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:
Who will have Villanova’s "slump breaking" performance tonight?
This poll is closed
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!
Villanova vs Marquette
#10 Marquette Basketball Preview: at Villanova Wildcats | Anonymous Eagle
The Golden Eagles can claim a Big East regular season championship if they win what was already regarded as the hardest league road game of the year.
Marquette's Theo John plays a fearsome 'character' on court | Journal Sentinel
Marquette center Theo John is different from the intimidating player he is on the court.
Big East Basketball Schedule: Week 17 | Anonymous Eagle
It’s a big week for the Big East, as the regular season championship may be decided.
Wednesday's College Basketball Betting Previews: Marquette-Villanova, Missouri State-Illinois State | The Action Network
College basketball betting expert Eli Hershkovich breaks down Wednesday's Marquette-Villanova and Missouri State-Illinois State matchups with picks.
Marquette at Villanova: 2018-19 college basketball preview, TV schedule | Busting Brackets
Marquette seeks to sweep its regular-season series with Villanova when the Golden Eagles travel to the Wildcats on Wednesday evening.
Villanova starting to run out of time | Bucks County Courier Times
Having lost four of their last five, the Wildcats have to three more regular-season games to figure it out prior to the Big East Tournament.
Villanova’s recent skid drops its likely NCAA Tournament seed | The Inquirer
The Wildcats were as high as a No. 4 seed earlier this month when they were riding an 11-game winning streak. But their slump has dropped them to No. 7, as updated by ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi.
Villanova’s Phil Booth is up to the task in increased offensive role | The Inquirer
Booth is averaging a team-leading 18.4 points for the Wildcats, who will have a key Big East game Wednesday night against Marquette.
Villanova’s weaknesses there all along, and an all-freshman team | Philly.com
And what were those bobbleheads Drexel gave away this weekend?
The Weather is Too Cold for the Fans to be Fair-Weather | villanovan.com
One of the most intriguing storylines surrounding Villanova Athletics and mainly the men’s and women’s basketball teams going into the 2018-19 season was the opening of the newly renovated Finneran
Look out for these second-round Giant Killer candidates | ESPN+
These teams are likely to be seeded as second-round underdogs, but they are dangerous.
Top 10 college basketball programs since 2010: Kentucky or Duke at No. 1? | Sporting News
Who has the best college basketball program this decade?
Women's Basketball Splits Weekend Set | Sports | villanovan.com
This past weekend, Villanova’s women’s basketball team played its final two home games of the season in the Finneran Pavilion.
NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Zion Williamson to go No. 1, R.J. Barrett No. 4 | Yahoo! Sports
The only mock draft that you need to read today. Eric Paschall is still a mid-first rounder.
Mikal Bridges is rapidly improving his playmaking ability | Bright Side Of The Sun
Bridges’ elite defense continues to hold up, but his playmaking is quickly improving too.
AUDIO: Knuckleheads Podcast: Allen Iverson, Kyle Lowry & Gary Payton | ART19
Knuckleheads with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles comes to you live from NBA All-Star weekend where Quentin and Darius recorded the show in front of an audience at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. The episode itself is full of Hall of Fame perspectives as Allen Iverson sits down with Kyle Lowry and get right into stories from their college days, specifically touching on the rivalry between Villanova and Georgetown. Kyle also explains his decision to play at a school near home, while Allen talks about the promise that Hoyas coach John Thompson’s made to his mother.
Tracking the conference races: Breaking down each league's contenders as the regular season winds down | CBSSports.com
A reset of every conference race in college basketball and how the major conferences might shake out
Early Predictions for the Champions of Every 2019 CBB Conference Tournament | Bleacher Report
Every year, at least a few deserving teams wind up on the wrong side of the bubble when the NCAA tournament bracket is revealed. There's only one sure way to avoid that disappointment: win your conference tournament...
Bubbles and Brackets
The complete March Madness field of 68 predicted in the last days before March | NCAA.com
In the last week before March arrives, we have our latest prediction for the March Madness field, thanks to NCAA.com basketball expert Andy Katz.
College Basketball Bracketology Seed List For Tuesday, February 26, 2019 | Blogging the Bracket
Today’s list is largely unchanged from Monday’s, though Florida State jumped back into the top 16 following a rather unimpressive win over Notre Dame and K-State dropped out after falling at Kansas.
Bracketology Bubble Watch: Ohio State, Syracuse and Alabama all have games with high stakes Tuesday | CBSSports.com
Here's all the bubble teams in action Tuesday and what the stakes are for each team.