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20 February 2009

Villanova survives Rutgers scare

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
2/20/2009 03:28:00 AM
Rutgers 72
Villanova 82
(box score)

#13 Villanova: 21-5 (9-4 BE)
Rutgers: 10-16 (1-12 BE)

Villanova avoided what could have been a soul-crushing defeat on Thursday by barely closing out the hapless Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a game that was much closer than many predicted.

Corey Fisher helped save the Wildcats with excellent bursts of play from off the bench, where he inexplicably spent most of his time during the game.

Maybe the Jay-Wright-apologists among our readers here can explain why Wright would -- for the majority of the game -- bench a player who had 14 points on 4-5 shooting, 3 assists, 0 turnovers in his limited and non-contiguous court time. Especially coming off a game in West Virginia where he was just about the only Wildcat to show up. I certainly have no idea.

To me, it seems like the opposite of what a coach would want to do.

Maybe if Wright spent less time worrying about whether his assistants' suits are tailored, and more time studying the game of basketball, Villanova wouldn't have been taken to the brink by a Rutgers team that lost by the same 10 points to a team called "Binghamton." At home, no less.

We'll have to hope GreyCat of Villanova by the Numbers generates some plus-minus data for this game, but I'd wager the numbers were heavily positive when Fisher was on the floor.

To me, giving Reggie Redding 28 minutes, and Shane Clark 23, while the best player on the team was glued to the bench is an insult not only to Fisher, but to Villanova fans watching the game.

The backlash against Wright's decisions is not only coming from my keyboard. Many posts on Rivals' Villanova message board also criticized Wright's playing-time allocations, some far more harshly than in the views expressed here.

Wright's stubborn and illogical coaching didn't cost Villanova the win -- this time. But when the Wildcats can't put away a truly awful Rutgers team in the Pavilion while Wright keeps his hottest player on bench, you know the team in its current incarnation is not ready for the Big East and NCAA tournaments.

Villanova is enjoying an excellent position right now, as the Wildcats are all but a lock for the NCAA tournament and are jockeying for a high seed. I just don't want to see it become all for nothing in March because the Wildcats' best talent is sitting on the bench.

When and how Wright's poor coaching will ultimately end Villanova's season is not yet known -- but trust me, unless something changes radically between now and next month, it surely will.

Congratulations to reader "Mills" for most closely predicting the game's final score.

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

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 33 min)

    Reynolds led the team in scoring again, and along with Fisher and Stokes, totally bailed Villanova out of what could have been a disaster. He shot 5-11 from the field to score 21 points. He was a cold 1-4 from the three, but an outstanding 10-11 from the foul line. Being asked to handle the point for most of the game, he had 6 assists, but also committed 4 turnovers. He added 2 steals. I think Reynolds would be much better off playing the 2, but it's clear he is one of the best players in the Big East regardless.
    Grade: A-

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 31 min)

    Seventeen shots is too many for Cunningham, even if he is trying to do his best Curtis Sumpter impression. Dante's game is efficient offense, power rebounding, menacing defense, and running the floor well. If he does play professional basketball, it will be for those reasons. It will not be because he has "developed" an unreliable jump-shot from 17 feet. Cunningham made 5 of the 17 shots, and rounded out his box score with 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 steal, and 1 block.
    Grade: C-

  • Dwayne Anderson (S, 31 min)

    I am a big fan of Anderson's hustle game, but no way should he ever be shooting 3-11 from the field -- including a disastrous 0-4 from the three. The six rebounds were nice, but he should have been looking to pass a bit more often. In a perfect world, Villanova would start Cunningham, Anderson, Redding, Reynolds, and Fisher, and let opponents try to deal with the Wildcats' speed and scoring.
    Grade: C-

  • Reggie Redding (28 min)

    Not Redding's best game. He shot 1-1 from the field, which was nice, but didn't do much of anything on offense. Is Redding's defense that much better than Fisher's, to sacrifice 28 minutes of offense? I don't think so. He added 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, and 2 steals. The 2 steals were nice, and I still think Redding should be starting. I just don't understand the rotation the way Wright has implemented it.
    Grade: C-

  • Shane Clark (S, 23 min)

    Clark was not too much of a liability on the offensive end. He shot 3-5 to score 6 points and was generally quiet and ineffective. He only managed to get 2 rebounds in 23 minutes, or 1 more than Corey Fisher had in 19. He was bad on defense, a step slow and repeatedly in the wrong spot. I just don't see what he did to earn 3 minutes against RU, much less 23. But maybe we shouldn't question Wright's genius: after all, we did win the game.
    Grade: D+

  • Corey Stokes (22 min)

    Stokes was scorching from the field, shooting 6-9 and 5-7 from the three to score 17 points. Why did he only get 22 minutes, when fellow swingmen Shane Clark and Reggie Redding both got more? Another Villanova playing time mystery! The only negative about Stokes's offensive game on Thursday was that he did not reach the foul line. But, man, what a shooting night he had. Stokes also had 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, and 2 steals. Villanova's future success looks very much tied to the Corey and Corey show -- if only they could get off the bench. It's telling that the two players who received "A" grades here managed to combine for just 41 minutes, when it should be more like 70.
    Grade: A

  • Corey Fisher (19 min)

