Happy Wednesday Nova Nation! The Villanova Wildcats still have a lot of improving to do, but they’ve certainly turned a corner with Tuesday’s impressive win at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Yes, the team is still relying on stars Eric Paschall and Phil Booth more than they should, but three things stood out to me as signs that this team has taken several steps forward.
First, in a road game the Cats still had five players score in double digits and one of them came off the bench. Second, while the defense still wasn’t great overall, they accomplished their gameplan of shutting down Kamar Baldwin and forcing the rest of the team to beat them. And third, they never let Butler back into the game once they were in control. Sure the Bulldogs had some runs, but it never felt like Villanova wasn’t the ones setting the pace and dictating game flow.
And all of those reasons are why for just the third time ever a Jay Wright team is 6-0 to start Big East play. The previous two times came in the 2010 and 2016 seasons, but in each of those years the Cats had lost only one or two games in non-conference play, not four. Even in the preseason when we were looking at this team with rose colored glasses, 10 of our 11 staff members at VUHoops picked Nova to drop a Big East game by now. Will Schreefer was the only one to have the Cats at 6-0 right now, but he also had them as 40-0 National Champions.
We did say in the preseason that this schedule is back-loaded, and that assessment remains accurate. According to the NET Rankings, Villanova will have only played four games against their Top 5 Big East opponents in the first half of their conference schedule. Only two of those four will have been on the road. In their last nine games, they’ll have six games against the Top 5, and more than half of their final nine games will be on the road.
Bottom line, the Cats have made excellent progress but their real tests will be in February.
In other “news”, Villanova is the real deal, Kentucky still interested in Jeremy Roach, and Bracketology updates. Enjoy!
Villanova beats Butler
No. 18 Villanova pulls away at Butler for 7th straight win | FOX Sports
Eric Paschall scored 23 points, Phil Booth added 15 and No. 18 Villanova made 12 3-pointers to pull away from Butler 80-72 on Tuesday
3 reasons Butler basketball lost to Villanova, 80-72 | Indy Star
Eric Paschall scored 23 points, and Villanova used 12 3-pointers to hold off Butler 80-72 Tuesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Villanova uses three-pointers and defense to defeat Butler | The Inquirer
Villanova used strong defense and 12 three-point baskets to gain its seventh straight win.
Butler men’s basketball: 5 reasons for optimism | The Butler Collegian
Even after a disappointing loss to Villanova there is still hope.
Is Villanova, Maryland, Syracuse basketball for real? | SI.com
Our writers weigh in on whether these 11 teams that seem to be putting things together in 2019 can keep up their recent success.
Kentucky still pushing for Jeremy Roach, who may officially visit in spring | A Sea Of Blue
Calipari is trying to land the top two point guards in 2020.
UK basketball recruiting: Cats have lots of targets for 2020 | Lexington Herald Leader
Seven players from the 2020 class already have scholarship offers from UK, and more than a dozen other basketball recruits from the junior class are already on John Calipari’s radar.
Class of 2019
College basketball 2019 recruiting rankings: Pac-12 surprisingly dominant | Fansided
The Pac-12 might be struggling on the court, but not in recruiting. The updated college basketball recruiting rankings sees 3 Pac-12 teams in the Top 8.
Powerful Ranney School boys’ basketball still getting better | centraljersey.com
You can only hear two sounds when Bryan Antoine dribbles toward the basket –sneakers squeaking and the ball bouncing on the hardwood. Everything else is silent. The fans and coaches
NBA Draft: 2020 prospects, HoopHall Classic and more | SI.com
Although a torrent of snow hampered some teams’ ability to travel and altered this year’s schedule, the HoopHall Classic remains perhaps the best annual high school scouting event, bringing together a host of NBA prospects and their teams for three days of showcase games. For the fourth consecutive year, The Crossover’s Front Office sat courtside to track the major players and storylines going forward. Here’s what we saw.
College Basketball Bracketology 2019: Thrilling Saturday leads to Tuesday top line shakeup | SBNation.com
All four of last week’s No. 1 seeds faced serious, March-like tests this weekend. Only two passed.
College Basketball Bracketology Seed List For Tuesday, January 22, 2019 | Blogging the Bracket
Duke is back on top today, with Tennessee, Virginia, and Michigan State filling out the top line.
Bracketology: NCAA tournament projection as of January 22, 2019 | Inside the Hall
Believe it or not, Selection Sunday is less than eight weeks away, and most teams have close to 20 games under their belt.