Happy Thursday Nova Nation! The Villanova Wildcats were able to hold on in a physical battle for the regular season sweep of Xavier last night, 64-60. There are lots of breakdowns of the game in the links below and coming on the site today, so instead I figured I’d focus on one player’s performance in particular: Collin Gillespie.
Saying he’s been overlooked this year would just be ridiculous. He’s arguably the team’s best player, the leader on the court, and was given All-American and Big East POY honors in the preseason. But I think some fans may be overlooking two things about the local Nova star: His journey to get here, and where he’s going to end up.
Let’s start with the journey. Just two seasons ago, I had to make an argument that Gillespie should be Villanova’s point guard. The “Gillespie isn’t really a point guard” argument seems absolutely ridiculous now as the fan base has trouble trusting anyone else but their Bob Cousy Award Nominee. And yet there we were, wondering if this guy could actually pick up the mantle left behind by the likes of Booth, Brunson, and Arcidiacono. I think it’s safe to say now that Gillespie has more than earned his spot in that lineage of great Villanova point guards.
And that’s the second thing that’s getting overlooked, just how great Gillespie has been. Gillespie broke the 1,500 point mark against DePaul this past weekend, and put up his 20th 20+ point game of his career against Xavier. He’s currently on pace to end his Villanova career with 1,800+ points, 460+ Assists, and 150+ Steals. As far as All-Time rankings go, that would place him 12th in points, 10th in assists, and 20th in steals. Not bad at all.
Now I can already hear the argument that he played in more games so that’s skewing the numbers. Full disclosure, Gillespie is on track to have played in the most games in Villanova history. Assuming he plays the rest of the regular season and at least one BET and NCAA Tournament games (what I’ve used to calculate his projected stats), he’ll have played in 150 games. That breaks Phil Booth’s previous record of 148.
But even if you look at Gillespie’s per game numbers, he’s surpassing a number of Villanova greats. Even just looking at his 12.1 PPG average, that would put him above former Nova greats like Fisher, Arcidiacono, Pinkston, Pressley, Lawson, Hilliard, Booth, and Williams to name a few. And when you consiider that guys from the 80’s and 90’s were playing 125+ games, the 2000’s were playing in 130+, and the late 2010’s were playing in 140+, Gillespie’s edge in games isn’t that much.
It’s clear that Collin Gillespie has surpassed the expectations that fans, coaches, and maybe even he had for himself when he came in as a freshman. But there’s no denying it now: Collin Gillespie will go down as one of the All-Time Great Villanova Wildcats.
One more thing before we get to the links, congrats to everyone who picked Eric Dixon in yesterday’s poll:
In other news, Villanova sweeps X, the Big East should be well represented in the Tournament, and the women’s team takes their five game win streak to DePaul tomorrow. Enjoy!
Villanova defeats Xavier
Wildcats Hold Off No. 17 Xavier 64-60 | Villanova University
Gillespie's 21 points helped lead Villanova to the road victory Wednesday night in Cincinnati
No. 14 Villanova hangs on at 17th-ranked Xavier | The Inquirer
The Wildcats improved to 30-6 all-time against Xavier and 16-4 under coach Jay Wright.
No. 14 Villanova holds off No. 17 Xavier, 64-60 | AP News
CINCINNATI (AP) — Collin Gillespie scored 21 points, Justin Moore had 16 and No. 14 Villanova held off No. 17 Xavier 64-60 on Wednesday night. Moore, the reigning Big East player of the week, scored 10 points in the second half and finished with nine rebounds to help the Wildcats (12-4, 5-1 Big East) win their fifth straight.
Big East projecting to have 7 NCAA Tournament teams, including No. 20 Seton Hall | nj.com
The Big East is currently projected to have seven NCAA Tournament teams, with Seton Hall projected as a 6 seed by several bracketologists.
Josh Hart and Herbert Jones Lend Necessary Promise to a Forgettable Pelicans Season | Sportscasting.com
The New Orleans Pelicans are still struggling without Zion Williamson, but Josh Hart and Herbert Jones offer glimmers of hope for the future.
Villanova Women’s Basketball
Villanova vs. DePaul - Game Preview | ESPN
The Villanova Wildcats (8-5, 4-0 Big East) are attempting to add to a five-game win streak when they visit the DePaul Blue Demons (12-4, 4-1 Big East) on Friday, January 14, 2022.
Villanova University Announces the Election of Five New Members to its Board of Trustees | Villanova University
Villanova University today announced the appointment of five new members to its Board of Trustees.