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31 March 2008

'Nova falls to Kansas

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/31/2008 09:21:00 PM
This is old news by now, but Villanova lost by 15 to Kansas in the Sweet 16.

This brings to an end what has to be considered a successful season for the Wildcats, especially considering their mid-season struggles. I think any Villanova fan would have taken a Sweet 16 run at the start of this season, and if you told me in early February the 'Cats would make the second weekend, I'd have been thrilled.

This site will continue to post news and opinions on Villanova basketball through the offseason and into next year.

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28 March 2008

Questions from a Kansas fan

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/28/2008 02:48:00 AM
Cory over at Rock Chalk Talk e-mailed me this week with a list of questions about this year's Villanova team and my take on the game.

(Also see NovaFan09's keys to the Villanova-Kansas game.)

Below is a transcript of the questions and answers, with Cory's questions in the blockquotes and my responses in normal text. I sent Cory a list of questions about Kansas, which I hope to also publish before the game.

1. Going into Selection Sunday, you guys were certainly on the bubble. In fact, I actually had you guys as my last team out, putting in Arizona State instead. So, on Selection Sunday did you expect to get into the Dance, or were you on the edge of your seat all day long waiting for the news?

We actually held a week-long bubble vigil on the site. After several important games went our way, I was fairly certain that with a split in the two Sunday title games (SEC and B10), Villanova would be in. We got the split and got one of the last spots in. It certainly was a little close for comfort, but personally I was fairly confident going into the selection show, if only because I spent most of the week prior analyzing the bubble to a degree far beyond even the traditional sports media

2. Scottie Reynolds is clearly the star of the Villanova Wildcats, but who else should Jayhawk fans watch out for?

Freshman guards Corey Fisher (#10) and Corey Stokes (#24) could each go off. Fisher is a penetrating point guard who loves to get to the rim, while Stokes is a jump shooter. I would also suggest junior Dante Cunningham (#33), Villanova's best interior player, but Kansas's dominating front line should keep him in check. If Villanova gets down big time, you might watch out for freshman guard Malcolm Grant (#3). Grant single-handedly won Villanova the LSU game in December, which was one of the biggest comebacks in college basketball history.

3. What is the Wildcats' biggest strength as a team? In other words, if the Wildcats pull off the upset Friday night and beat KU, it will be because of...what?

Guard play and defense are by far the team's best attributes. The only way Villanova beats the Jayhawks is if at least two guards explode and the Wildcats play good shut-down defense. Villanova cannot compete with Kansas's big men, but I like the Wildcats' chances if the game is a shootout between the guards.

4. On the same thread as #3; What is the Wildcats' biggest weakness?

The two biggest weaknesses for Villanova are interior offense and scoring droughts. When the guards are not hitting their jumpshots or dribble drives, the team can go long stretches without scoring, as there is little to no interior offense to speak of. Lately, fouls have also been troublesome for the Wildcats.

5. Entering the season, and for much of the non-conference portion of the schedule, you guys were ranked and were fully expected to make the tournament. However, after your five-game losing streak, most expected you to be left out on Selection Sunday, and even if you snuck in to bow out in the first round. Given the high expectations entering the season, as well as the mid-year struggle, would you consider this season a success now that you are in the Sweet 16? Or did you expect to get this far all season long?

Looking at teams like Duke, Clemson, USC, and Vanderbilt, it's pretty clear to me that any time you make it to the Sweet 16, it is a success. To take it a step further, most fans considered the season successful when we made the NCAA Tournament, especially considering the mid-season struggles. Villanova has no seniors, so everyone should be coming back next year. Four straight NCAA trips and three Sweet 16s in the past four years sets the stage nicely for further postseason contention down the line. I can understand that for a team ranked all year in the top 5, like Kansas this year and Villanova in 2006, a Sweet 16 exit would be a bit troublesome, but this year for the Wildcats, we are happy to just be there.

6. How does the loss of Casiem Drummond, who broke his right ankle on Sunday and will be out for the season, affect Villanova?

The only real effect Drummond's injury has will be the front-court depth in terms of fouls to give. Drummond looked great early in the year before sustaining a stress fracture in December. With Drummond gone for the Kansas game, Villanova will have 5 fewer fouls to give in the frontcourt, but he was not a part of our recent rotation.

7. One last question: What do you see happening on Friday night?

The most likely outcome is a Kansas win, of course. If both teams play to their talent level, Kansas should win. But Villanova is one of the strongest 12-seeds in tournament history, and has the talent to run with anyone in the country. If 'Nova's guards get hot and the threes are falling, an upset would not be out of the question.

