Guys...Villanova is undefeated in 2014 (1-0). Who else is freaking out right now?
For a more impressive statistic, include the first semester's worth of basketball and you'll see that Villanova is 13-1. The Wildcats are currently sitting pretty at 8th in the AP Top 25 Poll. The players returning from last season are playing mature and effective basketball, while the freshmen are learning to do so at a faster pace than even they did. As someone who has been attending Nova basketball games since 2000, I'm pretty happy about it. But do you know who is probably happier?
Jerald Taylor Wright, Jr.
I'm also pretty happy that he's happy. It has been 4,668 days since Jerald took control of the program. Throughout those 4,668 days, the Men's Basketball team at Villanova has made 8 NCAA Tournament appearances, 4 Sweet Sixteens, 2 Elite Eights, and 1 delicious Final Four trip. Wright, in his 13th year as the Head Coach at Villanova, has only experienced two losing seasons with the Cats. Villanova University, in its 14th year since the new millennium, has only experienced these two losing seasons. Even the season which led to the end of the Steve Lappas reign (2000-2001), was a winning season.
It has been 4,801 days since the 2000-2001 Men's Basketball season for Villanova began with a 101-85 win over Fairfield College at The Pavilion on November 14. Since that day, only 67 men in the entire world have suited up as a member of the Villanova University Men's Basketball team. Out of these 67 men - who is the best? Who is the best Villanova player of the Millennium? From Steve Lappas' final season (2000-2001) to Jay Wright's current stroll in the AP Top 10 (2013-2014), who is the best player to ever sport the name "Villanova" on their chest since the first full season of the new millennium?
Deciding this can only be done by one method - IT'S BRACKET TIME BABY!
I have made a bracket of the 67 players who have played at least one minute in their Villanova career. The seedings go from highest to lowest based on career minutes at Villanova, meaning the highest No. 1 seed is Scottie Reynolds with 4,340 minutes, and the lowest No. 16 seed is Henry Lowe with 10 minutes. For active players, the amount of minutes is however many they have played since the victory over Providence on January 5, 2014. Their projections and future performances will be discussed and considered in any match-up they have against an already established player.
Since there were 67 players, I had to include three "play-in games" for the lowest three sixteen seeds in order to have a pool of only 64. I will explain who won these "play-in games" and how. I will let this serve as a format to how each match-up will be recorded for future posts.
First, congratulations to the legend Nick McMahon himself, for he is ranked as the highest sixteen seed, and did not need a "play-in game" to contend. NOTE: If there had been 68 players since the 2000-2001 season, he would need to participate in one.
Lou Ruskey's career holds no room for error. He has an all-time FG% of 1.000 after making his only shot ever. The then-junior Ruskey sunk a three-pointer against Delaware State on December 28, 2001, and never looked back. He played in a total 10 games, racking up 2 rebounds and 1 assist. In his sole season as a Wildcat, Ruskey played 18 minutes. Ruskey was a walk-on, who did not make the team his senior year. His opponent, Andrew Ott, spent two years with the program from 2006-2008. He was a redshirt in his freshman year, and did not play until the 2007-2008 season. Ott appeared in 4 games and scored 3 points total. He spent a total 16 minutes on the court as a Wildcat. A week after Villanova defeated Syracuse 81-71 on January 19, 2008, Ott transferred to Penn State.
Winner: (16) Lou Ruskey. He will face (1) Allan Ray in the West Region. Ruskey is the modern-age grandfather of the Bench Mob. I can just imagine The Pavilion exploding when he made that three. I also like to think that Ruskey intentionally never shot again to maintain his FG%.
This is an incredibly close play-in game on paper. Both Ouano and Farrell have a total 14 career minutes at Villanova, but it can be expected that Farrell will total more by the end of the month. Dallas Ouano had a career plagued by knee injuries. He began the 2010-2011 season playing in 3 games but tallying 0 points. Later that season, he dislocated his right knee-cap and was out for the remainder of the season. He underwent surgery in the offseason. In the 2011-2012 Ouano was again hit by a knee injury. He finished his career with 0 points. Patrick Farrell has fortunately avoided injury completely during his time on the team, and beats Ouano in the point colum. Farrell scored 1 point against USF, which is commendable. Most reserves play to kill the clock. Farrell plays a physical game when he goes on the court, and against USF, resulted in his first career point.
Winner: (16) Patrick Farrell. He will face (1) Randy Foye in the South Region. Patrick Farrell is a good kid, and is probably the King of Twitter at Villanova. His teammates loves him, and the crowd loves him. No chance for Ouano here.
Chas Carey only spent one season on the Villanova basketball team, and has a total of 2 career points. Compare that to Henry "Shawty Got" Lowe, and it's over. Henry Lowe already has 5 points this season, and actually has increased his ability to control the dribble. Henry, in his second season, has already out-performed Carey. Carey has 11 career minutes, while Lowe has 10. Like Farrell, it is likely Lowe will get more time by the end of the month.
Winner: (16) Henry Lowe. He will face (1) Scottie Reynolds in the East Region. Henry may not have a real chance against Scottie Reynolds, but I wouldn't be able to sleep with myself if I picked someone named Chas over THE Henry Lowe.
So here you have it, the official field of 64! As often as I can, I will begin to post round by round who wins each match-up. Please feel free to comment on who you think will win future match-ups, and let me know when I'm wrong. Because it will happen.