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2013-14 Big East Post-Mortem

by - Published May 6, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
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A new era in the Big East began in 2013-14, and it was not hard to tell this was not your father’s Big East. The name was there, some familiar teams were as well, and the conference tournament was once again at Madison Square Garden. For that matter, the campaigning by coaches on behalf of the conference was the same.

But no matter how much it might look like the Big East we all knew, this was different.

For starters, three new teams joined the seven that split from the old Big East. Butler, Creighton and Xavier all left other conferences, and Creighton was a contender right away with a veteran team led by Doug McDermott. Xavier had its ups and downs but managed to reach the NCAA Tournament, while Butler had a depleted roster for new head coach Brandon Miller, in part from an injury to key guard Roosevelt Jones that cost him the season, and struggled.

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Villanova continues to be tough and resilient

by - Published February 19, 2014 in Columns
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Villanova is nothing if not resilient. That is in some ways the story of the season on a macro level, certainly, but on a micro level that has been true as well. When they won a heart-stopping 82-79 double overtime thriller at Providence, they gave a great exhibition of that and why they are a team that can make a run in March.

With this win, Villanova has avoided a losing streak once again. But they have had to show an extra measure of toughness after each loss, because all three wins following a loss involved overtime. While the Wildcats have pulled out a lot of close games and are now 4-0 in overtime, doing so to avoid a losing streak is big, and on Tuesday night they had this toughness in spades.

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Eighth-ranked Villanova too much for Seton Hall

by - Published January 10, 2014 in Columns
author_floriani

NEWARK, N.J. – They competed and battled, as they have all season long. Once again, they came up short.

In the end, eighth-ranked Villanova had too much as Seton Hall went down on the short end of  83-66 defeat at the Prudential Center on Wednesday.

The numbers of note:

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Villanova hopes the next growth comes in the NCAA Tournament

by - Published March 15, 2013 in Columns
villanova

NEW YORK – Villanova has had to deal with the ups and downs of a relatively young team all season long. Doing that in the Big East is difficult unless you have special young players, and while the Wildcats have good ones they’re not quite at that level. After a tough stretch through some of January, the Wildcats started to play better, and despite losing 74-55 to Louisville in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament, they appear to be generally playing better as they hope to hear their name called for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

In mid-January, Villanova didn’t look good. A poor showing at Providence was a bad loss at the time, as Providence was struggling even more en route to a 2-7 start in Big East play. It was their third straight loss, although there was no shame in losing at Syracuse and to Pittsburgh, though the latter was within their grasp at one point. Villanova’s guards were, Wright said, playing like they were inexperienced. Turnovers were a major problem, much like they were on Thursday night when they gave the ball away 25 times, including 18 in the first half.

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Barclays to MSG: A long (and enjoyable) day’s journey

by - Published March 15, 2013 in Columns
author_floriani

Two main venues, two great tournaments, just miles apart. A day filled with some very good basketball and interesting stories. Why not ? It is March Madness….

11:30 AM – Riding the subway to Brooklyn. The  preceding train ride from New Jersey to Penn Station was spent talking with a Cincinnati fan. The train has fans wearing gear from Pitt, Syracuse (most prominent) and of course, Cincinnati. The Bearcats, our new found basketball friend admits, have a tough assignment facing Georgetown at noon. Overall he is satisfied with the way things are going with Cincinatti but would like to see a little more inside play on offense. For now the Big East can wait. It’s onto the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the Atlantic 10. It is difficult typing on a moving train.

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2013 Big East Tournament second round quick hitters

by - Published March 14, 2013 in Columns, Conference Notes
bigeast

NEW YORK – The quarterfinals are up next in the Big East Tournament. In the second round, we saw Cincinnati blitz Providence early and fend off a rally, Syracuse rally from an early deficit due to a hot shooting Seton Hall team with a very strong second half, Villanova knock off a young St. John’s team and Notre Dame pull away from Rutgers and then hold them off. The four winners take on the top four seeds on Thursday.

Some quick hitters from Wednesday:

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Offense, especially turnovers, a key concern for Villanova

by - Published January 20, 2013 in Columns
villanova

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – There’s no question Villanova had their chances on Saturday afternoon at Providence. In fact, both teams did, since host Providence was 29-48 at the foul line. But Villanova gave the ball away too many times and gave up too many offensive rebounds in their 69-66 loss, their third straight after a seven-game winning streak.

Villanova has struggled on offense, with their 69 points per game being a deceiving statistic. The Wildcats barely top 40 percent from the field and give the ball away 16 times per game. The latter was a big reason they had a tough time on Saturday, as they turned it over 25 times against the Friars, including 17 in the second half. They shot just under 45 percent from the field, so when they held on to the ball they shot a reasonable percentage for a win.