    See the main post above. Fisher was dominating in his brief appearance in the Rutgers game. He was unguardable, and the fastest player on the court by a significant margin. He brought explosiveness and unlimited upside to the offense. He handled the ball flawlessly. He was not -- unlike Clark and Redding -- a liability on defense. Fourteen points, 4-5 shooting, 4-4 from the line, 3 assists, 1 rebound, and ZERO turnovers -- what does this add up to? For Wright, it's 19 on-and-off minutes and a well-worn spot on the bench.
    Grade: A

  • Antonio Pena (9 min)

    When I opened my fridge this morning, I saw Pena's face on a milk carton. The headline was "Missing: Have You Seen This Forward?"
    Grade: D+

  • Frank Tchuisi (S, 2 min)

    Frank got the start on senior night, which was a nice gesture. I am sure he has worked very diligently in practice during his four years on the team, but it is a shame that Jay Wright could not teach Tchuisi enough not to be a complete disaster on the court after all these years. Tchuisi has size and appears reasonably athletic, so his total basketball incompetence speaks volumes about Wright's teaching skills, or lack thereof. Against Rutgers, Tchuisi committed two fouls in two minutes, and was promptly sent to the bench. Forget incomplete, I've seen enough for a grade.
    Grade: F

  • Incomplete grades: Jason Colenda (1 min), Russell Wooten (1 min)

  • Did not play: Maurice Sutton (RS).

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At 7:33 AM, February 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband was screaming all night about how you were going to be fired up because of the poor rotation during this game. Why won't Jay start Corey Fisher and Scottie?

At 8:14 AM, February 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that last poster kidding?!?! Jay didn't start Fisher and Scottie because IT WAS SENIOR NIGHT AND HE WANTED TO START THE SENIORS. also, I felt that Scottie and Corey got more time on the court together than Jay usually gives them. Hopefully that will happen more often, because its magic when they are both out there

At 9:06 AM, February 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOVE to see Stokes rain down those 3s. Keep it coming for 'Cuse.

At 9:33 AM, February 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete I'll spare you the trouble - here are the grades you will be posting:

Pena: F
Cunningham - C-
Clark: C-
Anderson: C-/D+
Reynolds: B
Stokes: B+
Colenda/Wooten/Tchuisi: incomplete
Fisher: A+++++++++++++++++++++++ (followed by the same "WHY ISN'T HE STARTING??????????????? GRRRRRR JAY WRIGHT" comment)

At 9:36 AM, February 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mainliner---my bad. I meant screaming about him not starting them in future games.

At 11:36 AM, February 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, Pete-

Looking forward to the grades...

At 11:41 AM, February 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off Clark does not deserve a C-. Unless his defense warrants that grade, but I don't think it did. And Tchuisi is not "incomplete"...he gets an F for his first 45 seconds of play. Hilarious attempt at playing basketball.

As far as I was concerned there was little to argue with this year as far as Jay's decisions have gone. However, I was screaming at the TV for this one as well. Not because I was worried they would lose (see Jay Bones does not let a team this good lose to shit opponents…it’s why their RPI is always so high). I was screaming because Redding was ALWAYS in. If he was a Senior then OK, but he isn’t so I just don’t get it.

To keep myself sane I came up with a story which involves Jay resting the Corey's for the tournament because he knows they'll be key to any run they may have. He figured he didn't need them to beat Rutgers...he was wrong...they won anyways. The only other explanation is it’s a defensive decision. Jay saw something while watching WVU tape and the Corey's were a huge part of WVU getting 20+ wide open lay-ups? I don't know...I don't have tape or the time to watch it. However, if the Corey's WVU defensive lapses were the cause of there Rutgers minutes then they better be pretty fucking egregious. The Corey's are pwning opponents on the offensive end and should not be taken out of the games unless they are doing something horribly wrong or need rest. I’m going with rest…

At 4:49 PM, February 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

villanova viewpoint is like the awkward little brother that always follows the big kids around, copies them, and never shuts up...somebody had to say it

At 8:51 AM, February 21, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's giving his opinion, b.

At 12:24 PM, February 21, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah...on other people's opinions

At 4:10 PM, February 21, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

novafacts.blogspot.com Check dat shit out

At 7:53 PM, February 21, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


props novafacts

At 10:47 PM, February 21, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright, enough. You've mentioned me so much now that it is starting to seem needy and cloying. Relax kids.

At 10:48 PM, February 21, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the update of me Pete?

At 3:23 AM, February 22, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

Grades are up.

It's kind of hard for me, on weekends, to devote enough time to make the long rants about Villanova coaching you've come to love and expect. So sometimes it takes a day or two. Let me know what you think.

ML, not sure I used all your grades... but you hit some of them.

At 5:31 AM, February 22, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

PS, I don't buy the "Resting" argument one bit. These are 20 year old kids in peak physical condition. They don't need rest for games NEXT MONTH!

At 2:23 PM, February 22, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get it, I finally get it. Pete has been playing with the haters all this time. He isn't serious, this is a parody site where he is "playing" a deranged fan. I mean, no one can be THAT deranged. can he?

At 2:50 PM, February 22, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just blow corey fisher already peter

At 4:21 PM, February 22, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yah Pete, your desire to try to make Jay sound bad because a 4 year bench warmer still sucks is kind of pathetic. I bet you watch foxnews because of their fairness and balance.

At 9:17 PM, February 23, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fox news is the most fair and balanced news out there you communist homo


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