Happy Wednesday Nova Nation! A win’s a win... but ooof. Needing overtime to beat a last place team at home isn’t exactly something to get overly excited about, but then again that’s what the Big East is this year. Every win counts.
I was fortunate enough to be at the game last night, and here are some observations I had as Villanova took down the Blue Demons:
Winning with Defense... and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
For the fifth time in six games, the Wildcats have held their opponent to under 70 points in regulation. DePaul needed OT to get up to 75, and the lone exception in that stretch was Marquette who put up 71. It’s been Villanova’s defense that has been winning them games over that stretch, and once again I have to shout out freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl as being a big reason why the defense has been keeping Nova in games.
Villanova’s rookie stood up to DePaul’s star big man Paul Reed, holding him to just six points in the first half and scoreless in overtime. While Reed did have a big second half, a lot of those points came in transition or with Robinson-Earl on the bench. I simply can’t praise the freshman enough for playing tough physical defense without fouling, as well as altering the shots of anyone that drives the paint. And that’s before we even get to the rebounding.
Robinson-Earl is on pace to simply destroy Villanova’s freshman rebounding record. It used to belong to Ed Pinckney (who was in the house last night), before 2018 when Omari Spellman set the freshman records for rebounds in a season (321) and rebounds per game (8.0). Right now Robinson-Earl is on pace to break the season record by the end of the Big East Tournament, and is averaging 9.7 rebounds per game after recording his fifth double-double of the season last night. While it’s unlikely that Robinson-Earl would stay at Villanova for four years, if you took his current average and projected it out over four 35 game seasons he would be the Wildcats new All-Time Leader in rebounds. That’s how good he’s been on the boards, and on defense.
Charlie Moore’s Antics
There’s no doubting that DePaul’s Charlie Moore is a talented player. Last night he came up with a number of big shots, finishing with a game high 29 points. The transfer from Kansas was the driving force for DePaul’s surge in non-conference play, and he’s the one responsible for keeping the Blue Demons close in a number of their Big East losses.
But last night he did something that I’ve never seen a player do before. Throughout the second half and overtime when Gillespie was going to the line to take free throws Moore was loudly talking, even at one point yelling, during the shot. It’s one thing to call out stuff to your teammates before the shooter has the ball, but this was different. This was purposeful and during Gillespie's gathering of the ball, shot, and follow through. At one point he even walked up to the line and got right in front of Gillespie between free throws. It was easily the most bush-league attempt to throw off a shooter I’ve ever seen in person at a college basketball game.
Gillespie of course shot 90% (9-10) at the line and iced away overtime in spite of these antics, but I still can’t believe it actually happened and that the players or refs didn’t say something. Maybe this happens all the time and I’m just oblivious to it, but it was definitely the most overt case I’ve ever come across.
Nothing from the Bench
With 2 minutes and 41 seconds left in regulation, Justin Moore hit a three to push Villanova’s lead back up to 10 points. That basket represented the only three points the Wildcat bench scored all game. In fairness, Moore was the only player that got serious run time off the bench in this one. Cosby-Roundtree saw six minutes, Bryan Antoine got three, and Brandon Slater only played two. But still, the bench was a collective 1 of 10 from the floor for just those three points.
Moore’s been in a bit of a slump offensively the last three games. In that stretch he’s averaging 4.6 points per game and has been held to single digits in each outing. To put that into perspective, he had scored in double digits in seven of his previous eight games. He’ll need to find his groove again with Villanova coming up on their toughest stretch of the schedule just a week from now.
As for the rest of the bench, the low output isn’t unexpected. Guys like Cosby-Roundtree, Slater, and Antoine aren’t being asked to make plays on offense, and everything they contribute on that end is a bonus at this point. That said, this is the time of year when Jay starts to shrink down his rotation, and last night it only consisted of six players. It’s tough to win games, or tournaments for that matter, when you can’t get more meaningful minutes off the bench. Someone is going to have to prove they can step up as the 7th or even 8th man in that rotation. Slater is the most likely, but at this point I’d be happy with any of the three making a more meaningful contribution.
In other “news”, the Bracketologists have Villanova squarely inside the protected Top 4 seeds, Kyle Lowry and Ryan Arcidiacono will have their jersey’s retired next month, and all the details from last night’s overtime win. Enjoy!
Villanova Men’s Basketball
Toohey: Villanova hit jackpot with Gillespie and Bey | Sports | delcotimes.com
RADNOR — Sometimes you get lucky in the recruiting process. Villanova hit the jackpot when it landed Collin Gillespie and Saddiq Bey in back-to-back years.
Villanova defeats DePaul
DePaul men's basketball loses to Villanova 79-75 | Chicago Tribune
Despite 29 points from Charlie Moore and a double-double from Paul Reed, DePaul fell 79-75 in overtime to No. 14 Villanova on Tuesday night. The loss dropped the Blue Demons to 0-4 in the Big East.
Tuesday's Things To Know: Brad Davison's legend grows, Isaiah Moss gets hot for Kansas and Villanova has DePaul's number - CollegeBasketballTalk | NBC Sports
DePaul lost its fourth-straight game to start Big East play with a 79-75 overtime loss to Villanova on the road. It was the Blue Demons’ 19th-straight loss to the Wildcats.
