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Villanova Basketball needs a breakout game against Marquette

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Someone needs to take their game to the next level to shake Nova’s slump

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Happy Game Day Nova Nation! There’s nothing like your biggest opponent coming to town with a conference title essentially on the line to help a team bust out of a slump. While Nova would still need to win out and have Marquette drop another game to even earn a share of the Big East Regular Season Championship, a loss tonight would all but hand Marquette the title. At that point, Marquette would just need to win one of their remaining three games or have Villanova drop one of their last two in order to clinch their first outright Big East Championship.

In order to avoid that, Villanova needs a big win in front of their on campus crowd at the Finn tonight. Despite their wins not always being pretty, Villanova has actually won their last nine home games, including six games on campus, since the unexpected back to back losses to Michigan and Furman in mid-November. If Nova is going to bust this losing streak, home sweet home seems to be the place to do it.

Then it just comes down to who is going to step up to help this team win what may be it’s biggest game of the season to this point. The obvious candidates are the seniors who have struggled during this four game skid. Eric Paschall could be in store for a big game after his scoring dropped nearly 5 points in Villanova’s four losses. Phil Booth could kick his 3pt slump after shooting just 6 for 32 (18.75%) from deep in those same four losses. While I do think we can expect solid outings from Nova’s leaders, my gut is telling me the star performance will come from one of the role players.

For me, that group breaks into five tiers. First you have the “Likely Candidates” of Collin Gillespie and Saddiq Bey. Gillespie has been in his own shooting slump lately, but we’ve seen what he’s capable of when he dropped 30 on Georgetown earlier this month. Saddiq Bey has also proven to be more than capable of stuffing the stat sheet in conference play, including leading the team in 3FG% at 40.6%.

The next group is the “Been There Before” duo of Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and Jermaine Samuels. Cosby-Roundtree proved early this season that when he’s aggressive without fouling, he’s capable of being a double-double machine. Unfortunately we haven’t seen that side of him consistently since a leg injury following his MVP performance at the AdvoCare Invitational. Jermaine Samuels has also come up big for Villanova in the clutch this season. However he’s recently seemed overly hesitant to even be involved in the offense, let alone attempt a shot that isn’t a put-back dunk. He needs to bring the same intensity he shows on defense to every aspect of his game if he’s going to be the slump breaking star tonight.

Then there would be the “Finally!” group of Joe Cremo and Jahvon Quinerly, who Nova fans have been waiting to have a true breakout games all season. They’ve actually both had a few promising first halves before getting inexplicably benched for most of the second. Hopefully if Cremo catches fire from deep or Quinerly gets the opportunity to run early on, Wright won’t leave them smoldering on the sidelines.

Last we have the “Longshot” candidates of Brandon Slater and Cole Swider. Slater’s by far the best candidate of this crew, but his role is likely still too small to make enough of an impact. I don’t even know if Swider is playing tonight, and I haven’t heard anything to indicate he’s back yet. But clearly coming off an injury (or still being injured) would make things difficult.

And then there’s my “Ride off into the sunset” candidate, Tim Delaney. It’s been announced that Delaney will be honored as a part of “Senior Night” in tonight’s final game of the season on campus. His inclusion is a pretty strong indicator that he’ll forego his final year of eligibility and graduate in four years. While he still could come back for a final season, it would be like something out of a movie if after all he’s been through he played a meaningful role in a Villanova victory. It’s the longest of long shots, and something would probably have to have gone pretty wrong, but that would be something magical.

And so with all that lead up, I leave you with today’s Game Day Poll Question:

Poll

Who will have Villanova’s "slump breaking" performance tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Saddiq Bey
    (70 votes)
  • 21%
    Phil Booth
    (107 votes)
  • 1%
    Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree
    (7 votes)
  • 6%
    Joe Cremo
    (30 votes)
  • 2%
    Tim Delaney
    (14 votes)
  • 23%
    Collin Gillespie
    (117 votes)
  • 8%
    Eric Paschall
    (43 votes)
  • 7%
    Jahvon Quinerly
    (39 votes)
  • 10%
    Jermaine Samuels
    (54 votes)
  • 1%
    Brandon Slater
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    Cole Swider
    (8 votes)
496 votes total Vote Now

In other news, Nova’s one of the Top 5 teams of the decade, Mikal Bridges is heating up with the Suns, and Kyle Lowry talks Villanova - Georgetown with Allen Iverson. Enjoy!

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