Happy Wednesday Nova Nation! As this gets posted, I’m sitting in the Philadelphia Airport listening to podcasts and waiting to board my flight to South Carolina. The Wildcats are already down in the “Redneck Riviera” that is Myrtle Beach, getting ready for their first game of the Myrtle Beach Invitational Tournament against Middle Tennessee.
While I’ll be down there, I won’t be covering the event for VUHoops.com. That’s right, for the first time ever I’m going to get to enjoy one of these November tournaments as a fan! So since we’re going to be apart for a few days I thought I’d do our Game Day poll a little early and talk about who could walk away as the MVP of the tournament for the Wildcats.
The two players everyone Villanova faces will be keying on are Saddiq Bey and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Both players are averaging a team high 14.3 points per game and are the clear 1A and 1B options on offense. Bey has been on fire early this season, shooting over 53% from the field and 50% from behind the arc. Meanwhile, Robinson-Earl is averaging a double-double as he continues to live up to all of the preseason hype. If you like to bet on the favorites, these are your two horses in the race.
It’s not always the favorites that have won the MVP for Villanova, as these tournaments have often been times when former role players step up and shine. For example, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree in 2018, Jalen Brunson in 2015, and Dylan Ennis in 2014. This year there are three candidates for the “value bet”, all of which are starters.
Collin Gillespie is an obvious choice as the player who initiates the offense and will have the ball in his hands most of the time. We’ve seen Gillespie go off before, so a stretch of big games wouldn’t be surprising. Another guy who’s no stranger to big games is Jermaine Samuels. This year he’s been less present in the scoring column, but putting up big numbers in assists and rebounds. His all-around game means that he’s the kind of player that could go off any night. And of course there’s one of the stars of Villanova’s most recent win, Justin Moore. Moore had a career high 18 points and looks to be getting more aggressive on offense. It also doesn’t hurt that he was my pick to win the tournament MVP earlier this season.
Cole Swider has been an offensive machine so far this season with a team high 68.8% effective field goal percentage. If you’re not familiar with the advanced metric, it means he’s been very good shooting from both inside and outside the arc. He’s currently 3rd on the team in scoring despite coming off the bench and seeing just the 6th most minutes. Don’t be surprised if he can put together a run and get some extra court time as Villanova looks to balance minutes while playing three games in four days.
And if you’re looking for the longest of long shots, it’s Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree. Yes his minutes and production are way down from this time last year. But this time last year is when he stepped up his game and won tournament MVP. It’s highly doubtful he can repeat, but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility should game flow dictate his minutes and usage.
So after that rundown I leave it to you Nova Nation, who will be Villanova’s Tournament MVP?
Who will be Villanova’s MVP at the Myrtle Beach Invitational?
This poll is closed
In other “news”, Villanova Cross Country is raking in the awards, Ryan Arcidiacono’s role with the Bulls is increasing, and the Big East heads into a number of early season tournaments. Enjoy!
Myrtle Beach Invitational
Middle Tenn., Nova meet in Conway | nwitimes.com
Villanova (2-1) vs. Middle Tennessee (3-1)
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Villanova Cross Country
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