Happy Game Day Nova Nation! It’s finally here, the first day of the NCAA Tournament. And for the third consecutive season, the Wildcats will be in action on the first day of the tournament. No more waiting. No more wondering. It’s time to play basketball.
The rotation is set, and at this point everyone knows what their role is. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you should expect each of Nova’s players to do today:
The Leaders: Phil Booth and Eric Paschall
Booth and Paschall have become similar to Jalen Brunson and Ryan Arcidiacono in that they’re an extension of Jay Wright on the court. He’s said multiple times that he’s needed to trust them implicitly, and they’ve almost become another pair of assistant coaches to the young guys. In game, they’ll run the majority of the offense. That doesn’t have to mean that they’ll shoulder the scoring load, but they will be the guys making decisions and being playmakers for themselves and their teammates.
The Glue Guys: Saddiq Bey and Dhamir Cosby Roundtree
The key to this team winning will be consistency. That’s hard to find outside of the seniors, but two players have at least shown that part of their game can be relied on. Dhamir Cosby Roundtree may still have the mental error here and there, but no one can question his rebounding ability. He’s having the greatest offensive rebounding season on the main line in nearly 15 years, and those second chance opportunities can help break a game wide open.
Saddiq Bey’s consistency is in his development. He started as an aggressive rebounder and has now become just as reliable on the offensive side of the ball. Wright trusts him to guard some of the other team’s best players, and he’s the team’s most consistent three-point shooter. He’ll still make the rookie mistake here and there, but this dude is solid when Nova needs him most.
The X-Factors: Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels
Gillespie is also a leader on this team, mostly due to the fact that he’ll out-hustle anyone on the court. But as the season has gone on we’ve seen his outside shooting get streakier and streakier. When he’s on, he’s deadly from outside and that opens up his ability to drive to the basket. On those nights we’ve seen him clear 20+ points no problem. When he’s not connecting from deep, he finishes with under 10 points despite being Nova’s 3rd leading scorer.
Jermaine Samuels has come through with some clutch shooting for Villanova as well. We’ve seen him hit game winning shots against Temple and Seton Hall, and he put the entire team on his back to beat Marquette at home. But those efforts seem to be game plan specific, and while his confidence has grown immensely down the stretch, we still don’t know when he’ll pop off for a big game. Here’s hoping he’s still got a few of them in him for the big dance!
The Gravy On Top: Joe Cremo and Cole Swider
Cremo and Swider aren’t going to see nearly the same minutes as those other six players, but they’ll still be a part of the rotation. For these guys it’s more about playing solid defense and spacing the floor than anything else, but they’ve both shown they can add a few bonus plays to help the team out. Whether it be Cremo’s excellent assists or Swiders occasional three, both of which we saw in the Big East Tournament, anything above and beyond playing solid defense is a huge bonus.
The Bench: Jahvon Quinerly, Brandon Slater, Tim Delaney
It’s unlikely we’ll see these guys in the NCAA Tournament unless the game’s already been decided. That said, you never know when your opportunity is going to come. An ejection, foul trouble, or heaven forbid an injury could require one of these guys to step up. The freshmen are more than capable of having an impact, and Delaney knows Villanova Basketball better than almost anyone on the team. If Nova does find itself needing someone to step up, I like our chances with these guys.
And that brings us to our game day poll question:
Which pair will need to play better than usual for Villanova to beat St. Mary’s?
This poll is closed
The Leaders: Booth and Paschall
The Glue Guys: Bey and DCR
The X-Factors: Gillespie and Samuels
The Gravy Guys: Cremo and Swider
The Bench: Quinerly, Slater, and Delaney
In other “news”, Wright reflects on a sad day in Philly Basketball, Phil Booth and Eric Paschall are ready for one last ride, and Gritty likes Nova to make the Elite 8. Enjoy!
Villanova vs St. Mary’s
Villanova vs. Saint Mary's Betting Guide: Reigning Champs Will Be Tested Early in NCAA Tournament | The Action Network
Stuckey breaks down the 2019 NCAA tournament matchup between Villanova and Saint Mary's and gives his reasoning for the side and total he bet.
2019 NCAA Tournament: Villanova vs. Saint Mary’s preview | The Inquirer
Comparing the Wildcats and Gaels, who will meet Thursday night in Hartford, Conn., in the first round of the NCAA South Region.
NCAA Tournament: Villanova’s young players take on another challenge against St. Mary’s | The Inquirer
The Wildcats received significant contributions from their underclassmen in winning their third straight Big East title. Now the young players will be asked to step up once again in their title defense.
Villanova Basketball: Keys to Round of 64 matchup with Saint Mary's | Busting Brackets
Villanova Basketball received a six seed in the NCAA tournament, and their first round matchup will be with 11 seed Saint Mary's from the WCC.
NCAA Tournament: New Zealand mass shootings hit home for Saint Mary’s player | The Inquirer
Freshman guard Quinn Clinton is from Christchurch, New Zealand, scene of last Friday's mass shooting in two mosques that left 50 people dead.
St. Mary's gears up for March Madness game vs. Villanova | KXAN
After a couple of early games, March Madness has begun.
