was something of a letdown for the Wildcats, at least in some aspects. Yes, a 13-point win on the road in a Big 5 game is no small achievement, but the game was much closer than double-digits for much of the second half.

At times the Wildcat offense struggled to get moving, while the defense allowed too many La Salle offensive boards and put-backs. Still, Villanova was able to hang on against a gritty opponent on the road to remain undefeated in Big 5 play.

The team managed to only commit 9 turnovers overall despite committing 4 very early in the game. If the 3-point shooting had gotten on track and the rebounding had been better, the game would have been a lot easier for the Wildcats.

Onto the player grades. Click "READ MORE" below for player performance grades and analysis.

  • Curtis Sumpter (S, 35 min)

    Curtis did what it took to win tonight. Though he only scored 13, he led the team in rebounds with 8, and added a block, a steal, and an assist. He did have 3 turnovers, tied for first on the team. Sumpter was solid in the clutch, and at the line (5-5), but needs to take fewer threes (0-4). Where is the dynamic mid-range and post player we fell in love with these past 5 years? If you subtract his 4 misses from the three, Curtis was a very-efficient 4-5 from inside the arc. His 13 points were enough to lead the team in scoring, but I wish he would take it inside and to the basket more. Jacking threes is not his game, especially when they aren't falling early.
    Grade: C+

  • Will Sheridan (S, 31 min)

    Will topped the 30-minute mark tonight for the first time in several games. Sheridan played sloppy for parts of the game, co-leading the team in turnovers with 3. He scored 7 points and pulled in 4 rebounds. More rebounds and fewer turnovers would have been nice, but Will did look O.K. defensively, getting a block. He was also solid in the clutch.
    Grade: C+

  • Mike Nardi (S, 28 min)

    Mike helped will the team to victory tonight. He scored 12 on 4-10 shooting, including 1-4 from the three. He co-led the team in assists with 5, and did not commit any turnovers. He also was second on the team in rebounds, with 4 total.
    Grade: B

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 27 min)

    Dante was a good all-around contributor tonight. He scored 7 points on 3-4 shooting, including a beautiful three-pointer as the shot clock expired. He also added a block, a steal, an assist, and 3 rebounds. I would have liked to see him on the glass more, though, and it would have been nice if he had reached the free-throw line.
    Grade: B

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 27 min)

    Scottie started off hot, hitting his first 2 three-pointers. He cooled off after that, though, shooting 3-9 from the field for 11 total points. He looked good defensively, coming up with 3 steals. Reynold also doled out 5 assists, and committed no turnovers. Aside from some shot-selection problems, good game by Scottie.
    Grade: B

  • Shane Clark (27 min)

    Shane got starter-type minutes tonight, but did not fully take advantage of them. Clark scored 9 points, but only shot 3-9 from the field, and 1-5 from the three. He needs to take fewer three-pointers. Clark's game is at its best in transition and the mid-range.
    Grade: C-

  • Dwayne Anderson (11 min)

    Dwayne only had 4 points and 3 rebounds, but his impact on the game went well beyond that. He made a key steal late in the game, grabbed 2 huge boards at exactly the right time, and sank 2 clutch free throws. Usually he provides more of an offensive burst, however.
    Grade: B

  • Casiem Drummond (10 min)

    Only 1 rebound in 10 minutes isn't going to cut it at center. Casiem also only took 1 shot, and did not score. He looked O.K.. defensively, but this was noting like his excellent performance against Rider. The huge potential is still there, however.
    Grade: C-

  • Incomplete grades:
    Frank Tchuisi (3 min), Bilal Benn (1 min).

  • Did not play:
    Reggie Redding (CD), Ross Condon(CD), Andrew Ott (RS), Antonio Pena (knee, RS)

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23 December 2006

Villanova 64
La Salle 51

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/23/2006 06:01:00 PM
Villanova wins, 64-51.

It was a much closer game in the second half than the final score indicates.

Villanova escapes with a road win to improve to 2-0 in the Philadelphia city series.

Player grades and analysis will be up soon.


TV for La Salle

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/23/2006 03:47:00 AM
[Update] For those without TV, an Internet radio link is available HERE. This stream can be played in iTunes among other programs.

Villanova takes on Big 5 rival La Salle today at 4 p.m. The game is available on television on two channels.

Those in Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York, and Boston with Comcast cable should see the game on the regular Comcast SportsNet network.

DirecTV subscribers, on the other hand, have the game on the SNY (Sports New York) network.

There also may be an Internet stream of the Comcast broadcast if you need it. I'll check tomorrow during the game and update this post.

Remember, the game has been moved up to 4 p.m., two hours earlier than the originally scheduled tip time of 6 p.m.

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21 December 2006

Villanova trounces Rider

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/21/2006 05:31:00 AM

Villanova 108
Rider 61

(box score)

Villanova: 7-2 (8-2, 0-0 BE, 1-0 B5)
Next game: at La Salle, 12/23 @ Tom Gola Arena.

Coming off a disappointing loss to Drexel two weeks ago, Villanova entered tonight's game against the Rider Broncs with something to prove. Playing with chips on their shoulders, the Wildcats utterly annihilated the hapless Broncs, running away with the game by a 47-point margin of victory, the largest such margin in 10 years. (The 'Cats beat UNCW 87-38 on Dec. 30, 1996 at the Pavilion.)

Villanova exploded for 62 points in the second half even with many of its starters taking extended breaks. Along with the potent offensive attack, the 'Cats played excellent defense, holding Rider to a dismal 37 percent shooting from the field. Villanova also forced 15 turnovers, scoring 21 points off them. Finally, the Wildcats owned the boards tonight, out-rebounding Rider by the ridiculous tally of 48-21. This allowed Villanova to outscore the Broncs by a remarkable 21-2 in second-chance points.

Even when the game was in hand and Jay emptied the bench, the team did not let up. The lead grew all the way until the 3:27 mark, when Villanova pulled ahead by 50. I think it was an excellent move by Jay to let the team play 40 minutes of hard basketball, to get back the feeling of "Villanova basketball" after 11 days off. It also allowed the team to regain some confidence after a bad loss, and gave our younger players valuable experience before Big East play.

I do not think Jay was trying to "run up the score," especially since he went to the bench so early and often. Overall, I think it was an excellent coaching job by Jay: he and our players turned this contest against a weak team into an unlikely statement game.

Onto the player grades. Click "READ MORE" below for player performance grades and analysis.

