The Villanova Wildcats are under the microscope, and not just by 'Nova Nation, but the rest of the country as well. Nobody can argue that their is talent on this team. Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes are two of the better guards in the toughest conference in the country, and Antonio Pena is a 5th-year senior who is finally putting together what feels like a complete season.
Couple that with some talented, yet still very young sophomores, and you SHOULD have recipe for a team better than the product 'Nova has put out in the last few weeks. The struggles have even started the talk about how this team may not do much better than last year's ill-fated 2nd round exit in the NCAA Tournament.
But how do we fix it? There's obviously no magical switch (if there is, flip the damn thing Jay) but there are a few things this team can do to right the ship before it is too late. Unfortunately, it always comes down to execution, something this team has been struggling with on the offensive end.
Let's treat this as a 'How To Fix The Wildcats' thread - I'll provide a few ideas, some of which are borrowed from our readers, and let's open the discussion from there.
See you after The Jump.
Problem #1 - Shooting at a high percentage
It's no surprise to anyone that when you shoot the ball terribly, you are going to have a hard time winning basketball games. Even with how well Villanova has played defensively this season, you still need to be able to make shots. And more honestly, make shots at a high percentage, not just at a high volume.
In last night's loss to Syracuse, Corey Stokes shot the ball extremely well in his return from injury. While that is great, his back-court mate Fisher was 3-16 from the field. Maalik Wayns was 1-9. Dominic Cheek was 2-9. Excluding Stokes 7-13 outing, the rest of the team shot it just under 27% from the field. That is not going to win ball games.
Let's also keep in mind that Antonio Pena, just a few games ago considered nearly automatic with his jumper, has lowered his season FG% down from 55% to 50% (in just 4 games!). He's slumping as well.
Problem #2 - End of game situations
Ugly topic here, but it's true and it's been hammered home in the comments of all of the recent games. Rutgers was a disaster. Seton Hall was scary. DePaul was like a scene from a horror movie, and Syracuse was just depressing.
Where is the leadership on this team? Other than Corey Fisher carrying the entire program on his shoulders in the DePaul game, we've seriously lacked a noticeable figure taking charge at the end of the games. Did we miss Stokes that badly? Perhaps, because he was doing all he could to keep us in the game last night, but even he couldn't get himself free for a potential game-tying shot.
This team belongs to Fisher and Stokes, with a little bit of Pena tossed in as well. One of them needs to step up and command this team. My heart cannot deal with this end of game BS any longer.
Problem #3 - The rotation
Is it just me or does it seem like our rotation is a mess? Stokes, Pena and Fisher are clearly 30+ minutes a game, and rightfully so. Wayns has seen his minutes dip however, while Cheek is seemingly playing 20 minutes a night and only paying dividends on the defensive end.
James Bell can't seem to get over 10 minutes a game despite playing well, at least in my opinion. And for reasons unknown, Maurice Sutton continues to see minutes (when not suspended) not commanded by foul trouble.
A couple of posters hit the nail on the head this morning. Armwood, Wayns (provided he isn't taking 30-foot jumpers off the bounce) and Bell should be playing more, Sutton and Cheek a little bit less. Now watch this adjustment be made and those 3 shit the bed.
When I look back at this season, I really struggle to find where it all went downhill. It sure as hell feels like the Providence game, where apparently the wind went completely out of our sails. I get this lingering feeling that all this team needs is a big win (I have my eye on that road game with Notre Dame).
If they can get a little swagger back, they just might be okay. But if we stay at the current pace, it's tough to see us making the Sweet 16. We have the talent to do it, it's now time to execute.
What are everyone's elses thoughts on how to fix the problem?