Happy Wednesday Nova Nation! It’s a great day to be a Wildcat as Villanova simply dominated an over-matched Army team for their first victory of the season. The whole team looked impressive, but the big breakout performance of the night was Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. The star freshman put up 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Wildcats in both categories. Saddiq Bey was also impressive with 22 points of his own in the 97-54 blowout.
But beyond the brilliant performances and easy win, there are a couple of things to keep in perspective moving forward. Here are three individual takeaways from last night’s game.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl will keep getting better
In his first to college level games against USC and Army, Robinson-Earl is averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds. As good as everyone thought he could be, I don’t think anyone was expecting him to be double-double good right out of the gate. Jay Wright even said he’s done being surprised by how good this kid can be. But even with those lofty numbers, there are still areas for improvement.
The biggest one on display last night was turnovers in the paint. When Robinson-Earl’s number was called, especially in the first half, he was trying to do a little too much on his own when the defense keyed in on him. Instead of passing back out, he’d try to spin through the defense or force his way through a double team, resulting in 5 first half turnovers.
But once again, even the freshman’s flaws are signs of how great he can be. Wright said after the game that he really got on Robinson-Earl at halftime about the turnovers. The rookie didn’t mope or gawk at the criticism, he welcomed the challenge and made a point of correcting it in the second half. Check the box score, he didn’t have another turnover the rest of the game.
Cole Swider is a double edged sword
For those waiting for Swider to show why he was such a highly ranked recruit, you got a good look at what he can do offensively tonight. He had 18 points while shooting 66% from both the field and behind the arc, while adding 6 rebounds and 2 assists. That’s exactly the kind of production Villanova needs from the up and coming sophomore off the bench this season.
However, Army isn’t exactly the toughest of opponents. Even against this level of competition, Swider continues to be challenged on the defensive end. He’s above average on the interior, but when forced to guard out on the perimeter his lateral quickness allows faster players to get around him and opens up opportunities for the opponent. It can also lead to costly fouling, and last night Swider led the Wildcats with 4 fouls.
Swider can certainly be a major factor off the bench, and looks to be Villanova’s primary 6th man until Bryan Antoine returns. But in order to consistently reach the level of offensive production we saw last night, he’ll have to continue improving on the defensive end.
Eric Dixon may be the one who red shirts this season
In order to qualify for a non-medical redshirt, a player can’t see a single second of court time during the season. After Nova’s first game in which every other player including the walk-ons got onto the floor, Eric Dixon is the lone player who still qualifies.
When I asked Wright after the game why Dixon was held out, his response was “I didn’t get a ruling on wheter I’m allowed to say or not, but nothing bad. Just a coach’s decision right now, but nothing bad at all. Just saving him up.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s in line for a red shirt, but it doesn’t rule it out either. Dixon was participating in pregame warmups and was dressed to play. It still could be an injury, rules infraction, or any other number of reasons. But for now, it’s something to keep an eye on given the team’s extensive depth in the front court.
In other “news”, Eric Paschall is the new darling of the NBA, Saddiq Bey is named to the Wooden Award Watch List, and Women’s Soccer prepares for their Big East Semi-Final Game with Xavier. Enjoy!
Villanova Men’s Basketball
Vecenie: 2020 NBA Mock Draft, Version 1.0: College basketball is back, which means NBA Draft season is back | The Athletic
Sam Vecenie's first official Mock is live and it is an in-depth encyclopedia of draft knowledge to introduce this year's NBA Draft class. The mock has three Wildcats leaving for the NBA, with two going in the first round.
Which colleges have the most active NBA players | TalkBasket.net
College basketball is back and some schools historically have sent more players to the NBA over the last decade, such as the "blue bloods" of college basketball including Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina.
2019-2020 Villanova Season Preview | Big East Coast Bias
The Wildcats are back in town.
Ten impact freshmen to watch as college basketball season begins | 247 Sports
This isn't a list of the 10 highest-ranked freshmen in college basketball, but it's who we think are going to impact the game the earliest.
Potential Freshman Standouts in College Basketball This Season | Basketball Society
College basketball loves its diaper dandies and here are some potential freshman standouts whose names you might hear a lot of this season.
Bey Named to Wooden Award Watch List | Villanova University Athletics
Saddiq Bey is on the Wooden Award Preseason Watch List
Villanova Defeats Army
No. 10 Villanova defeats Army, 97-54, in an uneven season opener | Philadelphia Inquirer
The Wildcats played great basketball in the opening 14 minutes, taking a 31-point lead, and won going away with a strong final 10 minutes.
Robinson-Earl spurs No. 10 Villanova past Army in opener | College Basketball | nwitimes.com
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Jeremiah Robinson-Earl became one of the handful of Villanova freshmen to start an opener in 19 seasons under Jay Wright.
No. 10 Villanova gets off to quick start in win over Army | Reuters
Freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 24 points and 13 rebounds to lift No. 10 Villanova past Army 97-54 in the season opener for both schools on Tuesday.
Robinson-Earl Spurs No. 10 Villanova Past Army in Opener | The New York Times
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl became one of the handful of Villanova freshmen to start an opener in 19 seasons under Jay Wright.
Robinson-Earl spurs No. 10 Villanova past Army in opener | HoustonChronicle.com
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl became one of the handful of Villanova freshmen to start an opener in 19 seasons under Jay Wright. Inexperienced? Perhaps. Sensational? Absolutely.
Newcomers Help Lead Wildcats Past Army 97-54 | Villanova University Athletics
Villanova used an early burst to pull away from Army Tuesday night in its season opener.
Big East basketball preview: This could be a wild season | New York Post
First, several stars — Myles Powell, Markus Howard and Naji Marshall — returned. Then, the Big East welcomed back a former marquee member (UConn).