  • Curtis Sumpter (S, 27 min)

    Curtis led the team in scoring tonight with 22. He brought his usually versatile offensive game tonight, scoring in a variety of ways. He did miss all 3 of his three-point attempts, but shot a good 7-13 overall, a blistering 70 percent from inside the arc. Sumpter was a perfect 8-8 from the line. He co-led the team in steals, with 2, and led the team in turnovers, with 3. The 22 points are somewhat deceiving, since Curtis could have easily dropped 30 or more had the game required it.
    Grade: B+

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 27 min)

    Cunningham has become the team's powder-keg, liable to explode for fantastically athletic plays at any given time. Dante was also a model of efficiency tonight, to use another cliche, as he was 4-6 from the field and 6-6 from the line, with no turnovers. He added 6 rebounds (4 offensive) to go with his 14 efficient points. Cunningham is a truly special athlete, and watching him run the break or attack the offensive glass is a real treat. I only wish we would run more of our offense through him down low, and that he would assert himself more in calling for the ball.
    Grade: A-

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 25 min)

    Watching the game I realized how lucky Villanova was to get this McDonald's All-American to run the point after losing three guards to the NBA. It's not a luxury every team has. Scottie was in top form tonight, single-handedly breaking an active Rider press almost every time down the floor. He was also wheeling and dealing spectacularly, totaling 7 assists in his 25 minutes. Reynolds scored 9 on 2-7 shooting and a 4-4 effort from the line. He co-led the team in steals with 2, and committed only 1 turnover despite handling the ball and breaking through traps and double-teams all night.
    Grade: B+

  • Mike Nardi (S, 25 min)

    On a night when the team exploded for 108 points, many in spectacular fashion, Nardi turned in a solid but quiet effort. He scored 11 points on 4-8 shooting, including 3-7 from downtown, but did not reach the free throw line. He also added 3 assists and committed 1 turnover in a nearly mistake-free performance.
    Grade: B

  • Shane Clark (21 min)

    Shane made some great plays tonight and played good defense during his extended time on the floor. He scored 10 points on 3-8 shooting, and was 2-6 from beyond the arc. I'd like to see a little more discretion on the long ball: some of his shots seemed off-balance and a few were contested. Shane's biggest contribution, though, was on the glass, where he led the team with 12 rebounds. Shane was able to use his reach and athleticism to dominate the caroms, and the box score reflects that.
    Grade: B

  • Casiem Drummond (20 min)

    Tonight was the Casiem Drummond coming-out party. After seeing a paltry 32 combined minutes through the team's first nine games, Casiem played his way into big-time minutes tonight. Drummond, a freshman, looked formidable in the paint, and his basketball instincts seem excellent. Casiem put up 9 points and 8 rebounds, and had a nasty block. Something tells me we are going to be seeing a lot more of Casiem in conference play. Don't be surprised if he cracks the starting lineup by late in the season: he has that much potential.
    Grade: B+

  • Dwayne Anderson (18 min)

    Dwayne played a good all-around game in his 18 minutes. He provided his usual offensive spark, scoring 12 points on 4-9 shooting, including 2-7 from the three. He also added 5 rebounds. Dwayne was part of the night's best highlight, in my opinion, finishing a beautiful give-and-go transition sequence with a powerful dunk.
    Grade: B

  • Will Sheridan (S, 18 min)

    Will looked good tonight, and played quite hard. He was perfect from the field, shooting 5-5, but did miss 2 in 5 attempts from the stripe. He was a little quiet on the boards, totaling just 4, but looked good on defense where he had a block. He did not take any bad shots or commit any turnovers.
    Grade: B

  • Bilal Benn (6 min)

    Is Bilal in Jay's dog house? He did not enter the game until the final 6 minutes, and he had been averaging 14 minutes a game coming into tonight. It's more likely, though, that Jay just wanted to try out some bigger lineups and continue our domination of the paint and boards. Benn looked good running the offense at the end of the game. He was 2-2 from the field and 4-6 from the line for 8 points in his 6 minutes.
    Grade: B

  • Frank Tchuisi (5 min)

    This was Frank's most extended run since the first game of the season against NAIA Northwood. Tchuisi still needs a lot of work. He looked pretty awkward on the court, even with the game already decided. He did get 1 rebound, but missed another when the ball literally bounced off his hands. Hopefully as the season goes on, Frank will get more comfortable out there.
    Grade: D

  • Reggie Redding (5 min)

    I think Reggie is one of our more underrated players. He is deceptively athletic and has great basketball instincts. Though he only played 5 minutes tonight, he made good decisions and managed to get 2 assists in that limited time. He also was the other half of the aforementioned spectacular fast-break give-and-go with Dwayne Anderson.
    Grade: B

  • Incomplete grades:
    Ross Condon (3 min).

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

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20 December 2006

Rider game

posted by Matthew
12/20/2006 08:09:00 PM
If you're reading this in lieu of watching the game, rest assured the game is well in hand. Nova has a 21 point advantage at halftime and is dominating every aspect of the game. Short of complete and utter collapse there is no way Villanova doesn't walk away with at least a 20 point win.


Link to Rider game

posted by Matthew
12/20/2006 08:01:00 PM
For those who don't have it yet, here is a link to the game:


This should work on any ISP.

Mac users may need to download the VLC player to play this stream.

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Finally...a game

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/20/2006 04:13:00 PM
Villanova takes on Rider tonight at the Pavilion at 7:00 p.m. It will be the Wildcats' first game since December 9 when they lost to the suddenly-hot Drexel Dragons.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN360, which is available only to a limited number of Internet service providers. According to Wikipedia, these ISPs should have the game:
  • BELD
  • Cavalier
  • Charter (currently Los Angeles and St. Louis area systems only)
  • Conway
  • Frontier
  • Grande
  • Iowa Network Services
  • Liberty PR
  • Mediacom
  • MidHudson
  • MTC
  • Phonoscope
  • Shen-Heights
  • SMU
  • StarStream
  • US Cable
  • Verizon

If your ISP is not on the list (e.g., you have Comcast), you can try the site anyway or look for a backdoor in. There have been varying reports on the success of these tactics.

Thanks to a kindly ticket benefactor, I will be attending the game live tonight. Expect a full game report from me by tomorrow morning.


19 December 2006

Drexel drops the 'Cuse

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/19/2006 09:44:00 PM
Just how good are the Drexel Dragons? Some thought it was a huge upset two weeks ago when Drexel beat Villanova on its home floor. Now Drexel has followed that win with another victory, an 84-79 decision over #23 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.

The Dragons have won five in a row, and are clearly playing better basketball now than one month ago when they lost back-to-back games to Penn and Rider.