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'Nova-Kansas inspires strange cartoon

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/28/2008 02:35:00 AM
Not sure what to make of this, but here you go. I saw this unusual animation on YouTube tonight. I think it predicts a Villanova victory.

Also, Villanova's mascot appears to be some kind of bear, and I am pretty sure the sign should read "Elite 8," not "Sweet 16."

For a more substantive look at tonight's game, be sure to check out NovaFan09's Villanova-Kansas preview, and predict the final score in the comments section.

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27 March 2008

Jay Wright talks with Mike and Mad Dog

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/27/2008 06:31:00 PM
Villanova coach Jay Wright appeared today on the popular WFAN (New York) drive-time sports radio show hosted by Mike Francesa and the "Mad Dog," Chris Russo.

Wright discussed Villanova's first two games in the NCAA Tournament, including the Wildcats' comeback vs. Clemson and Wright's late-game technical foul.

Wright also talked about the healing injuries of Dwayne Anderson and Reggie Redding, and discusses Villanova's prospects in tomorrow night's game against Kansas.

Wright said his team's key to the game tomorrow was to respond to the runs that Kansas will inevitably make. Wright also cited the importance of freshmen Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher to score when the Jayhawks focus on Villanova star Scottie Reynolds.

You can download an MP3 of the 12-minute interview directly from WFAN.

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TV coverage map for Villanova-Kansas

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/27/2008 06:08:00 PM
A coverage map for CBS's broadcast of tomorrow night's Villanova-Kansas Sweet 16 game is now available.

Villanova-Kansas will be the preferred game for most of the nation, including all of the Northeast. The game will be given "constant" status in southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, Delaware, Kansas, and Missouri.

If you live in New York City, you should see the game unless CBS decides the Memphis-MSU game is more compelling.

The game can also be viewed online for free via March Madness On Demand.

See below for the coverage map. You may click on the map to enlarge it.

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'Nova hopes to upset top-seed Kansas in Sweet 16

posted by NovaFan09
3/27/2008 12:27:00 PM

12-seed Villanova Wildcats (22-12) vs.
1-seed Kansas Jayhawks (33-3)

Date: Friday, March 28, 2008
Location: Detroit, Michigan (Ford Field)
Time: Approx. 9:40 p.m. EDT
Television: CBS

Kansas coverage: PhogBlog | Rock Chalk Talk

In mid-January, who would have thought that the Villanova Wildcats would have a chance to upset a 1-seed in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament? That will exactly be the case on Friday, when the Wildcats square off with the Kansas Jayhawks at 9:40 p.m. in the Midwest Regional semifinals.

Kansas started the season by winning 20 straight games and cruised to another Big 12 Conference title by going 13-3 in its division. The Jayhawks' three losses on the year came in February, when the Kansas fell to Kansas State, Texas, and Oklahoma State by a combined 13 points. One could conceivably make the argument that Kansas flirted with going undefeated more so than Memphis, as the Jayhawks faced stiffer competition all season.

Make no mistake about it, head coach Bill Self has built a loaded roster, with talented former McDonald’s All-Americans top to bottom.The Jayhawks led the nation in regular-season scoring margin, at more than 21 points per game. Additionally, Kansas led the Big 12 in offense and several key defensive categories, including blocks, steals, and defensive field percentage. Simply put, the Jayhawks don't just beat you, they blow you out.

Kansas essentially wears down opponents by exercising its athleticism and depth to the fullest by regularly rotating nine or ten men each game. In the first two NCAA Tournament games, Kansas pummeled Portland State and UNLV by 24 and 19 points, respectively.

Touting nearly five double-digit scorers, Kansas is led by sophomore forward Darrell Arthur (13.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg). Joining him in the frontcourt are senior Darnell Jackson (11.5, 6.7) and senior Sasha Kaun. In the backcourt, junior Brandon Rush, who tested the NBA draft last spring before tearing his ACL, averages 13.0 ppg. Mario Chalmers, who shoots nearly 48 percent from downtown, chips in 12.6 points and 4.5 assists per game. Not to be overlooked, sophomore Sherron Collins puts in just under 10 points per game and is an electric spark off Bill Self’s bench. Any one of these players, who all average under 30 minutes per game, can be the star, and it will be important that all players are accounted for and not forgotten, as all are lethal in their offense.

Keys to the game

Containing Jayhawk frontcourt:
‘Nova is severely undersized in the frontcourt, both in height and athleticism. While ‘Nova has contained the likes of Georgetown, UConn, and Clemson down low, the Jayhawks’ big men as a group are much deeper and talented. Villanova will try to seal off the passing lanes and make Kansas’ guards make shots from the outside, much in the same way ‘Nova contained Clemson in the second half.

