Villanova Basketball 2015

St John's v Villanova

Since 2009 Villanova has gone 2-4 in the playoffs. I’ve been a Villanova fan since 2009…an unfortunate coincidence. The Villanova Wildcats just finished the season with a 32-2 record, won the Big East tournament for the first time in 20 years, and earned a #1 seed in the 2015 NCAA tournament, but it still feels like no one believes in us. 

Coach Jay Wright is great at recruiting, looking mighty fine in a suit, and getting the Wildcats to play better in the 2nd half. He’s a good looking dude for sure, but his post season record is… lacking, but that’s only looking at 2009 and onward. In 2008 he brought the Wildcats to the Final Four. Just check out his wikipedia pageat the end of every NCAA tournament paragraph there’s “Wright’s Wildcats were eliminated by the eventual national champion.” So maybe Villanova is just getting unlucky drawings, I think 5 out of 7 times Jay Wright has lost to the eventual national champions. He’s earned the reputation as only a good regular season coach, but maybe that’s a disservice to him. If we don’t make it far in this tournament that reputation may start to get a little more steam though, but if we lose to the eventual national champions again we may have a conspiracy on our hands.

Against Us: Not having any clear future NBA players, Big East games aren’t on ESPN, and we don’t have any wins against elite teams outside the Big East, which everyone thinks is a weak conference. They don’t have a Scottie Reynolds like leader to carry the team, but even he didn’t get drafted in the NBA.

Going For Us: Nova has 6 players that average 9 or more points a game. I swear it cycles every game, but there always seems to be someone who gets hot. We also have a pretty deep bench in Jenkins and Booth. All the starters are seniors and juniors, so they have experience and chemistry. This is basically the same team that lost to UConn last year, minus James Bell. The previous year they’ve been ranked a 2 seed and been bounced before reaching the Sweet 16, but now they’re a 1 seed. Totally different. They make minimal mistakes and turnovers and they shoot a ton of 3s, but don’t seem as reliant on the 3 as recent years because Ochefu is actually really good now. They’re #4 in offense and #13 in defense on the kenpom rankings, so they’re a pretty balanced team.

Different This Time: Daniel Ochefu is leaps and bounds better than he was last year, honestly I wish the team focused more on him at times, especially when we’re down and firing 3s everywhere. Villanova finally has a talented big man, maybe for the first time ever, but he’s our only big man and if he gets in foul trouble we’re in trouble. I swear JayVaughn Pinkston tries to get the foul call every time he goes for a shot. Every time! But now we don’t have to rely on Pinkston as our big man.

Surveying the East Bracket from the viewpoint of someone who googled each team kind of.