No. 14 Villanova survives scare, beats DePaul 79-75 in OT | USA Today
Collin Gillespie made four straight free throws in overtime and scored 21 points, and No. 14 Villanova survived a scare to beat DePaul for the 19th straight time, 79-75
No. 14 Villanova 79, DePaul 75: Stats, highlights and reaction from the Wildcats’ overtime thriller | The Inquirer
The Wildcats improved to 4-1 in the Big East and defeated the Blue Demons for the 19th consecutive time.
Villanova survives in overtime to beat DePaul | Sports | delcotimes.com
RADNOR — The numbers indicated that Villanova should have had no trouble with DePaul Tuesday night at the Pavilion.
Wildcats Use Overtime to Down DePaul 79-75 | Villanova University Athletics
Villanova pulled out a 79-75 overtime victory over DePaul Tuesday night.
College Basketball Bracketology 2020: Baylor tops the season’s first post-football projection | SBNation.com
While the Bears couldn’t crash college football’s Final Four, Saturday’s impressive win at Kansas shows that they’re a serious threat to make it to Atlanta for basketball’s version. A #3 Seed in the East with Penn State in the second round? Yes please!
College Basketball Bracketology Seed List For January 14, 2020 | Blogging the Bracket
This is the complete seed list for Tuesday’s SB Nation bracket projection, complete with team record and NET info.
Bracketology: NCAA tournament projection as of January 14, 2020 | Inside the Hall
As has become tradition, I took advantage of an incredibly light slate on the night of the College Football National Championship Game to churn out the first set of in-season bracket projections.
St. Joseph's Ryan Daly talks about his crazy shot, an all-transfer-home team, and other City 6 observations | The Inquirer
At first look, a clear two-pointer. Except wait a minute, run that replay again. Again. ... Again.
On a three-game losing streak, Temple needs wins to return to NCAA Tournament picture | The Inquirer
The Owls were cruising along at 9-3 before their losing streak dropped them to 9-6. They have games remaining that can put them back in the tournament conversation.
Warriors' Eric Paschall explains how he learned to pass at Villanova | NBCS Bay Area
Warriors rookie Eric Paschall is showing that he's more than just a scorer.
Kyle Lowry’s jersey to be retired by Villanova University | The Globe and Mail
As part of the team’s 100th-season celebrations, the Wildcats are retiring the jersey of Lowry (2004-06) and Ryan Arcidiacono (2012-16) at halftime in separate games next month
Raptors news: Kyle Lowry set to have his Villanova jersey retired | Clutch Points
The Villanova men's basketball program announced on Tuesday that Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry will have his jersey number retired on Feb. 26.
James Jones: Mikal Bridges has been 'phenomenal' lately for Suns | Arizona Sports
Despite his jumper taking a turn for the worst since entering the NBA, Mikal Bridges is still an impact player for the Phoenix Suns.
Omari Spellman looks like Warriors keeper with red-hot 3-point stroke | NBCS Bay Area
The Warriors may have found a gem in Omari Spellman.
Warriors' Omari Spellman, Eric Paschall in favor of new WNBA agreement | NBCS Bay Area
In the deal, players will receive a 53 percent increase in salary, guaranteed pay for players on maternity leave and free agency adjustments.
Arcidiacono, Lowry to Have Jerseys Retired in February | Villanova University Athletics
Lowry, Arcidiacono to be saluted with jersey retirements in February games at Finneran Pavilion.
Villanova Women’s Basketball
Women’s City Six Notebook: Mia Davis earns two more double-doubles in Temple wins | The Inquirer
Temple and Drexel are looking strong in conference play while Penn and Villanova have Big 5 matchup on the horizon.
Wildcats to Host Penn for Big 5 Matchup Wednesday | Villanova University Athletics
Villanova will play its final non conference game of the season on Wednesday night when the Penn Quakers visit the Finneran Pavilion. The Wildcats enter play with
Cross-county fire companies to meet on the gridiron | News | delcotimes.com
RADNOR — Two cross-county fire companies will mix it up on the football field this weekend for some social fun.
Ohio State Suspends Duane Washington, Luther Muhammad | SI
Ohio State guards Duane Washington and Luther Muhammad have been suspended from Tuesday night's game against Nebraska.
2020 Final Four in Atlanta: Everything you need to know | NCAA.com
Here is everything you need to know about the 2020 Final Four, including dates, location, history, and how to get tickets.
Bubble Watch: So … Stanford. What exactly is going on here? | The Athletic
Eamonn Brennan evaluates the NCAA Tournament chances for any and all contenders in college basketball.
Duke vs. Clemson score, takeaways: Tigers top No. 3 Blue Devils just days after winning at UNC for first time | CBSSports.com
Clemson follows its first victory ever at North Carolina with an upset win over Duke
Michael Avenatti, facing Nike trial, arrested in California | ESPN
Michael Avenatti was taken into custody for violating conditions of his pretrial release in a case separate from the one alleging he tried to extort millions from Nike.