Contest three-pointers: To be honest, Villanova has definitely benefited from its tournament opponents missing open three-point shots. Chalmers and Brandon rush both shoot over 44 percent from beyond the arc, so even though Villanova will be denying the post, the guards must contest shots on the wings from these two Jayhawks.

Ball control: Kansas pressures the ball the full length of the court. Scottie Reynolds is still Villanova’s best ball handler, but Fisher has more than proved his worth the past two games. Mario Chalmers and Russell Robinson both average more than two steals per game, so limiting turnovers will be a big part of competing in this game.

‘Nova supporting cast: We know Reynolds can get the job done, but who else will provide the added punch to knock the Jayhawks out? Stokes needs to light it up and Pena and Cunningham must add some points and offensive rebounds inside.


Shane Clark: I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Clark’s intangibles (leadership, seniority) and some timely rebounding will help ‘Nova immensely. Either that, or his poor dribbling and blown defensive rotations will cause Kansas to have a field day. With Self using basically his entire roster, there is no way the ‘Cats can keep pace without doing the same, especially with Drummond out for good. It is this reason why Clark and the rest of Jay Wright’s bench will be so important come Friday.

Coaching: Will another one of Bill Self’s teams self-destruct in the tournament? Will Jay Wright finally have his young team believing in themselves? We will all find out by midnight on Saturday.

Ford Field: ‘Nova teams traditionally have trouble shooting the three in football and baseball stadiums that have been converted to basketball arenas for NCAA games. Because this team relies so much on its outside game, let us hope this game does not turn into 2006’s version of the Minneapolis Metrodome (Florida defeat).

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25 March 2008

NASA computer picks Villanova to win championship

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/25/2008 09:01:00 PM
According to an article on the Serious Sports News Network, a supercomputer constructed by NASA predicted in November that Villanova would win the national championship:

Barry, as the supercomputer is affectionately known around NASA headquarters, was constructed in late 2007 with the sole purpose of determining the outcome of the 2008 tournament. While the exact cost of Barry remains classified, estimates of the machine’s price tag range between two and three billion dollars.

“We were pretty nervous back in November when we flipped Barry on for the first time and saw ‘VILLANOV’ on Barry’s old-timey, all caps, eight-letter-maximum LED readout,” said Dr. Michael D. Griffin, chief of America’s space agency.

In case you couldn't tell, the above article is satire, but it's good to see Villanova get some press as a Cinderella.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, fiction turned into reality this week when Villanova fulfilled to the letter the exact "best-case scenario" proposed by ESPN's Pat Forde, the best writer in all of college basketball:

Best Case: Last at-large team in the Dance justifies its inclusion by stunning Clemson, then takes advantage of upset in the bracket to face No. 13 seed Siena in the second round. Suddenly Nova has won two games and has advanced to the Sweet 16, and everybody remembers why they loved Jay Wright so much when his team won 30 games in 2006.

Those eerily-prophetic words were published on March 19, and, strangely, the only thing to correct in the entire statement is that Villanova won 28 games in 2006, not 30.

Finally, an excellent straight piece about Villanova's surprise visit to the Sweet 16 runs today in Sports Illustrated, and is worth a read.

You may also check out the automatically generated news feeds at the top of this site. It's a big week for Villanova in the media.

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Drummond to have surgery on broken ankle

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/25/2008 12:18:00 AM
Casiem Drummond will undergo surgery on Tuesday for a fractured right ankle, Villanova University announced in a press release.

Drummond fractured his right ankle in Villanova's win against Siena in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday. According to Villanova, the new injury is not related to the stress fracture in the same ankle that Drummond was diagnosed with in December.

Drummond started at center for the Wildcats for several games this season until the stress fracture caused him to miss more than ten games.

Drummond will miss Friday's game against top-seeded Kansas, and any further action this season as he recovers from his latest injury.

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23 March 2008

'Nova bests Siena to reach Sweet 16

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/23/2008 02:21:00 PM
Villanova defeated the 13-seed Siena, 82-74, to win its four-team bracket in Tampa and advance to the round of 16 next weekend.

The Wildcats will face the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in Detroit on Friday night. 

[Update] The game will tip at 9:40 p.m. (Eastern time), which is the same local time in Detroit.

This is the third time in the last four years that Villanova has reached the Sweet 16 or better.

I will have a comprehensive recap and analysis of both the Clemson and Siena games for this week.