If Drexel continues to play this well as it enters the heart of its schedule, 'Nova's loss to the Dragons may not seem bad at all come Tournament time.


14 December 2006

Paul Arizin dies at 78

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/14/2006 01:42:00 AM

Paul Arizin, one of the all-time great Wildcats, has died at the age of 78, according to Villanova University. Arizin died in his sleep Tuesday night at home.

Arizin was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame after playing 10 years with the Philadelphia Warriors, and was later named one of the NBA's 50 best players of all time. In college, he starred for the Villanova Wildcats, and was named the college player of the year in the 1949-50 season while leading the team to an excellent record of 24-5.

Villanova issued the first statement, available here.

The New York Times also runs a detailed obituary. ESPN's obituary, though, relates one of the best stories about Arizin, as told by Dr. Jack Ramsey:

He didn't make his high school team, but developed into good player on his own. Villanova coach Al Severance went to see him play one day and was impressed. After watching Arizin play, Severance approached him and asked him if he'd like to go to Villanova. Arizin said, "I already go to Villanova." Severance put Arizin on the team and he became the linchpin to some very good teams there.

Villanova coach Jay Wright also praised Arizin's legacy:

Paul Arizin was the most dignified, classy and humble legend I've ever met. He is adored and respected by anyone who has touched Villanova basketball. I'll always remember his undying support of our staff and players. He was a remarkable man who has left behind an unparalleled legacy and a beautiful family.

According to Villanova, Arizin is survived by his wife, four sons, a daughter and 14 grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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La Salle game moved up

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/14/2006 01:16:00 AM
According to the official Villanova schedule, the Wildcats' game against La Salle on Dec. 23 has been moved up to 4 p.m. The game had originally been scheduled for 6 p.m.

Everyone planning to attend the game, make a note of it.

The move also will likely allow the previously non-televised game to be picked up by a Philadelphia and/or NJ-area TV station. Check back for more details on the television status.

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Open thread

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/14/2006 12:58:00 AM
With six days still remaining till the next game, this is the longest stretch all year without sweet, sweet Villanova basketball action. Our players and student fans are taking finals, our alumni are making fools of themselves at various holiday parties, and Jay Wright is preparing not only for Rider, but for his upcoming 45th birthday. Jay, you don't look a day over 30.

In the advanced stages of Villanova hoops withdrawal, I happened to be searching YouTube for Wildcats-related clips. There are a plethora of videos available, from highlights of last year's tournament run to 50 Cent's appearance at "Hoops Mania" this October.

Below, however, is one of the oddest videos that came up. I really don't know what to make of it. You be the judge.

This is an open thread. What's on your mind? See you in the comments.

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09 December 2006

Drexel stuns 'Nova at home

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/09/2006 09:32:00 PM
Villanova fell to the Drexel Dragons tonight at the Pavilion, 81-76. This is the first time that Drexel has ever beaten Villanova. Villanova had a 17-0 record against the Dragons all time before losing tonight.

Despite shooting well from the field at a clip of 54 percent, Villanova could not stop the Drexel offense, especially down the stretch. 'Nova also gave up 25 free throws to Drexel, which sank 22 of them.

This is a bad loss for Villanova, who just three days ago was riding high after beating Oklahoma on the road. As a loss at home to a lowly-regarded Colonial Athletic Conference team, the defeat tonight at the hands of Drexel can only be seen as a huge setback to our NCAA hopes.

Forget being ranked any time in 2006. It's going to be an uphill battle from this point on to regain any semblance of national swagger. If we wind up on the NCAA bubble come March, this loss could come back to haunt us. Hopefully, it will not be an issue, though, if we get back on track.


Radio for tonight

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/09/2006 07:45:00 PM
Tonight, Villanova takes on Philly-area rival Drexel at the Pavilion at 7:30 p.m.

[update] Drexel's radio broadcast was of such low quality that I had to find another option for you. Here is WXVU's broadcast -- You can listen with iTunes.

The only real radio option, aside from Villanova's dreadful "CSTV," is a RealMedia stream from the Drexel broadcast. You can find that stream here -- remember, RealPlayer in required.

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07 December 2006

Notre Dame shocks #4 'Bama

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/07/2006 11:06:00 PM
It's been a great week for the Fighting Irish. After pulling off the upset at #23 Maryland, Notre Dame came home and absolutely stunned an undefeated Alabama team that was ranked #4 by the AP and #5 in the coaches poll.

After battling the Tide to a 49-49 halftime tie, Notre Dame crushed Alabama in the second half to win 99-85.

Notre Dame is now 7-1, with its only loss coming by 2 points to a good Butler team (currently #15/#14 AP/ESPN, #1 RPI, #2 Pomeroy). The Irish have won six straight, including two victories against ranked opponents, and are putting together a very solid NCAA resume early in the season.

Villanova's Jan. 17 game against Notre Dame at the Pavilion may well be a much bigger battle than anyone anticipated. Unless the poll voters spent this week under a rock, Notre Dame will be in the top 25 in both polls come Monday.

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Oklahoma-game grades

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/07/2006 04:46:00 AM

Villanova 67
Oklahoma 51

(box score)

Villanova: 6-1 (7-1, 0-0 BE, 1-0 B5)
Next game: Drexel, 12/09 @ The Pavilion.

Villanova picked up its biggest win of the young season tonight on the road against the always-solid Oklahoma Sooners.

Oklahoma was favored by 2.5 points at tip time, but the game was never even close as the Wildcats never relinquished the driver's seat. The Wildcats led nearly the entire game, only trailing for 16 seconds in the first half.

Villanova won tonight on its defense. The 'Cats forced 24 Sooner turnovers, which allowed them a healthy +6 ratio even with 18 turnovers of their own. Indeed, at times the game was sloppy and no fun to watch, with both teams turning the ball over and going cold from the field.

The result, however, was hardly ever in question as Villanova dominated the game from start to finish.

The win improves the Wildcats to 6-1 in NCAA play, and could earn the team some votes in next week's top 25 polls.

Onto the player grades. Click "READ MORE" below for player performance grades and analysis.

