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An Update on Villanova Basketball’s Bryan Antoine

Villanova’s 5-star freshman finally saw extended minutes on Saturday.

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Happy Monday Nova Nation! I’m not a big fan of the term “good loss”, because losing sucks. That said, I’ll readily admit that there are positives that can come out of a loss and that’s exactly what we got on Saturday.

For those of you that slept through the weekend, were in playoff football mode, or are just now remembering your wifi password, Villanova lost on the road over the weekend to Marquette. There were a lot of takeaways from the game, but the one that has the biggest long-term impact was the career high in minutes for Bryan Antoine. Not only was the freshman in the game for 21 minutes, the most since his debut against Middle Tennessee, a large portion of those minutes came during Villanova’s comeback attempt in the second half.

This was the first time we’d even seen Antoine in the second half of a game since mid-December, which is obviously a positive sign. On the other hand, Villanova was playing short handed after losing Jermaine Samuels to an injury early in the second half and managing the foul trouble of both Saddiq Bey, Cole Swider, and Collin Gillespie (who eventually fouled out). Luckily, the coaching staff was able to provide a little more insight to Antoine’s situation than what the fan base could glean off the TV.

After the game, Assistant Coach Mike Nardi was on the radio broadcast to talk quickly about the Wildcats. On Antoine, he said that they really liked what they saw from him in the game, but that he’s still playing catchup. To paraphrase, Antoine can bring them a ton of energy off the bench, and is one of the best energy guys they have. But right now he’s still several months behind the rest of the team when it comes to learning, so when he gets on the court he’s basically playing on pure energy and talent. He’s got tons of both, but there’s only so far that can take you at this level. The staff is doing everything they can to bring him along as quickly as possible, but there’s only so much you can do to make up for missing 4 months of practice.

So what do we take from that? The “bad news” is that it’s exactly what we’ve been saying for a while now. Antoine needs time to learn, workout, and play. We may not see his full potential this season (or ever if the NBA decides his raw talent is worthy of a first round pick). But the good news is that Antoine is showing enough in practice for the coaches to put him in for significant minutes. That doesn’t mean we should expect to see him for 20+ against Creighton, but it does mean the coaches are confident enough in him that he’s an option in the rotation.

Personally, I’m sticking with my original timeline of February before we see consistent playing time and contribution from Antoine. That said, he’s been ahead of schedule in his recovery and in his playing time. Now is not the time to start betting against this impressive young man.

In other “news”, Creighton’s up next for the Wildcats, recapping the Marquette game, and Villanova’s Women’s team (3-1) is rolling to start Big East play. Enjoy!

Villanova Men’s Basketball

Villanova’s Jay Wright named AP coach of the decade | The Inquirer
Smooth as one of his designer suits, Wright turned Villanova into a national powerhouse during the 2010s, leading the Wildcats to two national titles while changing the way college basketball is played.

Big East deep and full of NCAA tournament contenders |
One night, it might be Myles Powell, with Seton Hall’s pair of 7-foot-2 centers patrolling the lane.

Tuesday Night Test at Creighton is up Next for Wildcats | Villanova University Athletics
Villanova travels to Omaha to meet BIG EAST rival Creighton on Tuesday night.

Wright Tabbed Associated Press Coach of the Decade | Villanova University Athletics
Jay Wright was Named AP Coach of the Decade on Jan. 3.

Wildcats' Wright a calm conqueror | Arkansas Democrat
The final seconds of the 2016 national title game were some of the most dramatic in college basketball history.

Villanova loses to Marquette

Marquette beats Villanova, 71-60, with strong defense | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Golden Eagles played aggressive defense and got 29 points from Markus Howard and 22 from Koby McEwen at a raucous Fiserv Forum.

Howard leads Marquette to 71-60 win over No. 10 Villanova |
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Villanova coach Jay Wright said Marquette guard Markus Howard played on a different level from anyone his team could throw at him Saturday.

Villanova-Marquette: Wildcats' 6-game win streak snapped | The Morning Call
Markus Howard scored 29 points and Marquette started the New Year with a 71-60 upset of 10th-ranked Villanova on Saturday.

Stout defense, hot first-half shooting as Golden Eagles upset No. 10 Villanova | Marquette Wire
In front of a sold-out crowd at Fiserv Forum, Marquette stunned No. 10 Villanova 71-60 to claim its first BIG EAST win of the 2019-’20 season. This is the Golden Eagles’ first victory over a top 10 team since beating then-No. 1 Villanova 74-72 Jan. 24, 2017. “We beat a hell of a team and...

Marquette 71, No. 10 Villanova 60: Stats, highlights, and reaction from the Wildcats’ Big East road opener | The Inquirer
The Wildcats fell behind by 20 points on two occasions and could not get any closer than eight points, shooting 35.3% for the game.

Marquette Downs Wildcats 71-60 | Villanova University Athletics
The Wildcats trailed by 17 at halftime and were unable to rally.

NBA Wildcats

What Nick Nurse’s heavy reliance on Kyle Lowry says about the nature of this Raptors season | The Athletic
Lowry has played at least 40 minutes in five of his past nine games, after doing so just 11 times in his 158 previous regular-season games.

Chicago Bulls guard Ryan Arcidiacono discusses journey to NBA in this week’s Chat Room | Chicago Sun-Times
Bulls guard Ryan Arcidiacono’s career has been all about overcoming the odds.

Steve Kerr agrees that Warriors' Omari Spellman deserves more playing time | NBCS Bay Area
Omari Spellman wants more playing time, and Steve Kerr believes he has earned it.

Sunday Randomness: A bounce back for Ahkello Witherspoon, 11 Questions with Eric Paschall, classic Klay Thompson | The Athletic
The Warriors' star guard has developed a telling new ritual while he works back from injury; and a Volleyball Dad Chronicles return.

Short-handed Long Island Nets extend losing streak to three games, losing to Wisconsin Herd, 140-128 | NetsDaily
The Long Island Nets dropped their third straight game, losing to the Wisconsin Herd, the Milwaukee Bucks G League affiliate, 140-128. Joe Cremo led the Nets in first half scoring, and finished with 16 points.

Villanova Women’s Basketball

Women’s City Six: Mary Gedaka lifts Villanova over Seton Hall | The Inquirer
Villanova picks up a key Big East victory while Drexel falls in its Colonial Athletic Association opener.

QUEENS, N.Y. – The Villanova Wildcats tallied their fourth win in the last five games with a 67-62 overtime win at St. John's. With the victory, the Wildcats improve

College Basketball

Parity party has college basketball's best on constant edge |
The season was barely a week old when Michigan State lost to Kentucky in the Champions Classic, a defeat of the nation's No. 1 team that could be written off easily as a high-profile battle of heavyweights on a neutral court early in the season that didn't go the Spartans' way.