NCAA Tournament: Scouting Thursday's first-round games | greensboro.com
The odds for every team on the NCAA Tournament's first day of action.
Villanova and its two seniors are flying under the radar | New York Post
Phil Booth and Eric Paschall have been moonlighting. They are senior starters on Villanova’s basketball team, but they have also spent a good...
2018/2019 in Villanova Men's Basketball |The Villanovan
The 2018-2019 season saw Villanova notch a 25-9 record on its way to winning both Big East regular season and tournament titles. Phil Booth and Eric Paschall were both named
Defending champ Villanova enters NCAAs from different angle | Newsday
Villanova is coming into the NCAA Tournament this year from an unfamiliar angle.The defending national champions bring the cache that comes with two NCAA titles in the last three seasons, alo
Gritty skips over Nova, says Duke will win NCAA tournament | 6abc.com
Philadelphia Flyers mascot, Gritty, selected his team to win the NCAA men's basketball tournament, and it isn't the hometown team, Villanova.
Former UAlbany teammates fulfilling their NCAA dreams | Times Union
They waited nearly four years and had to relinquish the comfort of being big fish in a smaller pond to get here, but Joe Cremo and David Nichols checked off perhaps the biggest box on their list of college basketball goals.
Championship Experience at Villanova Helped Prepare Bridges for NBA | Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns’ forward Mikal Bridges had quite the storied career in his three years at Villanova and is now using his college experience to assist him at the next level.
St. John's proves doubters right: They didn't belong in NCAA Tournament | New York Post
So the skeptics were spot-on. The doubters had their day.
Big East Basketball: 5 biggest questions entering 2019 NCAA Tournament | Busting Brackets
Even with just four teams in the Big Dance, Big East Basketball should still make an impact in the NCAA Tournament. What are the top questions to ask?
Marshall's 20-20 leads Xavier past Toledo 78-64 in NIT | WKRC
CINCINNATI (AP/WKRC) - Naji Marshall had 20 points and 21 rebounds as Xavier beat Toledo 78-64 in the NIT first round on Wednesday night. Tyrique Jones had 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks for Xavier (19-15).
Wright reflects on a “sad day” in the Big 5 | The Inquirer
The Villanova coach heard from a radio producer about Tuesday's firing of St. Joseph's Phil Martelli, and later in the day watched Temple's Fran Dunphy coach his last game. "It was emotional," he said.
Phil Martelli on St. Joseph’s firing: ‘I strove to be a partner’ for all school stood for | The Inquirer
Martelli issued his own statement one day after being fired by St. Joe's.
Phil Martelli says he wants to coach again after St. Joe’s firing: ‘I won’t let it scar me’ | The Inquirer
“I want, and in a way need, to be on a sideline. Not to justify my career at St. Joseph’s. To have an impact, on players, on a campus, on a student body.”
The City Got Too Big For Fran Dunphy And Phil Martelli | Deadspin
There was something appropriate about Fran Dunphy and Phil Martelli exiting the scene on the same day.
10 Candidates to Replace Phil Martelli at Saint Joseph's | HERO Sports
LeVelle Moton, Ryan Odom and other potential candidates to replace Phil Martelli at Saint Joseph's.
Dunphy ‘at peace’ after coaching final Temple men’s basketball game | The Temple News
Coach Fran Dunphy’s 13-year tenure with the Owls ended with an 81-70 loss to Belmont University in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio.
Myrtle Beach Invitational
Memphis basketball defers Myrtle Beach Invitational games until 2020 | Commercial Appeal
The Tigers will not play in the Myrtle Beach Invitational this November, opening up several games.
Four 2019 Myrtle Beach Invitational schools in Postseason | Myrtle Beach Invitational
Led by reigning national champion Villanova, four of the eight schools participating in the 2019 Myrtle Beach Invitational will be competing in postseason tournaments this season, including the NCAA men’s tournament and the College Basketball Invitational.
NCAA Tournament ready to rock the XL Center | Connecticut Post
The NCAA Tournament is back in Hartford for the first time in 21 years and the aging XL Center is hosting the defending national champion Villanova, along with two of the best players in the country.
NCAA trip to Hartford brings back memories of old Big East days | The Day
During his last visit here a couple of years ago, Vermont coach John Becker took his daughter to see an Eagles concert at the XL Center.
Big Dance Brings Economic Boost to Downtown Hartford | NBC Connecticut
The return of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament to Connecticut following a 21-year hiatus means a boost to business in downtown Hartford.
The 10 Wildest Buzzer-Beaters in NCAA Men's Tournament History | Bleacher Report
One of the first things we think about when the NCAA men's basketball tournament comes up is the wild buzzer-beaters that have gone down in tournament lore...
NCAA Tournament bracket 2019: The best team on each of the No. 1-16 seed lines | CBSSports.com
A twist on bracket breakdowns: we give the team to keep an eye on for every single seed line
March Madness costs companies cash | WCAX
As March Madness heats up, many employees across the nation are jumping into office pools at work. That could cost employers a lot of money but it may also come with a surprising benefit.