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15 January 2008

'Cats look to avenge loss to DePaul

posted by NovaFan09
1/15/2008 10:10:00 PM

#21 Villanova Wildcats (11-3, 1-2 BE) vs.
DePaul Blue Demons (7-8, 3-1 BE)

Date: Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Location: The Pavilion (Villanova, PA)
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST
Television: ESPNU

DePaul coverage: Official Web site || The Demons Den

Villanova looks to earn retribution for its previous loss at the hands of DePaul this Wednesday, when the 'Cats host a rematch of two teams seemingly going in different directions. Since January 3, when the Wildcats and Blue Demons first met, 'Nova has experienced a stint of streaky play, going 1-2. DePaul, which carries an overall record under .500, has surprisingly gone 3-1 in the Big East, with its only loss coming to conference-leading Georgetown.

Early-season predictions by fans and college analysts alike had called for 'Nova to have the hot start in the Big East and for DePaul to hover near the bottom. Interestingly, both predictions have been proven wrong, as DePaul, which experienced early season trouble, has found leadership in seniors Draelon Burns (who torched Villanova last meeting) and Karron Clarke.

Villanova, without a senior on the team, seems to be at a loss for experience. One wonders if 'Nova is underachieving with the amount of talent on the roster, or if the 'Cats have been feasting all season against weak competition and are just now coming back down to earth.

Clearly, the injury to Drummond has hurt this team, but I think the issues Villanova is encountering have been there all season, having only been masked by the lack of quality opponents in pre-conference tune-ups. Too many key players are only freshmen and sophomores and do not have the experience to close out games. Additionally, many of the guards are getting exposed defensively, which forces the big men to step out and help, losing their rebound positioning. The good news, however, is that these issues can be fixed, as with each passing game the team becomes a more cohesive and experienced unit.

With that said, on to the aspects of the game necessary for 'Nova to win:

Keys to the game

Defensive rebounding: 'Nova has been getting hounded on the boards in conference play, in some cases being out-rebounded by double digits. If Villanova can reduce the number of put-backs and second chance shots by DePaul, it will go a long way in helping the 'Cats win their second Big East game of the season.

Keep the streak alive: 'Nova is 7-0 at home this season, and the student body is back on campus from winter break. This is a conference game and 'Nova Nation can not be lethargic. Keep the cheers coming and let the team know that we support them.

Shot selection and ball movement: The 'Cats have been settling for threes and outside shots, which have not been falling. Dante needs to stay on the box and Pena must continue his vast improvement in the post game. The guards need to get back to the paint by blowing by their defenders. 'Nova must also get into its offensive sets early and take advantage of favorable match-ups.


Coaching: I am going to go out on a limb and put some pressure on Jay Wright to stick with what works. Recall last game against DePaul, when Coach Wright pulled Fisher at the 3:19 mark with 4 fouls. Villanova had just completed a 10-0 run, and Fisher seemed like the only 'Cat who could score. After that, 'Nova fell flat and lost the game. The staff at 'Nova must find a recipe that gives this team the best opportunity to contend and stick with it, even if that means demoting past starters to a bench role. Change is good.

I have a feeling 'Nova is going to come out on fire in front of the home crowd for this one and put on a clinic at the Pavilion. Remember to predict the score for your chance to be mentioned in a future post, and to offer your own "keys to the game" and "x-factors."

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At 8:57 AM, January 15, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drummond back will help. We have no size. Scottie is playing hurt and not that effective. We will be 9-9 at best in the Big East. Maybe this is just a year of "growing pains". Looks like the NIT for us.

At 10:46 AM, January 15, 2008, Blogger Eric said...

Nova: 78
DePaul: 72

Key to the game: Offensive rebounds, defense, and energy. Sure way to lose: have the defeatist mentality often expressed in comments here.

At 11:32 AM, January 15, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once Drummond is back, we will be a much better team. It opens up so much more for the guards. We should finish around 10-8,and we will probably be around an 11 seed in the March Madness. The Depaul game is a must-win.

At 11:54 AM, January 15, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect the Coaches were focusing on the defense prior to the Cinci game, and I for one saw steady improvement there; while the other end of the court did not improve much.

I'll bet we see an increased emphases on balanced offense here resulting in several players in double figures. If Cas is back I would not expect him to be at preinjury form.

The "sixth man" will be a BIG factor.... The team seemed to react much better in Cinci than at DePaul to a hostile crowd (a sign of increasing maturity); but the home crowd seems to be very important to their energy level, especially when things aren't going well.

Nova 81
DePaul 73

At 11:55 AM, January 15, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we are good enough for the NCAA tournament if we are healthy, read=need drummond, and Jay sticks with what works. Unfortunately since our pre conference record was weak to say the least we need atleast 1 or maybe 2 wins against a top tier team in the big east. We have a quality against Pitt who showed they can still be tough even though they are injured. But if we could beat G'town, which is possible with Drummond and our athletic front court (cunningham, clark and Pena) which can match up with summers and ewing. We should make the tournament baring too many slip-ups against weaker teams like DePaul. This is a must win we cant go 0-2 against a team that wont end up with a .500 record.

At 1:05 PM, January 15, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nova 78
DePaul 68

Once again... the crowd will be a huge factor, so keep it loud at the Pavilion.

At 1:37 PM, January 15, 2008, Blogger pete said...

Villanova 91
Depaul 88

At 4:52 PM, January 15, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

VU 84
Depaul 76

At 4:52 PM, January 15, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

Villanova 79
DePaul 64

The home crowd helps the team play up to their potential.

At 9:07 PM, January 15, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nova 76
DePaul 68

far from a beatdown

At 9:40 AM, January 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nova 76
Depaul 71

At 9:56 AM, January 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

VU 82
DePaul 69

malcom grant plays big with big time minutes.

At 4:42 PM, January 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nova 73 - Depaul 70; Corey Stokes sucking his thumb on the bench. Jay Wright over-substituting and getting outcoached (as usual). Scottie and Malcolm will overcome it, with the home crowd, and they will win.

At 7:12 PM, January 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DePaul: 67

At 7:48 PM, January 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we lose, the season is over

At 10:20 PM, January 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

not only are we going to lose this game and the season, but also tyreke! hope he goes to louisville!


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