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22 March 2008

Villanova faces Siena in NCAA round two

posted by NovaFan09
3/22/2008 10:43:00 AM

12-seed Villanova Wildcats (21-12) vs.
13-seed Siena Saints (23-10)

Date: Sunday, March 23, 2008
Location: Tampa, Florida (St. Pete Times Forum)
Time: 12:10 p.m. EDT
Television: CBS

While Villanova no doubt had its fans' hearts pounding throughout the night Saturday, Siena took a different route in its upset win over Vanderbuilt, routing the Commodores 83-62 in a game that was never close.

Villanova must continue its stellar second-half perimeter defense in order to win this match-up with the MAAC Conference champions on Easter Sunday, as the Saints are an extremely up-tempo team that uses its athleticism to a distinct advantage.

Siena should not be taken lightly. The Saints have faced several NCAA tournament teams this season, beating Stanford at home, Boise State on the road, and demolishing MAAC favorite (and supposed tournament auto-bid) Rider in the conference championship. In addition, the Saints played hotly-contested games with St. Joe's and Patriot League powerhouse Holy Cross.

The Saints match up well with Villanova's style of play, as they present a trio of lethal guards ,starting with leading scorer Edwin Ubiles (17.3 ppg). The sophomore shoots 43 percent from the arc, and scored 11 points against Vanderbuilt. Guard Kenny Hasbrouck, who averages 16 ppg and shoots nearly 40 percent from the three, dumped 30 points on the Commodores and was the game's leading scorer. Sophomore Alex Franklin scores 15 points and grabs 7.9 rebounds per game, a respectable number for a 6-5 forward. Ronald Moore (8.8 ppg) is an extremely quick guard, and he has to be excited to be facing Villanova, a school just an exit off the Blue Route from his home in Conshohocken, Penn. Finally, Tay Fisher, a generously listed 5-9 guard, is the only senior in the Saints' rotation. A tremendous shooter, Fisher converts 45 percent of his threes, going 6-6 from downtown against Vandy and 6-10 against Rider.

Keys to the game

Perimeter defense:
Watching the Clemson game was like witnessing two completely different games for Villanova. In the second half, the team came out extremely energized and basically nullified any perimeter game the Tigers possessed. Against Siena, Dante and Pena must continue to rotate to the top of the key, sealing off any perpendicular driving lanes where guards like to kick the ball out. In addition, rebounding against this smaller team should be emphasized, not taken for granted, limiting second-chance points.

Get hot early: 'Nova Nation can not stomach another second half comeback. Because of its Cinderella status, the longer Siena stays in the game, the more the Saints will believe that they deserve to play with the big guys. Let's stop this team from advancing any further by building a quick lead and holding it for good.

Go down low: Feed the big men on the block. What Villanova lacks in height in terms of a true center and power forward doesn't necessarily translate into a lack of effectiveness. Villanova forwards are more than capable in the post, and if they play well, demanding double teams, it is just an easy kick-out away from finding an open three.

Control Siena's pace: Siena has the athleticism to run with anybody, but sometimes has trouble playing in a half-court game. If Jay Wright can control the speed of the game and not let this turn into a shootout, Siena will have to make every offensive trip count. I believe this is the most important aspect of the game, where a little three-quarters press can make all the difference between going home and continuing to dance.


The 'Cats expelled a lot of effort to beat Clemson, and Reynolds looked physically drained at the end of the game. Jay needs to motivate this team to continue to play "Villanova Basketball."

Reggie Redding:
If Siena finds a way to build a lead, look for Jay Wright to call on Redding to defend the Saints' top shooter at that time.

You may predict the final score and describe your own keys to the game in the comment section below.

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'Nova comes back to shock Clemson

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/22/2008 12:46:00 AM
Villanova came back from the dead to defeat the 5-seed Clemson in Tampa tonight, where all four lower seeds won for the first time in NCAA history.

Villanova had trailed by as many as 18 before beginning a furious comeback just before the half. The Wildcats were able to complete the dramatic comeback in the second half to win, 75-69

Villanova moves on to face the 13 seed, Siena, which upset Vanderbilt earlier today on the same court.

Villanova-Siena is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. EDT on Sunday, the very first game of the day. The next game is not slated until 2:15 p.m, so Villanova-Siena should air nationwide in its entirety.

A full analysis of the Clemson game with player grades will be up tomorrow.