  • Curtis Sumpter (S, 32 min)

    Curtis played a solid but not spectacular game tonight. Still, he seemed to come up with a big bucket whenever the 'Cats needed it most. Sumpter scored 14 points, 12 of which came on his 4 three-pointers. Curtis was 4-7 from the three and only 1-7 from inside the arc. His offensive game seems to be more perimeter-oriented this year than two years ago, before his knee injuries. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because the 'Cats do need perimeter scoring this year after the departure of their top three guards to the NBA this spring. Sumpter also led Villanova in rebounds with 7, but none were on the offensive glass. Offensive rebounding used to be a staple of his game.
    Grade: B-

  • Will Sheridan (S, 23 min)

    Will was at his best tonight when he was doing "the dirty work," as announcer Rick Majerus put it. Sheridan notched 6 rebounds, including 3 possession-saving offensive boards. He also was decent on defense, picking up 2 steals. Shot selection was an issue again: there's no reason for Will to be taking a contested three-pointer with 30 seconds left on the shot clock.
    Grade: C

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 30 min)

    Cunningham was all over the place tonight. He looked fantastic in the post, scoring 8 on 3-5 shooting from the field and a perfect 2-2 from the line. But where Dante really shined was on the defensive end. Cunningham was a terror, pulling in 6 boards, blocking 2 shots, and getting 5 steals. That's not a typo. 5 steals. The only criticism is that Dante didn't try to take over more offensively.
    Grade: A-

  • Mike Nardi (S, 37 min)

    Nardi absolutely exploded tonight offensively, scoring 23 points on 9-14 shooting, including 4 three-pointers. He was the heart of the offense, and definitely the go-to player tonight. Mike also had 2 steals and 4 assists, but did get sloppy with the ball, committing 6 turnovers. Several of those turnovers seemed to occur just as Nardi was on fire on offense; perhaps the cause is over-excitement. In any event, a great game from Mike tonight.
    Grade: B+

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 24 min)

    Scottie's appearance tonight at Oklahoma playing against the team to which he originally committed was the biggest story line of the game. Booed by fans almost every time he touched the ball, Reynolds responded with a fine performance. Reynolds was very aggressive tonight, driving the ball to the hoop with a lightning-quick first step. Scottie scored 10 tonight on 3-7 shooting. I'd like to see him take some more three-pointers than he did tonight (0-2), as I believe he is one of our best long-range shooters. Scottie did, however, take one ill-advised three from 35+ feet away that did not make any sense. Reynolds co-led the team in assists with 4. Despite his 4 turnovers, he generally played well.
    Grade: B

  • Shane Clark (29 min)

    Reading the box score, I was surprised to see that Shane played for fully 29 minutes, just one less than he did at Penn. Shane was much quieter tonight, scoring just 5 points on 2-7 shooting. He did have a nice three from the corner, and played good defense, but tonight was nothing like his super effort in the Penn game.
    Grade: C+

  • Bilal Benn (16 min)

    Bilal got some quality minutes tonight, primarily for his excellent defense. Arguably our best "lock-down" defender, Bilal can always be counted on for hustle and determination as well. He also scored on a nifty reverse lay-up, always a crowd-pleaser, and pulled down 3 rebounds.
    Grade: B-

  • Dwayne Anderson (6 min)

    Very nearly an incomplete grade, with only 6 minutes played. But 6 minutes is only one less minute than his playing time at the Penn game, where his impact was much bigger. Dwayne only took one shot tonight and did not score, though his defense did look better. Hard to give him anything but the average grade on such a limited look, so...
    Grade: C

  • Incomplete grades:
    Reggie Redding (1 min).

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

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06 December 2006

Oklahoma game-thread

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/06/2006 07:04:00 PM

The Villanova Wildcats travel to Norman, Okla., to try to break the Sooners' nation-leading 49-game non-conference home winning streak. This will be the biggest test for Villanova so far this year.

[update @ 8:51 p.m.] Villanova wins, 67-51, to improve to 6-1 (7-1) on the year. This win may well place Wildcats into the top 25 come Monday.

Player performance grades will be up by tomorrow morning. All the live in-game updates are below the fold.

[update @ 8:48 p.m.] Though the game is won, we just had a 5-second violation and a shot-clock violation. Those shouldn't happen. Thank goodness the game wasn't close at the end.

[update @ 8:47 p.m.] The game looks in hand with Nova up 19 and under 2 minutes to play.

[update @ 8:43 p.m.] Nardi's perfect free-throw streak is over at 19. Nardi missed the front end of two technical foul free throws before making the second. Nardi just hit a huge falling away three to put Nova ahead 65-48 with 2:30 to play.

[update @ 8:38 p.m.] Curt hit two threes to end our 5-minute scoring drought. Nova is now up 61-45 with 3:50 in the game.

[update @ 8:29 p.m.] This game is difficult to watch. Neither team can get anything going right now, and it's a stalemate of incompetence. Jay just put in Reggie Redding to try to spark the offense.

[update @ 8:26 p.m.] Turnovers abound on both ends of the floor. Nova leads 55-42 with 9:36 remaining in the game.

[update @ 8:19 p.m.] Nardi and the offense look great, but we need to tighten up the defense. Too many easy looks for the Sooners. Nova up 53-40. Majerus is still calling Reynolds "Robinson."

[update @ 8:12 p.m.] Scottie has been called for a carry and a double-dribble on consecutive possessions. He also had a double-dribble in the first-half.

[update @ 8:07 p.m.] Nardi is looking great creating his own shot in the half-court, something we didn't see a lot of last year. Nardi's offensive game looks to have really improved. Nova leads 48-36.

[update @ 7:55 p.m.] Halftime. We are up 36-25. The game looked pretty sloppy the last few minutes of the half. Unnecessary fouls and turnovers were committed by both sides. I expect Nova to come out of the locker room looking a little crisper as Jay will no doubt emphasize playing less sloppily.

Scoring is pretty balanced for the Wildcats. Nardi has 9, Reynolds has 8, Cunningham 6, Sumpter 5. Sheridan and Clark have 3 each, and even Benn has scored 2.

[update @ 7:37 p.m.] Sheridan just airballed a three, leading to a Sooner fast break and score. Considering Will had missed his last shot, a wide-open 5-footer, why does he need to take a guarded three-pointer with 30 seconds on the shot clock? We also need to work on getting back on D. Oklahoma just scored twice on run-outs when we should have gotten back.

[update @ 7:34 p.m.] Villanova is up 28-18 at the under-4 break, but we are not taking advantage of all our opportunities. We have some pointless turnovers and have missed some shots we should have made. The defense has been solid, though. The press and constant on-ball pressure seems to be unnerving the Sooners. Hopefully we can keep up this pace in the second half.

[update @ 7:30 p.m.] Reynolds looked spectacular on a coast-to-coast steal and layup. He was so impressive Majerus even realized he wasn't Kyle Lowry.

