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Villanova Basketball’s freshman class has been impressive

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The young guys have really stepped up for the Wildcats.

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Happy Friday Nova Nation! The Villanova Wildcats take on Georgetown tomorrow, and a big part of Nova’s gameplan will be utilizing the skills of their talented freshman class. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Justin Moore, and Bryan Antoine are all contributing in ways we didn’t expect they would back in October, and for today’s Game Day poll we’re going to take a look at how they’ve all been contributing.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has been fantastic for Villanova this season, as many thought he would be. He’s been terrific on the offensive end, and his rebounding (9.6 PPG) is on pace to destroy Omari Spellman’s record for a freshman. But the part of his game that I wasn’t expecting earlier this year has been his defense. An area I thought the freshman would struggle was bodying up against much bigger true centers when we played teams like Kansas or Big East teams. Instead, he’s put on a clinic of how to body up his man on defense without fouling. Sure there have been a few freshman mistakes here and there, but overall he’s been fantastic on the defensive end and he’s been Villanova’s anchor in the paint.

Justin Moore has easily been the biggest surprise of the season. After being moved to the 6th man role, he’s been truly fantastic as a scorer and is improving every game on defense. He’s won four Big East Freshman of the Week honors so far this year and he’s third in scoring behind only Collin Gillespie and Saddiq Bey. What may be most exciting about Moore is how much room he still has to improve. He still hunts for his own shot a little too much, and he’ll still find himself out of position on defense from time to time, but it’s all very fixable stuff. As great as he’s been this season, he’s poised to be even better next year.

Then we have Bryan Antoine. The rookie was back down to just two minutes in Tuesday’s win over Creighton after playing 20 against Marquette. It’s clear that Antoine is playing on pure energy and talent, both of which he may lead the team in. But he’s still making up for lost time when it comes to knowing the offensive and defensive systems. That said, he’s way ahead of where the initial estimates had him. When we first found out about his surgery, the prognosis was that he wouldn’t even return to games until January. But instead, Antoine has been beating those projections and continues to show improvement when he gets into the public eye. Beating those projections is what’s given the fan base hope that he can still become a regular part of the rotation by March, but either way his work ethic and effort are clearly in line with everything we expected from the 5-Star recruit.

And just to round out the class, we have Eric Dixon and Chris Arcidiacono. You haven’t heard much from these to this season because they’re simply not playing. Eric Dixon is on schedule to take a red shirt for the season, and the younger Arcidiacono hasn’t seen the court since November 21st. From everything we’ve heard, these two are hard workers and making great progress in practice. At this point they won’t be a part of the normal rotation, but we should expect them to be solid players for Nova in the future.

That leads me to our Game Day poll for tomorrow’s game, which freshman will have the greatest impact on tomorrow’s rivalry game against Georgetown?

Poll

Which Villanova freshman will have the greatest impact on Saturday’s game against Georgetown?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
    (404 votes)
  • 36%
    Justin Moore
    (262 votes)
  • 7%
    Bryan Antoine
    (51 votes)
717 votes total Vote Now

In other “news”, Cole Swider could be the key “X-factor” for Villanova, updates from the recruiting trail, and the Wildcats are keeping pace with the other teams at the top of the Big East. Enjoy!

Villanova Men’s Basketball

College basketball: Eight X-factor players in 2019-20 | Sports Illustrated
Maryland's Aaron Wiggins, Ohio State's Kyle Young, Texas Tech's Terrence Shannon and more players who are critical to their team's 2019-20 season.

Villanova’s Saddiq Bey one of 25 players on Wooden Award midseason watch list | The Inquirer
The sophomore forward is second on the Wildcats in scoring, rebounding and assists.

Recruiting

2020 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions: This year's best players | Springfield News Leader
Villanova recruit Trevor Keels will be putting his skills on display.

Big East

Big East Basketball Power Rankings: Providence, SJU trending oppositely | Busting Brackets
Big East basketball features three undefeated teams in conference play and all of them belong in the upper half of the rankings. Where does each team stand?

This Big East, by one metric, is the biggest beast the league has ever been | Sporting News
The Big East in 2019-20 isn't the most talented or top-heavy it has ever been, but that's exactly what makes it stand out this season as an entirely different beast.

NBA Wildcats

Joe Cremo Finding Success in the NBA G League | ESPN Radio
The Scotia, UAlbany and Villanova grad's signature ingredient of hard work is paying off as he is making an indelible mark with the Long Island Nets.

Kyle Lowry delivers textbook 'Hockey Guy' interview | Yahoo! Sports
Lowry got a little weird with his post-game scrum following the Raptors' win over the Hornets on Wednesday.

Golden State Warriors: Eric Paschall has cooled down tremendously
The Golden State Warriors' second-round pick Eric Paschall has had a huge impact on this team, but since his hot start, he's cooled down tremendously.

Villanova Women’s Basketball

Women’s Basketball to Host Butler for Education Day | Villanova University Athletics
The Wildcats return home on Friday, Jan. 10, to host the Butler Bulldogs in a Big East contest. Villanova enters play with an 8-6 overall record and a 3-1 Big East

Women’s City Six Notebook: Drexel’s 15-point comeback highlights an eventful week | The Inquirer
Bailey Greenberg's clutch performance led the Dragons to a comeback victory and Marissa Mackins' three-point barrage led Temple to an unbeaten week.

Villanova Athletics

NCAA Lacrosse Preview: No. 17 Villanova (Men) | US Lacrosse Magazine
There’s a strong case that Villanova Stadium will be the spot to watch college lacrosse in February.

Villanova Picked Sixth in MAAC Preseason Poll | Villanova University Athletics
EDISON, NJ (Jan. 9, 2020) – The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) has announced Wagner College as the 2020 MAAC Water Polo preseason favorite, as voted on

College Basketball

As Penn State scales new heights, the next summit is getting to the NCAA Tournament | The Athletic
The Nittany Lions are looking to get to the Big Dance for the first time since 2011.

Men's College Basketball National Player of the Year Midseason Rankings | Bleacher Report
It has been said repeatedly for the past two months that there are no elite favorites in men's college basketball this year, and the same can be said when trying to make sense of the national player of the year race...

Twenty names to watch for when the college basketball coaching carousel begins to turn | The Athletic
A look at which coaches are on the hot seat and which coaches will have opportunities for new jobs.

College basketball power rankings: Duke takes the top spot away from Gonzaga and Baylor leapfrogs Butler | CBSSports.com
Things are getting noisier by the week in college hoops, which is just the way we like it