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21 March 2008

Keys to the game: tournament edition

posted by NovaFan09
3/21/2008 01:00:00 PM

Villanova Wildcats (20-12) vs.
#22 Clemson Tigers (24-9)

Date: Friday, March 21, 2008
Location: Tampa, Florida
Time: 9:50 p.m. EDT
Television: CBS

Keys to the game

Ball control: Coach Oliver Purnell employs a 10-man rotation with an emphasis on the full-court press. The effectiveness of this press, when it works, was seen in the ACC championship game against North Carolina, when the Tar Heel guards were pestered all afternoon in the backcourt. Right now, Scottie Reynolds is Villanova’s best ball handler, but when he becomes double and triple-teamed, Corey Fisher will have to step up and limit his turnovers for ‘Nova to be successful.

Clemson’s starting upperclassman guards are 6-foot-5 and 6-3, so it makes sense for Villanova to start its longer lineup, with Corey Stokes at the 2 and Reynolds at the point. Limit the turnovers and easy transition baskets for the Tigers, and Villanova will have more than a shot to come out on top.

Defense: This is the key to stopping Clemson’s full-court press. If Villanova can rebound on defense and stop the Tigers from scoring, Villanova will not have to inbound the ball and, as a result, Clemson will be unable to set up its press set. Jay Wright must use his substitutions wisely, because Clemson's press wears on guards' legs. With quick rotations, this exhaustion will not translate to poor defensive efforts. Keep the Tigers under 70 points and we have a shot.

Free throws: The Tigers shot 62.3 percent for the season, last in the ACC. Clemson’s guards Rivers and Hammonds shoot 67.7 percent and 45.9 percent from the stripe, respectively. Similarly, the starting big men Mays and Booker shoot under 60% collectively. Villanova as a team shoots 72.3 percent. Simply put, if the Wildcats are forced to foul around the rim, they must foul hard. Statistically speaking, Clemson is much less damaging when attempting to make two free throws at a time rather than trying to complete a three point play, in which the basket has already counted.


'Nova PGs:
As Scottie goes, so does Villanova. A dominating performance by the sophomore guard can propel 'Nova into the next round, and possibly beyond. In addition, Corey Fisher needs to be more consistent with the ball in his hands and not force bad passes inside. Limiting turnovers and taking quality shots are a must.

Corey Stokes: His hot shooting will demand attention, allowing for Reynolds to hopefully slip past the defense.

Remember to comment and participate in our contest to predict the final score. I would not be surprised with the outcome of this game either way, but I predict that Clemson may be riding a bit too high after its recent success at the end of their regular season, giving the 'Cats just enough of an edge to pull out a victory.

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Meet the Clemson Tigers

posted by NovaFan09
3/21/2008 12:00:00 AM
#22 Clemson Tigers
Atlantic Coast Conference
24-9 Overall Record (10-6 ACC)
Head Coach: Oliver Purnell (94-67 at Clemson)
Clemson, South Carolina

Villanova faces the #5-seeded Clemson Tigers in Tampa, Fla. on Friday night. The tipoff is set for 9:50 p.m. Villanova fans may be relatively unfamiliar with out-of-conference opponents, so an informal introduction of Clemson is below.

In 2007-2008, Clemson was 10-6 in ACC play. Despite three losses to UNC, Clemson twice extended the games into overtime, in addition to almost upsetting the top-ranked Tar Heels in the ACC championship game one week ago.

Clemson has built quite an impressive resume that boasts key wins over several NCAA tournament teams. The Tigers started the season off strong, going 12-1 in out-of-conference play. Wins included an 84-82 victory over tournament-bound Mississippi State, and a 61-58 win over Purdue. Within the ACC, Clemson split the home-and-away series with 2-seeded Duke and 7-seeded Miami, in addition to defeating NIT 1-seed Virginia Tech.

Key Players

K.C. Rivers
#1 G-F, 6-6 Junior
14.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.8 apg, 41.0% 3-point

Rivers leads the team in points per game, and averages nearly 2 steals per game. An athletic guard/forward, Rivers plays an essential role in Coach Purnell's press defense, and has the ability to light it up beyond the arc.

Cliff Hammonds
#25 G, 6-3 Senior
11.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.0 apg

Hammonds is a hard-working player who has averaged double figures in scoring in each of his four seasons at Clemson. Like Rivers, Hammonds also averages 1.9 steals per game. His in-you-face style of defense wears on opposing guards to the point of exhaustion. He has shown leadership by playing with a hand fracture that will require surgery at season's end.

Trevor Booker
#35 C/F, 6-7 Sophomore
11.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.9 bpg

One of the "bookends" of Clemson's imposing front line, the 240 lb. Booker is a force down low. Only 6-7 as a center, he plays much bigger than his height suggests. Has an improving mid-range game that complements his post play. He rebounds extremely well on the offensive end, but has trouble with free throws.