[update @ 7:23 p.m.] Finally a drive-and-kick for a three! Nardi made a nice kick-out to Clark in the corner, who drained it. Nardi also hit a three of his own, and a left-handed runner. 'Nova leads 19-14 with 9:00 to go. Dwayne Anderson comes in for the first time.

[update @ 7:18 p.m.] Tied at 11 at the under-12 break. It's a close, physical game, as expected. Scottie was aggressive early on offense, which is a good sign. He needs to keep that up. Our offense seems a little disoriented at the early stages of this game.

[update @ 7:10 p.m.] Rick Majerus just criticized Lowry for not stopping a two-on-one Oklahmoma fast break that resulted in an alley-oop. Come on, coach, Kyle's with his team in Boston, and he has a broken wrist, and you still expect him to stop the Oklahoma break? Of course, Rick meant Reynolds, who is wearing Kyle's old number-one jersey.

[update @ 7:03 p.m.] The game is now underway on ESPN. I'll be making more opinion updates than play-by-play tonight, since most of you will be able to watch the game.

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TV for tonight

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/06/2006 02:17:00 PM
Watching Villanova's biggest game of the year (so far) is not going to be difficult. Unlike these posts for previous games, which often contained sketchy Web streams and complicated DirecTV regional information, this post is going to be simple:

  • Villanova at Oklahoma, tonight, 7:00 p.m. Eastern, on ESPN.

Though the game will inexplicably not be broadcast in HD, ESPN's broadcast tonight will give many 'Cats fans their first chance to see the team this year.

The game should be close. The Sooners are a good, solid team who have won 49 straight non-conference games at home, and they are currently favored to extend that streak to 50.

The Las Vegas and offshore oddsmakers are setting the game at OU -1, which is actually a sign of respect for Villanova. Typically in college basketball lines, the home court advantage is worth ~ 3 points, so this line implies that on a neutral court, 'Nova would be favored.

In any event, this will prove an excellent road test for the Wildcats, and a convincing win could vault them into the top 25.

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05 December 2006

Allan Ray scores career high

posted by Matthew
12/05/2006 07:19:00 AM
A mere 45 minutes after Let'sGoNova reported that Allan Ray had secured a guaranteed contract with the Celtics, Ray went on to log career highs in points and minutes played. Ray went 4 for 6 from the field, scoring 9 points in 12 minutes during Boston's 82-100 loss to the Bulls.

Ray was finally given a shot at significant playing time and he did not disappoint. This may be just the tip of the iceberg for Allan if he continues to see his minutes go up.

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04 December 2006

Allan Ray secures guaranteed contract

posted by Matthew
12/04/2006 09:43:00 PM

Despite the fact that Allan Ray has played in only two games for a combined 7 minutes in his NBA career, the Boston Celtics have guaranteed the remainder of the former Villanova standout's 2006-2007 contract.  This means Villanova fans have 67 more opportunities this year to potentially see Allan Ray in an NBA uniform.

Allan's NBA career has been slow out of the gates, but fans must be patient, as he is playing behind the talented tandem of Rajon Rondo and Antonio Pena's old high-school teammate, Sebastian Telfair.  

Congratulations, Allan, for earning a guaranteed contract. We will continue to monitor A-Ray's NBA progress throughout the year.

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Polls, polls, polls

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/04/2006 03:40:00 PM
The weekly college basketball polls are out, and there are a few interesting things to note.

The UCLA Bruins are number one in both the AP poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, as they should be. They are undefeated, playing great, and return a bunch of talent from last year's national runner-up squad.

Undefeated Pittsburgh of the Big East is number two in both polls, receiving first-place votes in each. Wins against Tennessee and former #1 Ohio state have vaulted Carolina into the #3 spot. Ohio State and could-have-been Villanova opponent Alabama round out the top five. Xavier, Villanova's only loss, was #24 in the AP poll, and was 27th in votes received in the coaches poll.

Villanova made significant gains in both polls this week, with the Wildcats looking strong and riding a 4-game win streak. Villanova received the 38th-most votes in the AP poll, and are tied for 39th amongst the coaches. This is a nice jump from last week, when Villanova was tied for 47th in the AP poll and did not receive any votes in the coaches' top 25.

What will it take for the 'Cats to crack the top 25? Well, a convincing win at Oklahoma Wednesday wouldn't hurt, although the Sooners only got 4 votes in the AP poll, and none in the coaches survey this week. Oklahoma at 4-2 is still a tough opponent, as both its losses have been against very good teams: Memphis and Purdue.

If a win in Norman won't cut it, winning out the rest of 2006 against Drexel, Rider, La Salle, and Temple would almost certainly do the trick. The next time the 'Cats face anyone who received any votes at all in this week's polls, though, is January 3 against West Virginia in Morgantown, and then at home versus DePaul three days later.

That's right, the DePaul Blue Demons earned 6 votes in the AP poll. At 3-4, DePaul is the only team with a losing record to receive votes in either poll. Now, DePaul's win over Kansas was impressive, and a great win for the Big East, I admit. But with losses to the likes of Northwestern and Bradley, DePaul's RPI would be 192 if calculated today. Indeed, no one in the ESPN/coaches poll was crazy enough to vote for DePaul, so it seems a few voters in the AP poll didn't do their research after watching the Kansas game. I hope DePaul eventually proves me wrong, but I don't think it should be receiving votes at this point in the season, given its current record.

As for the rest of the Big East, Marquette is #17 in the AP and #20 in the coaches poll. Uconn is the AP poll's #19 team, but rose all the way to #10 in the coaches poll. Syracuse sits at #21 in both polls. Goergetown dropped out of the rankings in both polls, but received the 27th most votes in the AP. In the coaches poll, the Hoyas are currently tied with Villanova at 39. Notre Dame and West Virginia received votes in the AP poll, but not in the coaches poll, and Louiville got some votes from the coaches, but not the AP.

All in all, the Big East remains in a strong position in both polls, and that can only get better once conference play starts and the league's best rise to the top.

Both full polls are here.


03 December 2006

What we know so far

posted by Matthew
12/03/2006 06:47:00 PM
With the regular season 23 percent completed and a big test on the road approaching this Wednesday, it seemed like an appropriate time to sum up what we know so far about the 2006-7 Wildcats.

  • Sumpter is a stud.
    Curtis is leading the team in minutes and scoring. His field goal and three-point percentages are the highest they have been in his career. He is also making more steals and assists than he ever has at Villanova. As the competition gets tougher, Sumpter's numbers continue to go up. Some of these statistics are a function of necessity, but there is no doubt that Sumpter is coming through for Villanova this season.

