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The Sun’s Arizin: Villanova Basketball and the Big East’s Wild Opening Weekend

The top teams lost and COVID is forcing forfeits. What’s next?

Villanova Mug Arizin Links

Happy Monday Nova Nation. I’ve noticed a theme lately, and it’s not one I’m particularly fond of. And if the comment threads, texts, and slacks I’m a part of are any indicator, I’m not the only one noticing it. No it isn’t glaringly obvious or something anchored in numbers. It’s a simple gut feeling that has me worried what about what happens if Villanova isn’t able to find a way to reverse this trend.

The Wildcats haven’t been much fun to watch lately.

I can’t put my finger on any one thing, but for at least the last three games (Syracuse, Baylor, Creighton), this team just hasn’t been enjoyable to watch. Of course the losing sucks, and a terrible shooting effort is never fun, but it’s more than that. I thought about it a lot this weekend, and I think it all comes down to unmet expectations.

This was supposed to be the team with so much experience that their consistency would lead to domination. Well, that hasn’t been the case. This was Jay Wright’s first year as a Hall of Fame coach in which we would continue to see the growth and sustained excellent of individuals and the team that we’ve been accustomed to for nearly the last decade. That hasn’t been the case either. For lack of a better term, we were expecting something more, and I think the team would say that about themselves too.

The good news is, the season isn’t over. I mean, COVID seems to be pushing things that way, but there are still games on the schedule. There is plenty of time to turn things around, shake off this slump, and be in position for a deep tournament run by March. And the good news is, the Big East is going to give us plenty of chances for that.

See Villanova’s upset was just the first of a wild weekend for the Big East. UConn also dropped their season opener (at home no less). Xavier was able to just barely pull away from Marquette. Oh and teams that were off to hot non-conference starts like Seton Hall and DePaul both had to forfeit their games tonight due to COVID pauses. I think it’s fair to say that the first weekend of Big East play has been unexpected.

So, Wright-ing the ship (sorry, I’m a dad, puns are mandatory) starts with Tuesday’s home contest agains Xavier, the lone ranked Big East to come away from this weekend with a win. I don’t know how or if Villanova rights their shooting woes or gets back into their defensive groove, just that they can. Here’s hoping they do, or at the very least they make it fun to watch.

In other news, Myles Powell signs with the Sixers, Will Sheridan is inspiring others, and Malik Allen joins the Villanova Hall of Fame. Enjoy!

Creighton defeats Villanova

Defense Paves Path to 79-59 Win Over #9 Villanova | Creighton University Athletics
OMAHA, Neb. -- Clinging to a 56-54 lead with 8:38 remaining in the game, the Bluejay defense clamped down to secure a 79-59 win over No. 9 Villanova on Friday, December

Late Burst Carries Creighton Past Wildcats 79-59 | Villanova University
Villanova dropped its BIG EAST opener at Creighton Friday Night

Villanova made some bad history during the past week with a pair of 20-point road losses | The Inquirer
The back-to-back 20-point losses are the first of the 690-game Jay Wright era with the Wildcats. The team is shooting less than 30% in its last three games, including 23% from three.

Villanova-Creighton: Wildcats go ice-cold down the stretch in 79-59 loss | The Inquirer
The Wildcats cut a 12-point deficit to two with 8:38 to play but did not make a single basket the rest of the game, scoring their final five points on free throws, and giving up too many layups.

RECAP: Creighton decimates #9 Villanova, 79-59 | Big East Coast Bias
Creighton opens up Big East play with an impressive victory

Xavier vs Villanova

Xavier vs. Villanova: 2021-22 college basketball preview, TV schedule | Busting Brackets
A Big East battle takes place on Tuesday, Villanova plays host to Xavier. These two teams are going in opposite directions. Here's a preview of the game.

Villanova Alumni

Villanova Athletics Announces 2021 Hall of Fame Class | Villanova University
VILLANOVA, Pa. – The next induction class to the Villanova University Varsity Club Hall of Fame was announced and includes former VU Hoopster, Malik Allen and former Women's Coach, Harry Perretta.

Eastern’s new football coach Billy Crocker reflects on Villanova background, building a program | Mainline Media News
St. Davids – Billy Crocker, introduced as Eastern University’s first-ever head football coach Friday, got a little emotional when he spoke of one of his mentors, retired Villanova football coach Andy Talley, who was in the audience at Eastern’s McInnis Auditorium.

How Ex ‘Nova Star Is Inspiring Youth | NBC10 Philadelphia
A former Villanova basketball standout, Will Sheridan is now in the Delaware Hall of Fame. After coming out as gay more than 10 years ago, Sheridan is hoping to...

Big East

Former Seton Hall scorer Myles Powell signs with Sixers – Delco Times
Amid COVID’s negative impact on sports teams schedules, including that of the Sixers Sunday night, the club made some positive news earlier in the day.

The 2021 Big East Non-Conference Slate: A Retrospective | Big East Coast Bias
Writer emeritus Sam Newberry returns to give thoughts on the Big East going into conference play