weast bracket
#16 Lafayette
A #1 seed has never lost to a #16 seed and I really don’t want our team to be the first. Lafayette apparently has a great offense and won their conference tournament that I never knew existed. I did notice during the selection the Lafayette fans seemed really happy they drew us…
#9 LSU
I’ve seen one LSU game, against Arkansas, and they looked like an athletic big team. Villanova’s weak against big teams and that’s how we’ve lost pretty much every time in the tournament. Hopefully all the good players are on the football team instead of basketball team.
#8 NC State
I haven’t seen any games played by NC State, but from what I’ve read they seem like a similar team to us. They beat Louisville and UNC on the road! And they split wins with Duke. Yeah this team scares me and historically we do seem to have trouble with North Carolina teams.
#5 UNI
Is there a University of Southern Iowa? They seem to be a popular sleeper pick to win the East. I know the MVC is a weak conference, but they did split games with Witcha State and they’re rated #15 on offense and #16 on defense on the Kenpom rankings. This is a very well-rounded team and Seth Tuttle seems like a good enough player to drag them deep into the tournament.
#12 Wyoming
Apparently they’re pretty much like UNI except in a shittier state. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were the only Wyoming basketball team in the state. They’re in the Mountain West division, they have a good defense, and I’m rooting for them to beat UNI.
#4 Louisville
They haven’t looked the same after kicking out Chris Jones, but they have a strong coach in Pitino and they’re never fun to play against. Of course they have a good defense, but hopefully their offense limits them in the tournament. 
#13 UC-Irvine
I couldn’t tell you anything about this team and I won’t bother trying. Does it bother anyone else that Seattle is located in the EAST region? Why even label the brackets after cardinal directions if they don’t mean anything?! It’d be just as helpful to name the brackets after cheese or Game of Throne characters. Heck, I bet in a couple of years these will be sponsored.
#7 Michigan State
It’s not smart to bet against Mike Izzo in March and they barely lost to Wisconsin in the Big 10 tournament. This team could easily meet us in the Elite 8, if we’re lucky enough to make it that far, and I’m scared of them on name alone. I haven’t seen any of their games and I probably should have researched this team better.
#10 Georgia
There’s no way Michigan State is losing to Georgia right? Right?! I somehow know less about this team than UC-Irvine.
#6 Providence
I wouldn’t want to play them and I could see Kris Dunn going on a tear through the tournament. I think the Big East is a better conference than people give it credit for and in my opinion this was the second best team.
#11 Dayton/Boise St.
I’m assuming Dayton will win because they’re playing at home, but I don’t want to do research on 2 teams that will have a tough time making it to our side of the bracket anyway. Really pulling for a Providence win though.
#3 Oklahoma
It’s sad how little I know about this team, but for some reason I have Providence beating them. I don’t know NCAA basketball too much, have a huge Big East bias, and don’t know what a Sooner is. But this team’s probably pretty good.
#14 Albany
Can you tell which teams I’ve done more research on yet? Great Danes is a pretty badass and unique mascot, it’s certainly better than Wildcats. Yuck.
#2 Virginia
If Virginia had a healthy Justin Anderson they’d pretty much be unstoppable. I’m not sure how long it takes to recover from a broken finger and an appendectomy, but he probably won’t be at 100%. Maybe he doesn’t have to though, this team’s really freaking good. They’ve only lost 3 games and they were all to good teams. A healthy Virginia team can beat anybody, including Kentucky. A non healthy Virginia team is still better than most teams.
#15 Belmont
Last year I really liked the this team because I thought they had a cool team name, love that double B, and their logo is pretty neat. I had them going pretty far in the tournament last year and that was the only reason. Does this tell you how much I don’t know about basketball yet?

Let’s go Nova, they’re definitely winning because I want them to. Villanova and Iowa State have a knack for losing to the eventual champions, maybe this year they can help boost the other into defeating Kentucky? Both have to reach to the Final Four to even play each other though. Here’s a better summary of Villanova’s basketball team on reddit.

Big East Player of the Year Rant

damn you arch, damn you

I don’t know too much about Kris Dunn, but I saw him play during the Big East tournament and he looked great. The other cowinner of the Big East Player of the Year, Ryan Arcidiacono, probably isn’t even the best player on our team. Anyone with eyes can see how hard Arcidiacono tries during a game, but anyone with eyes would also see he’s not our best player. Darrun Hilliard probably deserved the award over Arch, but Villanova’s team is spread so evenly talent wise that it’s tough to choose a singular best player, but honestly Arch would be my last choice.

Before the award I think Arch’s highlight of the year was a rebound against Creighton. Hilliard had that game winning 3 against Butler at their home court. I heard some announcer spin it so that it was Arch’s game winning assist during the Butler game… The announcers love Arch for reasons I can’t explain, maybe they like the way his name just rolls off the tongue. It certainly isn’t easy to spell.

He’s scrappy, he wears his heart on his sleeve, he has intangibles, he’s clutch. These are all used to describe Arch, probably because they can’t describe him positively with numbers. Hilliard has better stats than Arch in everything outside of assists and playing time. Derek Jeter never won a MVP despite being the captain of the Yankees; I think the same should have been done here. It’s not his fault the voters aren’t the brightest, but why not give the award to the highest scorer on the team, especially when he’s Hilliard’s a senior and Arch’s only a junior. I never feel confident when Arch has the ball, he always shoots a mile away from the 3 line, and his over effort sometimes lead to sloppy plays. If a Villanova fan tells you our best player on the team is Arcidiacono, they know less than me.


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