  • Shane Clark is this year's Lowry.
    Jay Wright said it himself after the Penn game. Who are we to argue? All of Shane's numbers are up drastically from last year. Coming off the bench, Shane is third on the team in scoring at 11 ppg, and is shooting a team-best 52 percent from beyond the arc on 23 attempts. There is no doubt in this blogger's mind that as the season wears on, Clark's contributions to this team are going to become increasingly valuable.

  • Scottie Reynolds is good...really good.
    As anyone who saw the Penn game can attest, Reynolds is getting more comfortable on the court with each passing minute. As Penn pulled ahead 72-70 in a raucous Palestra, Saturday night, Reynolds coolly nailed a three to give Nova a lead they would not relinquish. Reynolds is averaging 6 ppg through seven games but it wouldn't be surprising to see him averaging 10 points by the end of the season.

  • Nardi is solid and improving.
    Nardi's numbers have gotten better each year at Villanova and this year is no exception. He is scoring just under 15 ppg and shooting career highs from the field and beyond the arc. Also, pulling a page from Gary Buchanan a la 2000, Nardi is shooting a perfect 100 percent from the charity stripe through seven games!

  • More from Sheridan?
    It might be fair to say that most Nova fans expected a little more production from Will Sheridan in the scoring department this season. To be sure, Sheridan is providing solid minutes. But as the season progresses, the Wildcats will need another viable scoring threat in the post aside from Sumpter

  • Pena red shirting?
    Most fans who follow the team closely are aware that, of the current freshman, Antonia Pena appeared to be the most physically ready to contribute. Thus it came as a surprise when rumors began to fly that the decision had been made to red shirt Pena for the 2006-7 season. But these "rumors" appear truer with Antonio's absence in each passing game.

  • 6-1.
    At this juncture, 6-1 is about where most Nova fans expected this team to be. As always, each game is a learning experience, and these Wildcats are progressing nicely and on pace for another exciting run come March. Tune in Wednesday as the Wildcats square off in Norman versus the Sooners.


Penn-game grades

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/03/2006 03:19:00 AM

Villanova 99
Penn 89

(box score)

Villanova: 5-1 (6-1, 0-0 BE, 1-0 B5)
Next game: Oklahoma, 12/06 @ Norman, Okla.

Villanova began its Big 5 season with a win against a very solid University of Pennsylvania team last night at the Palestra.

The Wildcats withstood an excellent shooting barrage by the Quakers, who shot 57.8 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from three. Villanova was outstanding from the free-throw line, making the first 23 foul shots and 27-29 overall.

Villanova was able to notch the 10-point win despite Penn's shooting accuracy because the Wildcats forced Penn to commit 25 turnovers, including 17 in the first half. Quaker star Ibrahim Jaaber had 8 turnovers alone.

Curtis Sumpter paced Villanova with 28 points. Mike Nardi added 19. Mark Zoller led all scorers with 32, and Jaaber scored 19 playing every minute of the game for the Quakers.

Onto the player grades. Click "READ MORE" below for player performance grades and analysis.

  • Curtis Sumpter (S, 36 min)

    Sumpter again led the 'Cats in scoring with 28. Curtis shot 7-16 from the field, 3-6 from inside the arc, and 4-10 from the three. He was also a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line and led the team in steals with 3. Sumpter grabbed only 3 rebounds, however, and led the team in turnovers, with 4. Overall, though, a good game from Curt, who looked every bit this team's offensive workhorse Grade: B+

  • Will Sheridan (S, 30 min)

    Will looked comfortable out there tonight, and I was especially pleased with his judicious shot selection. Sheridan was 2-3 from the floor and 5-6 from the line for 9 points. (The box scores published by Yahoo and ESPN showing Will as 5-5 in FTs are incorrect.) Sheridan also led the team in rebounds with 7. The only downside tonight was that Will seemed to let Penn cutters get past him in the post. Grade: B

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 27 min)

    Dante had a somewhat quiet game tonight at the Palestra, scoring only 4 points and pulling down just 3 rebounds. He also fouled out with over 5 minutes to play. Cunningham did look good on the defensive end, holding down the post, but we will need more than 4 and 3 from him on the offense. Grade: C

  • Mike Nardi (S, 28 min)

    Nardi turned in another determined performance tonight, asserting his senior leadership and leading the 'Cats to victory. Nardi looked good driving to the basket, and sunk 3 threes on 9 attempts. Nardi was also 3-9 from inside the 3-pt line, and 4-4 on free throws. Mike added 4 assists and 2 steals, while committing just 1 turnover. Grade: B+

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 28 min)

    Freshman Scottie Reynolds was fantastic tonight in the clutch, coming up huge when the chips were down. In fact, Reynolds made the play of the game when he coolly sank a 3 to put Villanova ahead by 1, 73-72. Villanova did not trail after that. Reynolds scored 11 points on 4-11 shooting, including 2-5 from the three. Scottie was a perfect 1-1 from the free throw line, regardless of what ESPN and Yahoo say. Reynolds led the team in assists with 5, committed 2 turnovers, but did not get any steals. Grade: B

  • Shane Clark (30 min)

    Shane was flying all around the court tonight, doing anything and everything in his 30 minutes. Clark had 6 rebounds, a steal, an assist, and a ridiculous block to go with his 16 points. Shane did commit some ill-advised fouls, though, in his otherwise outstanding effort. Grade: B+

  • Bilal Benn (12 min)

    Benn played his usual defense-first, hustle game tonight, which was highlighted by his 2 steals in 12 minutes. The performance was largely ruined, though, by a terrible play on defense. With Villanova leading 89-81 late in the second half, Benn was defending a Quaker guard who dribbled the ball off his own foot. The ball rolled into the backcourt, and all Benn had to do was let Penn touch it for an over-and-back violation. Instead, Bilal dived at the ball and was called for the foul, giving Penn 2 shots and stopping the clock at a critical juncture. Grade: C-

  • Dwayne Anderson (7 min)

    Dwayne was explosive once again off the bench, sinking 3 threes in 4 tries, including one long bomb from over 28 feet out. Dwayne added 2 rebounds and arguably the nicest assist in the game, feeding Curt for a jam. With such a positive impact in just 7 minutes, it's a wonder why he doesn't see more playing time. Grade: B+

  • Incomplete grades:
    Frank Tchuisi (1 min), Reggie Redding (1 min).

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

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02 December 2006

Villanova-Penn live thread

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/02/2006 06:43:00 PM

Villanova 99
Penn 89


Villanova opens its Big 5 season tonight versus Penn at the Palestra. Check this thread for live, in-game updates and commentary.