Big East Breakdown: Departures, arrivals, bottom lines | The Butler Collegian
With college basketball season getting underway this week, it’s time to get an idea of the state of Butler’s conference, the Big East.
Powell scores 27, leads No. 12 Seton Hall past Wagner 105-71 | NBC Sports
Myles Powell had a solid opening game to pace No. 12 Seton Hall.
Men's Big East Preview | The Georgetown Voice
Since 2013-14, Villanova has finished first in the conference every season but 2017-18, when they won both the Big East and NCAA Tournaments.
Billy Lange wins St. Joseph’s coaching debut, 86-81 over Bradley | Philadelphia Inquirer
Much of the crowd at Hagan Arena chanted Lange’s name after the final buzzer, saluting the coach who replaced Phil Martelli last spring.
Nate Pierre-Louis leads Temple to sloppy opening-night win over Drexel | Philadelphia Inquirer
Temple wins its first game under new basketball coach Aaron McKie.
Penn men's basketball knocks off Alabama, 81-80, behind Dingle's game-winner | The Daily Pennsylvanian
In a fast-paced, back-and-forth contest on Tuesday night, Penn men’s basketball opened the season with an 81-80 victory against Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Villanova Wildcats: Eric Paschall gifts Golden State a birthday win | Section 215
On his 23rd birthday, ex-Villanova Wildcats forward Eric Paschall dropped 34-points on Portland for the Golden State Warriors' first win at Chase Center.
Why Warriors rookie Eric Paschall wanted big game against Hornets | NBCS Bay Area
With the No. 12 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Charlotte selected PJ Washington ...
Warriors: Eric Paschall is new breakout rookie after beating Blazers | For The Win
The rookie out of Villanova had a huge night against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Warriors super rookie Eric Paschall: 5 things you should know | Mercury News
Jay Wright, Eric Paschall's college coach at Villanova said, "He’s got the ability to score and he’s willing to do all the other things."
10 things you probably didn't know about Warriors rookie Eric Paschall | Laredo Morning Times
Taken 41st overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, Paschall scored 25 points against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday and 34 points against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.
Why Chris Mullin feels good about time he coached against Eric Paschall| Yahoo! Sports
You can bet Chris Mullin enjoyed watching Eric Paschall dominate for his former squad, rather than against it.
Thompson: The days of overlooking Warriors rookie Eric Paschall are done | The Athletic
After going for 34 points and 13 rebounds on his 23rd birthday, Paschall has put himself on the Rookie of Year radar.
The Golden State Warriors Have Found A Player In Eric Paschall | Forbes
The Warriors will spend this season looking for players who can be part of their next great team. In Eric Paschall, they have already found one.
Milwaukee Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo earning more playing time | Dairyland Express
Donte DiVincenzo has played quite well off the Milwaukee Bucks' bench these last three games and is making a strong case for more playing time.
Long Island Nets waive Joe Cremo, Ismael Sanogo, finalize opening day roster | NetsDaily
The Long Island Nets have finalized their 12-man opening day roster, waiving guard Joe Cremo and forward Ismael Sanogo. Both are former Big East players, Cremo at Villanova, Sanogo at Seton Hall.
Villanova Women’s Basketball
Women's basketball: 2019-20 Big East preview: DePaul still on top | High-Post Hoops
DePaul named the overwhelming favorite to win the BIG EAST Conference in 2019-20. The upcoming season will be the last before the return of UConn.
Women's Basketball Opens the Season Wednesday Night vs. George Washington | Villanova University Athletics
Villanova will open the 2019-20 season on Wednesday, Nov. 6, with a home date versus the George Washington Colonials. The Wildcats were picked to finish in a fifth
FCS Playoffs 'Til I Die: Finally, Things Start To Come Into Focus | The College Sports Journal
There are three more football weekends to go before FCS Playoff Selection Sunday, where FCS Nation hopes ESPN pronounces all the schools' names correctly and don't forget to specify who is home, and who is away in the first round.
2019 NCAA DI Men’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll – Week 6 | USTFCCCA
Villanova jumps into the rankings at #24
2019 NCAA DI Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll – Week 6 | USTFCCCA
Villanova comes in at #28 after not receiving any votes last week.
Routledge named BIG EAST Female Athlete of the Week | Villanova University Athletics
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Villanova's women's swimming and diving team earned its first win of the season against Georgetown, but the accolades did not end when the meet
Women's Soccer Gets Ready to Face Xavier on Thursday in BIG EAST Semifinals | Villanova University Athletics
Villanova, Pa.- For the first time in 15 years the Villanova Wildcats are heading to the BIG EAST Tournament Semifinals. The Wildcats are the #4 seed in the 2019
Wildcats to Visit Seton Hall Wednesday | Villanova University Athletics
Villanova faces Seton Hall Wednesday night.
Decker Named to BIG EAST Honor Roll After Milestone Weekend | Villanova University Athletics
New York - Senior setter Emma Decker was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll after her performance in the pair of wins over Georgetown.
Staff Poll: National champion, player and coach of the year, biggest surprises and more | The Athletic
Our team at The Athletic College Basketball makes their predictions for the 2019-20 season.
Jay Bilas 1-68 college basketball rankings for 2019-20 preseason | ESPN
With the season tipping off Tuesday, Jay Bilas is back with his first rankings of the 2019-20 college basketball campaign. As always, you're welcome.
College basketball’s preseason NCAA tournament bracket would look like this | SBNation.com
But don’t put too much money on November’s No. 1 seeds making it all the way to Atlanta.
All 353 Division I basketball teams as quotes from Moby Dick | Mid-Major Madness
This title is not a joke.