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Villanova Basketball extends its Big 5 winning streak

The outcome was expected, the game wasn’t

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Happy Monday Nova Nation! The Wildcats have extended their record Big 5 win streak to 23 games! Ok, it wasn’t too impressive considering La Salle is one of six teams in all of Division One college basketball without a win. My preseason prediction turned out to be (thankfully) wrong as Villanova defeated their Big 5 rival opponent, but this game was A LOT closer than most people expected or wanted it to be.

As he has in the past when the game was close or the team trailed in the second half, Jay Wright leaned on his veteran players and starters. Eric Paschall played all but one minute of the game, while Phil Booth had 37 minutes on the court. Collin Gillespie and Saddiq Bey each logged over 30 minutes, while Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and Joe Cremo played 23 and 24 respectively.

But this was supposed to be a “learning” game for the less experienced guys who haven’t seen a lot of court time this year. Instead, Jermaine Samuels (5), Cole Swider (4), and Jahvon Quinerly (2) barely saw the court. Brandon Slater didn’t even get in, recording his third DNP of the season.

In the postgame press conference, Wright noted that he wants to get guys like Quinerly and Swider more minutes to take some of the pressure off of his senior duo and keep their legs fresh. Statements like that are obvious coach speak, because as the head coach if you wanted to put someone in for more minutes you can. What Wright really means is he needs the rest of the rotation to get to a point where he has the confidence in them that he does in his starters.

Unfortunately, that trust isn’t going to be built until they get on the court. And they’re not going to get on the court until the starters can give them a big enough lead for Wright to test things out. The stretch they went on in the second half against La Salle to take and hold onto the lead was good, but it was too late to get the new guys in. For this team to continue improving, it’s on the starters as much if not more than the guys riding the bench.

Wednesday’s home game with an above average Temple team will be the next opportunity for the young guys to prove themselves. Hopefully they’ll get enough minutes to show Wright and Nova Nation how far they’ve come after the first month of the season.

In other “news”, Michigan and Furman remain undefeated, Hart fits well with LeBron, and FBS College Football’s Playoff is a JOKE. Enjoy!

Villanova Big 5 Wins

Villanova, and especially La Salle, created memorable day at the Palestra | The Inquirer
The Explorers came out fast, trying for their first win of the season, but Jay Wright held off his former assistant coach Ashley Howard in the end.

Paschall, Booth help No. 23 Villanova avoid La Salle upset | USA Today
Eric Paschall scored 27 points, Phil Booth had 19 and No. 23 Villanova held off one more upset in an 85-78 win over La Salle.

Hahn paces Villanova women past Saint Joseph's |
Regardless of which team won, it was going to be a split decision for the Jekot family when Villanova visited Saint Joseph’s in Big 5 women’s basketball action Sunday.

NBA Wildcats

Why Josh Hart is the best fit with LeBron James of young Lakers | 247 Sports
.There is one certainty for the future of the Los Angeles Lakers' roster. LeBron James is going to be on it. And Josh Hart is the best fit to play alongside the perennial All-Star.

Josh Hart says he feels ‘overshadowed’ by rest of young Lakers core | Silver Screen and Roll
Josh Hart doesn’t know where he stands with the Lakers’ young core.

Ryan Arcidiacono Providing A Lot Of Value For Banged-Up Bulls | Forbes
Chicago Bulls point guard Ryan Arcidiacono has gone from a fringe NBA player to a capable fill-in for Kris Dunn.

College Basketball

Michigan Is the Most Perfect Team in College Basketball | The Ringer
The Wolverines have blown out Villanova and North Carolina, boast the no. 1 defense, and have seen each of their players drastically improve since last season. Is it possible they’re the best team in America?

Matt Rafferty gives Furman basketball big reason to expect big things | Greenville News
The Paladins, off to the best start in school history, have seen the fruits of Rafferty’s play on the court and leadership throughout the program.

NCAA Basketball: 8 takeaways from first month of 2018-19 | Busting Brackets
The first month of the NCAA Basketball season is nearly in the books. What are the biggest takeaways from this week’s action?

College Football

UCF AD Danny White: It's not a playoff, it's a Power-5 Invitational | Orlando Sentinel
After his unbeaten UCF team is shut out of the College Football Playoff yet again, athletics director Danny White says it's not a playoff; it's a Power Five Invitational.

JMU falls to Colgate 23-20 in second round of FCS playoffs |
A game-winning, 38-yard field goal sealed the 2018 season for JMU football as the Colgate Raiders came out on top, 23-20. Linked by special request of our dear friend Brian.