[update 9:28 p.m.] Villanova improves to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in Big 5 play with a win over Penn tonight. Player grades will be up by Sunday morning.

A long list of detailed in-game updates in "Read More" land.

[update 9:25 p.m.]

Frank T at the line shooting two! He makes both! Nova wins 99-89!

[update 9:23 p.m.] The game is in hand but the free throw perfection is no more. Sheridan and Benn both missed a free throw. Nova up 97-87 with 14 seconds left.

[update 9:22 p.m.] Nardi hits two free throws, keeping the Wildcats perfect from the line. Nova up 95-84, 45 seconds left. Shane Clark fouls out at the other end on a Penn 3-pt attempt. Penn hits only 1 of 3 free throws. Nova ball, up 95-85, 27 ticks left.

[update 9:15 p.m.] Clark continues to be Mr. Clutch, hitting a shot in the lane to put Nova up 11. Clark commits a foul at the other end. Penn hits both free throws. Nova ball, 93-84. 1:08 left.

[update 9:12 p.m.] Penn makes 1 of 2 free throws. Clark comes up with the big rebound and is fouled. Clark hits both free throws, extending Nova's perfect streak. Nova leads 91-82 with 1:45 to play.

[update 9:09 p.m.] Curtis sinks another two free throws, putting Villanova up by 8, 89-81. Villanova is an astounding 19-19 from the stripe! Benn makes a terrible play on defense after a Penn player dribbled the ball off his foot. All Benn needs to do is not touch it and it would have been Nova ball. Instead Benn dives after the ball and commits a foul. Instead of being Nova ball, Penn now has 2 shots and the clock is stopped.

[update 9:06 p.m.] Sumpter hits two free throws to put Nova up by 8, 87-79, giving him 26 points on the night. Sumpter commits a stupid foul on the defensive end, however, stopping the clock and putting Zoller on the line. Zoller sinks both, giving him 31 points. Nova ball, up 6, 2:12.

[update 9:05 p.m.] Nardi drains a HUGE three. Penn misses at the other end but Sumpter threw it away. Penn scores. Nova ball, up 6, 2:30.

[update 9:04 p.m.] Penn made only 1 of 2 free throws. They are choking from the line here late. Reynolds made a nice drive but couldn't finish. Penn missed from the other end and now it's Nova ball with 3:15 left, up 82-77.

[update 9:01 p.m.] Penn scores 2. Sumpter misses a three. Penn rebounds and Shane Clark commits a foul on the defensive end. Penn trails 76-82 with 3:45 to play and will have 2 foul shots.

[update 9:00 p.m.] A beautiful Reynolds dime to Sheridan was nullified by a Penn foul on the floor. Sheridan makes both free throws to give Nova a 82-74 lead. 4:33 to play.

[update 8:58 p.m.] Cunningham fouls out. McMahon hits 1 of 2 free throws. Reynolds with a lightning-quick crossover drive to the basket, hits the layup and is fouled. Hits the free throw. Nova up 80-75 with 5:02 to play.

[update 8:55 p.m.] Shane Clark is taking over the game. He sticks a huge block on what would have probably been a Tommy McMahon three. Nardi's three-point attempt at the other end was in and out. Penn's ball and they call another timeout. Nova up 77-73 with 5:23 on the clock.

[update 8:52 p.m.] Huge offensive board by Shane Clark. He got fouled and sank both free throws. Sumpter then stole the ball at the other end. Nova up 75-73 with the ball, 6:20. Clark gets ANOTHER big O-board and calmly sinks the turnaround 12-footer, putting Nova up 77-73. Penn timeout with the ball, 5:56.

[update 8:50 p.m.] Tie game as McMahon hits 1 of 2. 73-73, Nova ball. 7:10.

[update 8:47 p.m.] Yet another backdoor cut left undefended by Nova will give Penn two more free throws. Nova is getting lazy on defense. Media timeout, Penn will shoot 2.

[update 8:45 p.m.] Jaaber missed both free throws and Scottie Reynolds responded with a cool three on the other end, giving Nova a 73-72 lead. 7:45 to play.

[update 8:43 p.m.] Jaaber got past Sheridan on a backdoor cut and was fouled. Penn leads 72-70 and Jaaber will have two free throws. Jay took a full timeout as Nova is on the ropes here.

[update 8:41 p.m.] A nice Nardi drive and lay-up gave Nova a 2-pt lead. But on the other end of the court, Nardi committed a reach-in foul, giving Penn 2 free throws, which it sank. Tied at 70, 9:36, Penn's at the line shooting two.

[update 8:39 p.m.] Tie game, 68-68. Dangerous against Penn in the Palestra. 10:00 even to play. Stay tuned.

[update 8:38 p.m.] Nova's man-defense is looking good. Penn is having trouble setting up any kind of offense. Unfortunately, Penn got 2 points on a broken-play with 2 seconds on the shot clock, and just picked up an old-fashioned 3-pt play in transition. Nova's lead is down to two, 68-66, Penn's ball. Cunningham picked up his fourth foul.

[update 8:35 p.m.] Media timeout with 11:39 to go. Nova leads 66-61 and has the ball. Dante just had a huge offensive rebound to save the possession after an ill-advised Sheridan shot. Anderson is back in the game so look to Dwayne to get going on offense again.

[update 8:29 p.m.] Clark just took a long three-pointer with a hand in his face that made me cringe. But it swished anyway, so what do I know? Penn answered with a 2, and Benn turned it over. Nova leads 66-59, Penn's ball, 12:22 on the clock.

[update 8:26 p.m.] Sumpter's stroke looks solid tonight. Curtis just hit a contested three, but Penn answered quickly with a three of its own. Nova leads 63-57.

[update 8:23 p.m.] CN8's broadcast just showed Randy Foye and Kyle Lowry in attendance at the Palestra, both wearing Yankees hats. Nardi hit a runner to put Nova up 60-53 with 15:28 left.

[update 8:18 p.m.] Penn is on fire from beyond the arc, with 3 threes already in this half. Tommy McMahon is heating up, shooting 2/2 from three-point land. Scottie Reynolds scored on a Foye-like drive/runner, and Will Sheridan hit two free throws. Nova leads 57-51 with 16:22 to play.

[update 8:17 p.m.] Two MORE Quaker turnovers and two Villanova fast breaks. 'Nova leads 53-45. Nardi just picked up his third foul but will remain on the floor with 16:35 left.

