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Which Villanova Wildcat should have redshirted the 2020 season?

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Could Eric Dixon have helped Nova out of this 3 game slide?

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Happy Tuesday Nova Nation! We’re still a day out from Marquette coming to town, so I figured I’d take the rare dip into the mailbag and answer a question from a fellow fan. Yesterday, Frank from CT reached out to me with the question, “Did Jay redshirt the wrong freshman?”. In other words, where would Nova be today had Bryan Antoine sat out the year and Eric Dixon had been activated.

Antoine had limited success breaking into the rotation, and now that we’re deep into Big East play Jay has really focused on the core rotation he’ll be using in March. Antoine doesn’t look to be a part of that, which is ok. It doesn’t mean he didn’t live up to expectations, it meant that missing four months of basketball was simply too much to try to make up in December and January.

But would Dixon have done any better? Let’s break it down a bit. From what I’ve heard, Dixon still had some work to do in the gym before he was ready for the season. Again, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t prepared or wasn’t working hard at it, everyone just starts at different levels when they get to Villanova. From the Blue vs White scrimmage, he clearly can play, and most of his game was on the interior where Nova has struggled especially defensively the last few games.

The problem with throwing him down in the middle with Robinson-Earl though is two fold. First, you’d be relying on two rookies to anchor the defense. As talented as they are, there would always be mistakes that become harder to mask the more freshman you have on the court together. In addition, while both big man can shoot from the outside, their best contributions come in the paint. That means you are either clogging the lane for Gillespie and Bey to drive, or eliminating another shooting option from the perimeter for kick-outs.

Ultimately, there were probably just as many times this season that Dixon’s size would have been helpful as there were that could have called for Antoine’s athleticism. It doesn’t mean Jay would have used them, and I also think we would have ended up with the same rotation we have now anyway. I think both of these players are going to be fantastic, and make huge jumps next season. But back in November Villanova was still short on guards while having depth at the forward position. I think Jay made the right call on which player had the best chance to break into the rotation given the roster construction, but it was never a given that it would happen.

Antoine, Dixon, and Caleb Daniels are why I’m so excited about the potential this team will have next season. Some of the areas that still need improvement on this year’s team get solved by plugging those players in after a year in the system already. I’m not going to overlook this season, because despite the current losing streak it’s been a really fun ride, especially watching the growth of Gillespie and Bey. But once this year is over, that hype train is going to be working overtime as we steam towards 2021.

In other “news”, Villanova is on ‘hot mess’ alert, Kyle Lowry named a finalist for the 2020 Olympic Team, and Maddy Siegrist ties the Big East record for Freshman of the Week honors. Enjoy!

Villanova Men’s Basketball

UNC, Florida, Indiana lead college basketball hot messes | Sports Illustrated
As March Madness 2020 draws closer, we look at which college basketball teams are heading in the wrong direction.

College basketball rankings: Colorado, Marquette surge in Andy Katz's latest Power 36 | NCAA.com
Colorado and Marquette each surged in the latest men's basketball Power 36 after the Buffaloes and Golden Eagles both jumped double-digit spots. Katz has Nova all the way down at #32.

NBA Wildcats

Team USA basketball: LeBron James, Stephen Curry headline list of 44 finalists for 2020 Tokyo Olympics roster | CBSSports.com
The finalists include 29 players who have previously played for Team USA

New Orleans Pelicans: Josh Hart brings his team hustle and muscle | Pelican Debrief
Earning a role as the high-energy seventh man more New Orleans Pelicans, Josh Hart is becoming a fan favorite among fans in his new city.

Kyle Lowry on Becoming a Champion and the Value of League Vets | The Ringer
Vince and Annie sit down to share their thoughts on the trade deadline and talk about their final predictions going into All-Star weekend

NBA rumors: Timberwolves considering waiving ex-Warrior Omari Spellman | NBCS Bay Area
If Spellman is eventually waived, it would not be surprising to see him back with Golden State at some point.

Villanova Women’s Basketball

Philly Women’s College Basketball Week in Review & Awards | Philly College Sports
Maddy Siegrist had two 21 point plus games to set the program record for most twenty point games by a freshman with fourteen.

Siegrist Ties BIG EAST Record for Rookie of the Week Honors | Villanova University Athletics
NEW YORK – Redshirt freshman forward Maddy Siegrist (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week for the 10th time this season tying the record

Villanova Athletics

Villanova tops Nicholls softball, 6-0 | Daily Comet
The Nicholls State University softball team was limited to two hits against Villanova and ended the River City Leadoff Tournament with a 6-0 loss to the Wildcats Sunday morning.

Williamson Ties Own School Record and Lifetime Best in 60 Meters at NYRR Millrose Games | Villanova University Athletics
NEW YORK—Senior sprinter Trudy-Ann Williamson (Kingston, Jamaica) equaled her own school record and lifetime best mark of 7.37 in the 60 meter dash while competing

Bracketology

NCAA tournament bubble watch: At large-bids for March Madness | NBC Sports
Since Selection Sunday is less than two months away, it is time for us to unveil the full NCAA tournament bubble watch. Who can get an at-large?

NCAA Tournament Projections: Where the Bracket Stands Right Now | Stadium
Why Michigan State earned a top-16 seed on Saturday, why they couldn't keep it by Monday, and much more.

NCAA tournament Bubble Watch - Updated look at the wildest bubble in years | ESPN
Your updated source for all of the latest on the NCAA tournament bubble.

College Basketball

Undefeated San Diego State basketball: Toughest games left | NCAA.com
There's just one undefeated college basketball team left in the country — San Diego State. Here's the toughest remaining game for the Aztecs.

Men’s College Basketball Has Been Chaotic. But Just Wait Until The Tourney. | FiveThirtyEight
This year's contenders have less experience than ever in the Big Dance.

The first college basketball weekend after the Super Bowl lived up to the hype | SBNation.com
Duke-North Carolina was nuts, but it was far from the only noteworthy event of the weekend.

How much an experienced point guard helps during March Madness | NCAA.com
Here's an analysis of how important a strong lead guard is to making a deep NCAA tournament run.

In reply to NC State, NCAA lays out evidence of $40,000 payment | ESPN
In its reply to NC State, the NCAA enforcement staff said there is enough evidence to conclude that a former Wolfpack assistant delivered $40,000 from an Adidas consultant to trainer Shawn Farmer, who was supposed to deliver the money to Dennis Smith Sr.