James Mays
#40 F, 6-9 Senior
10.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg

The team's vocal leader along with Hammonds, Mays is the point man in the Tigers' press who defends the inbounding pass. For 13 games, Mays wore a hand brace that tied his last three fingers together for a broken bone in his left hand. Since then, Mays has regularly scored in double figures, but has a tendency to miss easy layups, as seen in the UNC game.

Terrence Oglesby
#22 G, 6-2 Freshman
10.5 ppg, 41.4% 3-point

A sharpshooter from beyond the arc, the "Tennessee Rifleman" is a prototypical guard in the mold of Drew Neitzel and Mike Nardi. He is something of a liability on defense, as he was substituted possession-by-possession in the closing minutes of Clemson's ACC tournament games.

As a team, Clemson averages just under 80 points and 10 steals per game. This is a talented team with a lot of experience and should present a formidable matchup for Villanova.

Check back Friday afternoon for Villanova Keys to the Game and X-factors. Let's go 'Nova!

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20 March 2008

'Nova-Clemson coverage map

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/20/2008 01:36:00 AM
CBS has released its coverage map for the late games on Friday.

Villanova-Clemson is the preferred game in the Northeast, meaning the game will be shown on CBS affiliates there unless the network deems another game is more compelling.

As expected, the game is given "constant" status in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, Delaware, and South Carolina. In these markets, the game will be shown in its entirety regardless of the score.

See below for the full map. You may click on the map to enlarge it.

If you'd like to see the Villanova-Clemson game or any other NCAA tournament contest, you can watch for free online via "March Madness On Demand."

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19 March 2008

Anderson sprains ankle

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/19/2008 01:44:00 PM
According to Joe Juliano of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the starting junior Dwayne Anderson sprained his ankle in practice on Monday and is listed as "day-to-day."

Many Villanova fans have credited the swingman Anderson's insertion into the starting lineup with the Wildcats' resurgence in the second half of the season.

This injury does not sound all that serious, but it would be a huge blow to the 'Cats if Anderson were sidelined for their first round game against the 5-seeded Clemson Tigers on Friday night.

Fortunately for Villanova, Anderson still has more than two full days to heal, as the Wildcats do not tip off until 9:50 p.m. Friday night.

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18 March 2008

New 'Nova highlight reel in time for tourney

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/18/2008 01:00:00 AM
Just in time for the NCAA tournament, the Villanova highlight video kingpin Sean Donovan is back with a new montage of the 2007-2008 Wildcat season.

In the new video, Donovan makes extensive use of stop-motion and fast-forward special effects, like a master craftsman honing his wares to ever-higher summits of technical achievement.

The video is set to Sum 41's "Underclass Hero," an appropriate choice for the 2008 Wildcats, who do not have a senior on their roster. It should also be noted that the band's front man, Deryck Whibley -- AKA the luckiest man on earth -- is married to Avril Lavigne.

You can watch the video in embedded YouTube player below, or download the large version, a 129 megabyte WMV file. I highly recommend the large version, as the quality is excellent.

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16 March 2008

'Nova-Clemson tips 9:50 p.m. Friday

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/16/2008 11:23:00 PM
The official tournament schedule (PDF) with game times has been released, and Villanova will play at 9:50 p.m. EDT on Friday night in the second-latest game of the first round.

Villanova vs. Clemson will begin about five minutes before the Memphis-Texas (Arlington) game, and should be "protected" in the Philadelphia CBS market. Outside of protected markets, CBS will air what it feels is the best game going on.

The 9:50 p.m. Villanova-Clemson start time means the game will have a larger potential audience than early afternoon games.

See below for the full bracket, with start times. Click on the bracket for a larger version.

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'Nova in as #12 vs. #5 Clemson

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/16/2008 06:58:00 PM
Villanova grabbed one of the last at-large invitations to the NCAA tournament, the #12 seed in the Midwest.

Villanova draws #5 Clemson for a Friday game in Tampa, Fla. The winner of that game will likely face #4 Vanderbilt on Sunday.

Times have yet to be announced.

You can view the full bracket at CBS Sportsline.

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Selection show live blog

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/16/2008 05:55:00 PM
Here is the selection show live blog.

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How to watch the selection show

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/16/2008 02:14:00 PM
[Join LetsGoNova.com for a live blog of the selection show at 6 p.m. today.]

Selection Sunday revolves around the selection show, which starts at 6 p.m. (Villanova time) on CBS.