[update 8:15 p.m.] Second half underway. Sumpter hit a jumper and the Quakers hit a three. Villanova leads 49-43. If we do not pull away soon this one smells like it's going down to the wire, and we definitely do not want that in the Palestra.

[update 7:59 p.m.] Halftime. Villanova leads 47-40, thanks to its excellent shooting from beyond the arc. The Wildcats have sunk 8 of 19 threes, 16-28 from the field overall. The 'Cats are also perfect from the charity stripe, 6-6. Curtis leads 'Nova in scoring with 17 points, including 3 three-pointers.

Penn is led by Mark Zoller with 22 points and 5 threes. They are shooting extremely well, 6-7 from the three and 14-21 overall. The only reason Nova is leading is because Penn has turned it over 17 times.

[update 7:56 p.m.] Mark Zoller is killing the Wildcats' defense, scoring 22 points in the first half on 5 three pointers. Penn is on a 10-2 run, scoring off a Curtis Sumpter turnover and an airball. Nova leads 44-40.

[update 7:48 p.m.] Yet another long three for Dwayne, and two more Penn turnovers (15 total). Nova is up 42-30 at the last TV timeout of the half. Anderson and Sumpter each have 12 points. Nova is now 8-16 from the three, including 7 of the last 9, as the announcers just pointed out.

[update 7:43 p.m.] Sumpter just banked in a 3. Villanova was 6 for its last 6 three-point attempts. A Sheridan layup brings the Nova lead to 39-25 with 5:10 in the half.

[update 7:38 p.m.] Reynolds dribbled off a screen to hit a long, contested three, giving Nova a 34-25 lead and forcing a Penn timeout right before the under 8:00 media stoppage.

[update 7:36 p.m.] Anderson is providing such a spark offensively off the bench, hitting a long 3. Penn came right back down the court with a 3 of its own. Reynolds then turned it over leading to a Penn layup. Dwayne drained another three from NBA range, giving Nova the 31-25 lead with 7:00 to play.

[update 7:34 p.m.] Nardi takes a seat with two fouls. Benn and Reynolds in the backcourt now. Dwayne Anderson just threaded a gorgeous pass to Curt for a dunk. Nova up 25-19 with 8:54 to play. Lineup = Benn, Reynolds, Sumpter, Cunningham, Anderson. I love this lineup, great chemistry.

[update 7:29 p.m.] Sumpter just hit two threes off two Penn turnovers. Villanova leads 21-13 with 10:30 to play.

[update 7:21 p.m.] The game is tied 11-11 as the pace continues to be fast, furious, and sloppy with seven combined turnovers thus far. 13 minutes left in the half.

[update 7:14 p.m.] Nardi just scored his 1,000th and 1,003rd points as a Wildcat. Nova has tied the game 9-9 with 16 minutes left in the half on 5 quick points from Nardi, who has 7 of the Wildcats' 9 points. Nova's defense looks active but did get burned by a nice backdoor cut.

[update 7:11 p.m.] The game is underway. Penn jumped off to a 7-2 lead on a 7-0 run. Both teams look sloppy right now with 2 turnovers apiece. Jay Wright just called a timeout to try to Wright the ship early on here.

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DePaul shocks Kansas

posted by Matthew
12/02/2006 06:26:00 PM

In a day that will see 10 Big East teams take the court, the biggest victory this Saturday will go to Sammy Mejia and DePaul.

The Blue Demons, despite scoring only 17 first-half points, defeated Kansas (#5 AP/ESPN) this afternoon in Rosemont, Ill.

Kansas, fresh off a win vs. #1 Florida, shot better, and generally showed more athleticism than DePaul. In what is generally characteristic of Bill Self-coached teams, however, Kansas played with little heart and enthusiasm. This ended up being the deciding factor in the game which Kansas lost 64-57 in, quite literally, the final minutes.

With 3:45 remaining in the game, the Jayhawks led by 3. Far from a comfortable lead, but against a DePaul team that has lost to the likes of Bradley, Northwestern and Purdue, it was a lead Kansas should have been able to hold on to.

Instead Sammy Mejia was allowed to go on an offensive onslaught, hitting multiple threes, and DePaul scored nearly as many points in the final 3 minutes as they scored the entire first half.

I think this is evidence of what we can expect to see from Kansas this season. Bill Self has a team laden with NBA talent, as he had for years at Illinois, and as he has in seasons past with Kansas. His teams, however, generally play below their potential and with little consistency. Yes, his teams are young. But the sign of a good coach is getting teams up for every game and avoiding pitfalls such as today.

In any case this is a great win for DePaul and the Big East Conference. The Wildcats will get their first look at DePaul on January 6th in the Pavilion in a contest that will be televised on ESPN Full Court.

[Update by Pete] This win for the Blue Demons against arguably the hottest team in the country brings them a long way from just two weeks ago, when we wrote about how DePaul's slow start was making the Big East look bad.


TV for tonight

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/02/2006 02:35:00 PM
[update 7:41 p.m.] This stream is not working for anyone. Blame Comcast.

For those of you not heading to the Palestra, you will be able to see the game tonight.

If you are a Comcast cable subscriber, the game is probably on the CN8 network in your region.

If not, try CN8's live Web stream, which should carry the game tonight at 7 p.m. The stream requires Windows Media Player but works with Mac or PC.


01 December 2006

'Nova demolishes Stony Brook

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/01/2006 02:12:00 AM
Villanova 72
Stony Brook 44

Villanova (4-1) (0-0) [unr]

I missed the game itself, so my commentary here will be extremely limited. Villanova easily defeated Stony Brook on the road tonight, winning 72 to 44.

The Wildcats jumped out to a quick lead in the first half, outscoring Stony Brook 42-18. It looks as though Jay was very liberal in emptying the bench, as 10 players got double figures in minutes played.

Sumpter led all scorers with 14. No player on the Seawolves scored in double-figures. What is a seawolf anyway? Is it a wolf that lives in the sea? Very strange. Wikipedia says it's a fish, but Stony Brook's logo clearly depicts a wolf.

Mascots, however, were the least of Stony Brook's problems as the 'Cats hustled on the court, forcing 18 turnovers and winning the battle of the boards by a margin of 41-24.

Next up for Villanova will be Penn at the Palestra, Saturday at 7 p.m. That game will air live on CN8.

[update] I just saw that a Stony Brook alley-oop was the number-two top play on Sportscenter tonight. Normally this might be an embarrassing moment for the 'Cats' defense, but the scoreboard at the bottom of the screen revealed that the 'oop advanced Stony Brook's score from 2 to 4, while Villanova had 15.