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The Notebook: Alabama, Devon Collier, the 2K and turnovers

by - Published November 19, 2012 in Columns
author_floriani

NEW YORK – Some notes and a look back at the 2K Sports Classic:

The Classic was captured by Alabama in a convincing 77-55 win over Villanova. Alabama squeaked by Oregon State in the semis while Villanova came back late to defeat Purdue in overtime. Oregon State exited Madison Square Garden with third place, defeating Purdue in the consolation. For junior forward Devon Collier it was a nice showing on his “homecoming”. The 6-8 Collier hails from the Bronx and played his high school ball at St. Anthony’s for Hall of Famer Bob Hurley. Collier does not start, but true to the coaching adage “it is more important who finishes”, Collier is on the floor at crunch time.

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Looking back at the Jimmy V

by - Published December 7, 2011 in Columns

NEW YORK - The Jimmy V Classic, always providing interesting matchups, did not disappoint. The Madison Square Garden doubleheader on Tuesday featured a strong Missouri team followed by an entertaining matchup in the nightcap. The scores:

Missouri 81, Villanova 71

Marquette 79, Washington 77

1. Missouri is good. Very good. The entered the game with a 126 offensive efficiency. Against Villanova, the Tigers put up a very impressive 117. Defensively they allowed a 103 efficiency to Villanova but did force the wildcats into a 22% turnover percentage rate. Frank Haith does not employ a full court pressing defense with this Missouri team. Rather, he’s decided to use a tough man-to-man defense that disrupts offenses an creates turnovers in a half court setting. Offensively he has a solid sharpshooter in Marcus Denmon, a game-high 28 point scorer on 6 of 10 three point shooting. Kim English is a capable guard and scoring threat. At the point Phil Pressey handed out 12 assists while committing just three turnovers in 24 minutes. Inside there is one key player. Ricardo Ratliffe is solid and the 6-8 forward made his presence known against Villanova with a 17 point 11 rebound outing. “Missouri is a tough team,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “They are so quick to the ball and rebound very well. They are the type team that can play four guards and be very successful at it.”

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Villanova Wildcats 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 11, 2011 in Conference Notes

Villanova Wildcats

 

Last Year:

21-12 overall, 9-9 Big East (T-9th)

Coach:

Jay Wright (11th season, 224-110)

Projected starting five:

G: Maalik Wayns, Jr.
G: James Bell, So.
F: Dominic Cheek, Jr.
F: Maurice Sutton, Jr.
C: Mouphtaou Yarou, Jr.

Important departures:

Corey Fisher 15.6 ppg, 2.8, rpg, 4.8 apg, 33.4 mpg
Corey Stokes 14.9, 3.3 rpg, 33.0 mpg
Antonio Pena 9.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 32.8 mpg

Inside the numbers:

43 percent scoring returning
56 percent rebounding returning

Additions:

G: Tyrone Johnson, 6’3”, 185 – Rivals #52
G: Achraf Yacoubou, 6’3”, 200 – Rivals #126
C: Markus Kennedy, 6’9”, 270

Schedule:

Toughest nonconference game: 12/6 at (25) Missouri
Toughest in-conference stretch: 1/25 – 2/5 at (8) Louisville, vs. (21) Marquette, at (11) Pittsburgh

Prediction:

10th in BE; 20 wins; NCAA Tournament Bubble

What to expect:

Villanova is flying under the radar in the Big East coming into 2011 mostly because of the departure of the Coreys – Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes. The Wildcats also said goodbye to Antonio Pena. Losing three of their top four scorers as well as Isaiah Armwood (transfer), Nova will rely heavily on Maalik Wayns and Mouphtaou Yarou to carry the load.

Welcoming in four new recruits, Villanova does not have a senior on scholarship on their roster. While the future of basketball in Philly looks bright, Wildcat fans should rest assured that Jay Wright should have his team overachieving this year.

Aside from Yarou and Wayns, look for Maurice Sutton and Dominic Cheek to play a lot of minutes. The only question in the starting lineup is who will man the two-guard spot. James Bell looks to be getting the early go-ahead, but incoming freshman Tyrone Johnson and Achraf Yacoubou could be inserted into the lineup as the year goes on.

Next: West Virginia Volunteers

Back to Big East preview

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

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Conference Coverage

2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

July 8, 2014 by

bigten

The Big Ten had some teams slip as the season went on, but plenty of others picked up the slack in another good year for the conference.

2013-14 Sun Belt Post-Mortem

July 7, 2014 by

sunbelt

Membership changes have been happening at quite a pace of late in the Sun Belt, and it was a new member that stole the show for much of this past season and seems poised to lead the way in the future.

2013-14 Big Sky Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

bigsky

The teams that have led the way in the Big Sky of late were right there again this season. One of them won both the regular season and conference tournament, and also had a nice time with the post-season awards as well.

2013-14 MEAC Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

meac

The 2013-14 season was N.C. Central’s year in the MEAC, as the Eagles completed their four-year ascent to the top of conference.

2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

June 30, 2014 by

big12

When it comes to overall depth, the Big 12 this season may have been one of the strongest leagues in a long time. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 21 years and just the fifth time ever that a league sent 70% or more of its teams to the tourney.

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