The nature of the selection show is that the brackets get revealed slowly, agonizingly, region-by-region, in between breathless commentary and lucrative commercial breaks.

As such, teams on the very edge of the bubble, like, say, Villanova, will want to know whether things are going their way even before they see their names listed.

Here is a brief guide to the selection show.

1. Bubble teams it's OK to see in the brackets: These teams already should be in.
  • Texas A&M
  • Kansas State
  • Baylor
  • St. Joseph's
  • South Alabama
  • Miami

2. Legitimate bubble competition: The best five profiles left, with four three to five spots available, depending on Wisconsin-Illinois and Arkansas-Georgia.
  • Arizona
  • Kentucky
  • Villanova
  • Oregon
  • Illinois State

3. Names Villanova fans do NOT want to see under any circumstances: If you see one of these teams, you know one of the legitimate bubble teams got left out.
  • Georgia (auto-bid)
  • Illinois (out)
  • Arizona State
  • VCU
  • Dayton
  • UMass
  • Virginia Tech
  • Ohio State
  • Mississippi
  • Syracuse

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All down to Selection Sunday

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/16/2008 03:38:00 AM
[Join LetsGoNova.com for a special live blog shortly before the selection show at 6 p.m.]

It wasn't a perfect day Saturday for Villanova's bubble hopes, but it was good enough that the Wildcats are still in fine shape to receive an at-large bid tonight.

The good news: Kent State and Memphis won, preserving two crucial at-large bids. UNC defeated the late-surging Virginia Tech, which has beaten absolutely no one this year and will find itself in the NIT.

The bad news: Temple knocked off St. Joe's, taking the A10 championship and an available bid. Georgia won two games in one day, and the Bulldogs will threaten to steal a bid tomorrow afternoon.

There are just two games left that will affect Villanova's chances:
  • Arkansas vs. Georgia (3:30 p.m., ESPN2)
  • Wisconsin vs. Illinois (3:30 p.m., CBS)
I would feel great going into the selection show tonight if both Arkansas and Wisconsin won; in that scenario, the Wildcats would very likely get into the field. I would even be comfortable if just one of those two teams won, because the numbers still work out for Villanova to be invited.

If both Arkansas and Wisconsin lose, the bubble shrinks from three at-large spots to just one (assuming Arizona and Kentucky are already in), and then Villanova fans will really be sweating it out.

It would still be possible for 'Nova to get the last at-large bid with upsets in the Big Ten and the SEC, especially if the committee snubs Arizona or Kentucky, but it would be a lot safer for all three Wildcat teams if the Badgers and Razorbacks can get the job done.

Join LetsGoNova.com for a special live blog shortly before the selection show at 6 p.m. Be sure to participate and let your feelings be known as the brackets are unveiled this evening.

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15 March 2008

Following the bubble Saturday

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/15/2008 01:03:00 PM
Well, Villanova looks to be in barring total disaster.

Here are the outcomes to root for today, in chronological order. The most important games are listed in bold.
  • Memphis over Tulsa
  • Kentucky over Georgia
  • UNC over Virginia Tech
  • Illinois over Minnesota
  • St. Joseph's over Temple
  • Kent. St. over Akron
  • Pittsburgh over Georgetown
  • Mississippi St. over Georgia

Note: Last night, the desired outcome of the Kentucky-Georgia game was for Georgia to win. That has all changed now. The name of the game is to keep as many at-large spots open as possible. Kentucky is now pretty much an at-large lock, and Kentucky was already ahead of Villanova. The Wildcats are now rooting for the Wildcats in the rescheduled game.

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'Nova likely in barring total disaster

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/15/2008 12:26:00 PM
Here is what the Wildcats need to happen to virtually guarantee them a spot:
  • UNC to beat VT (Saturday). Tech might be in with a win over UNC, so that would take one spot away from the bubble. Granted, it might take UMass's or Illinois State's spot, but right now it's too close for comfort.
  • St. Joe's to beat Temple (Saturday). Temple can't really get in without the auto-bid, while St. Joe's is now a lock.
  • Memphis to beat Tulsa (Saturday). A Memphis loss would reduce the number of bubble spots by one.
  • Kent St. to beat Akron (Saturday). A Kent St. loss would give the Flashes an at-large.
  • Georgia to not win three times in 30 hours. The Bulldogs are the only team left in the SEC that is not a lock. Due to a tornado hitting the Georgia Dome last night, the only path for Georgia to an automatic bid is through Kentucky, Mississippi State, and the winner of Tennessee/Arkansas, all in the next day or so.
  • Wisconsin or Michigan State to win the Big 10 (Sunday). This is one Villanova fans might have to really sweat out. If Temple upsets St. Joe's and VT knocks off UNC, Villanova's spot could well come down to the Big 10 championship Sunday afternoon. Michigan State or Wisconsin will face Illinois or Minnesota in the final, ending just minutes before the selection show.
The only way I see Villanova being left out, at this point, is if three or more of the above scenarios go wrong this weekend. Even if three of these points do not go the Wildcats' way, there still should be about a 50-50 chance for the 'Cats to get in.

