CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 18: Head coach Jay Wright of the Villanova Wildcats reacts during the game against the George Mason Patriots during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 18, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Among the Best Defensive Frontcourts In College Basketball? … Zach Lessner of Bleacher Report took a critical look at the Cat’s 2012 – 13 basketball squad writing, "Villanova will rely on a much different game plan than they did in last year's catastrophe. Villanova can no longer rely on setting up plays for the sole purpose of letting Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek play their individual games. Jay Wright will have to spread the ball around the floor if he wants the team to succeed on offense. Villanova will finally have to play as a team in order to do well this year, something Wright could not grasp as the Wildcats blew lead after lead one season ago. Although Cheek was easily replaced with three-point specialist Mislav Brzoja, nobody on the squad will be able to replicate Wayns' 17.6 points per game. The Wildcats will heavily rely on their overdose of big-men. Six feet-9 inch big body Daniel Ochefu possesses an arsenal of skills including a mid-range game and solid back to the basket play. Tony Chennault will look to take over the role as main scorer, but he doesn't have the same attacking instinct as Wayns. If the offense goes cold for stretches of time, the team does not have the player that can step up and put points on the board by himself. With Cheek and Wayns gone, the team can finally make defense their top priority. Maurice Sutton has learned how to use his 7 foot frame as an intimidator in the paint. Mouphtaou Yarou grabbed 8.2 rebounds per game a season ago and now looks to build off of a somewhat disappointing junior year. JayVaughn Pinkston was an above average defender last year until he hurt his ankle during pre-game of the February 25th
What Was Jay Thinking? … Here’s a recap of Jay’s tweets this week. "Happy for Brett Gunning, now an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic – great young coach! Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat! Always exciting when the schedule is announced – looking forward to this unique journey! Great night ahead tomorrow for legendary official Hank Nichols as he is inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield!"
Something to Tide You Over Until the Next Recruiting Big Board … Adam Zangoria of Zagsblog writes, "Tyler Roberson, a 6-foot-8 forward from Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, has set up three official visits to SMU,
Basketball Schedule Announced … CSNPhilly.com reports, "Villanova’s men’s basketball schedule was released Wednesday. It includes games against the four other Big Five schools, while Vanderbilt and Purdue highlight the non-conference portion of the schedule. Jay Wright’s Wildcats open the season by hosting the first two rounds of the "2K Sports Classic" against UDC and Marshall before traveling to Madison Square Garden to face Purdue and either Alabama or Oregon State. ‘Nova plays at
Arrivederci Dominic ... Villanova's second leading scorer from last season tweeted, "Damn [stuff] happen mad fast just found out I'll be leaving sunday to go play in Italy..They say good things come to those who wait" Cheek left school a year early and was undrafted by the NBA, but it looks like he has a place to play next season anyway. ~Assist to Brian Ewart
What to Expect Against Fordham Tonight … The Inquirer's Marc Narducci caught up with Villanova football coach Andy Talley ahead of the Wildcats' home opener against Fordham on Saturday at 6PM. Regarding the quarterback controversy, Andy said he’ll decide on who will start at game time. Notwithstanding the fact that Fordham is a Patriot League school, Andy sees a challenging game for the Cats. Fordham runs a high-speed offense, running a play every 15 seconds. This week Andy is looking for improvements in special teams, less turnovers and getting the linebackers more involved in stopping the run. Catch the video interview here.
Arcidiacono’s Back … Villanova’s Mike Sheridan took a look this week at freshmen, guard Ryan Arcidiacono. He writes, "I haven't felt a pain since I woke up from surgery," said Arcidiacono of a procedure from Dec. 21, 2011 that allowed doctors to remove a herniated fragment in his back. "I feel great." While we are still two months away from Arcidiacono's anticipated debut in a Villanova uniform, the months since the surgery have seen the new arrival make steady progress in his return to health. A gradual progression saw Arcidiacono resume full basketball activities in the spring and he was cleared in time to try out for the USA U18 team in early June (he was not selected to the squad). "Just in the short time we've been able to work with him, I've seen him get stronger and grow more confident," stated associate head coach Billy Lange. "He's really taken to the weightlifting regimen we have here and is better conditioned now than he was when we started, which is what you would expect coming off not playing last season. In every workout we have, we see the things he can bring to this program." "We're excited about Arch's progress," added head coach Jay Wright. "I think I bring toughness every day in practice," he stated. "I'm not too selfish - I'm going to pass it, look for threes here and there. I like to pass it and get my teammates involved. I want to be a tough Villanova guard."
Best ‘Nova B-ball Games of the Past Five Years … Zach Lessner of BleacherReport writes, "While Wright has brought the Wildcats back into college basketball relevancy since he took over as Head Coach in 2001, last season reflected none of the successes he had fused into the team in recent seasons. So, while we marvel at the embarrassment of the past season, it was only made possible because of the standards set by the team in previous seasons. Let’s look back at Nova's top 5 games in the past 5 years which have created high standards for their program.
5. February 7 2012: Villanova 74
4. January 28 2009: Villanova 67
3. January 22 2011: Villanova 83
2. March 26 2009: Villanova 77 Duke 54: Villanova had to get past the perennial contender and Number 2 ranked Duke Blue Devils. Not only did Villanova advance, they dismantled the team that many picked to represent the East Region in the 2009 tournament. Scottie Reynolds led the balanced attack with 16 points as the Wildcats marched on to their second Elite 8 in four years.
1. March 28 2009: Villanova 78
Around College Basketball … Ron Dauster of NBC Sports writes … "Jim Calhoun is considering retiring from coaching since hitting a patch of sand on his bike and breaking his hip. He told SI.com on Thursday, "I would be very, very surprised if I didn’t have something to say within the next two weeks." Calhoun said he has not decided whether or not to retire, but he sounds like he might be ready to step away. Although the competitive part of him thinks he could coach for another two years, the practical side realizes that this might be time. ... The NCAA’s verdict is in and
A Credit to Villanova And the College Game ... Mel Greenberg of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, Hank Nichols, a Villanova graduate, longtime teacher at the school and an NCAA referee, was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this week. He officiated six NCAA title games, 10 Final Fours, three finals of the National Invitation Tournament, and 13 Atlantic Coast Conference championships. Internationally, Nichols officiated at two Olympics and one European championship. "Unaccustomed as I am to hearing applause when my name is said" Nichols said before pausing, "I have so many different emotions, it's practically impossible to articulate them, but for a referee to be in this great place of honor along with people like this is just too stunning for me to explain." Nichols was a nominee out of the North American committee, which also had former NBA star Reggie Miller, former NBA coach Don Nelson, former