Remember, there are four at-large spots left, assuming Arizona is now in, even after losing. If there are still four or three spots left Sunday night, Villanova is a virtual lock. If there are just one or two spots left, Villanova will have to sweat it out. If all of the above scenarios go absolutely haywire, including Georgia pulling off one of the greatest weekends in sports history, then tip your hat to them, because the 'Cats will likely be one of the last two teams out.

I now estimate the Wildcats' chances of being included at 85 percent.

Finally, one of the last holdouts has put Villanova in his field of 65: ESPN's Bubble Watcher Andy Glockner.

Glockner held off after "Carnage Thursday" to make sure the bubble did not collapse on Friday. It didn't. According to Glockner,

It still looks like Arizona will make it off the strength of its 10 Top 100 wins. That leaves four spots up for grabs and the tiers as follows (in RPI order):

Tier A: Dayton, Illinois State, UMass, Villanova, Oregon, Arizona State Tier B: Ohio State, Ole Miss, Syracuse, VCU, New Mexico, Virginia Tech, Temple

Forced to choose today, the final four spots would go to Villanova, Illinois State, Oregon and UMass.

He even gives Villanova some breathing room, because Glockner suggests a Temple win over St. Joe's might take UMass's spot.

As Glockner says, if the selection show were right now, Villanova would be in.

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Friday bubble roundup

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/15/2008 12:03:00 AM
As of 11:45 p.m. Friday with all but two of the key games over, 'Nova looks like it's still in good shape. St. Joe's is now a lock, but there is still plenty of space on the bubble as we got a lot of help today.

Teams to root for tomorrow include St. Joe's, Memphis, Kent St., UNC, and BYU. No matter what, we will be sweating out the B10 final on Sunday, because either Minnesota or Illinois will be threatening to steal an auto-bid from MSU or Wisconsin.

The Kentucky-Georgia game in the SEC was postponed due to severe weather damaging the Georgia Dome. One possible scenario has ONLY Kentucky-Georgia playing tomorrow, and then scheduling three games (final 2 rounds) on Sunday. Each of these games would have to be just 20 minutes long, with two ten-minute halves, to avoid potential injuries.

There is also confusion as to where to play the games. Will the Georgia Dome be ready by tomorrow? Is there anywhere else in Atlanta to host the games? The Atlanta Hawks' arena is booked solid.

No official word yet from the SEC.

According to the SEC Web site, three games are scheduled for Saturday, with Kentucky-Georgia playing first, then the regularly scheduled game between Tennessee-Arkansas, then finally Mississippi St. against the winner of Kentucky-Georgia.

If the schedule on the SEC's site is indeed correct, it does not seem fair to make the winner of the Kentucky-Georgia game play a fresh Mississippi St. team, especially if Georgia wins and is going for the auto-bid.

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14 March 2008

Following the bubble today

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/14/2008 03:40:00 PM
Here is a list of games that could affect Villanova's bubble status today. All the games are listed in the preferred outcome for the Wildcats.

I still believe that Villanova will be selected on Sunday for the NCAA tournament.

Obviously, some of these games are orders of magnitude more important than others for Villanova's hopes, but I have listed them all for the sake of completeness. I have highlighted the most important of these games in bold.

The games are listed in chronological order.
  • UNC over FSU
  • Texas over OK St.
  • Wisconsin over Michigan
  • Tennessee over South Carolina
  • Miami over VT
  • MSU over OSU
  • Oklahoma over Colorado
  • Vanderbilt over Arkansas
  • Memphis over Southern Miss.
  • Purdue over Illinois
  • Xavier over St. Joe's
  • West Virginia over Georgetown
  • Duke over Georgia Tech
  • Kansas over Nebraska
  • Charlotte over Temple
  • Mississippi St. over Alabama
  • Pittsburgh over Marquette
  • Indiana over Minnesota
  • Kansas St. over Texas A&M
  • Clemson over BC
  • BYU over SDSU
  • Kent St. over Miami (Ohio)
  • UNLV over Utah
  • Georgia over Kentucky [postponed]

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