Saturday, January 10, 2009

Show Me My Opponent - Villanova Wildcats

Nickname: Wildcats

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Arena: Wachovia Center (capcity 21,600)

Head Coach: Jay Wright (8th season)

Record: 13-2 (1-1 Big East)

Record against the Cards: 6-6 (Cards won last meeting 64-58)

History of the Program- Villanova has been a power and threat under current coach Jay Wright since he arrived on campus. Nova will always be known for their miracle run in 1985 to the National Title under Rollie Massiminno (upsetting Big East rival Georgetown). A run that showed a team that had to play a near perfect game to win. Despite later reports that revealed that some Nova players were doing cocaine at halftime in the locker room. A member of what is known as the Philadelphia super five (along with Temple, La Salle, St. Josephs and Pennsylvania), a group of Universities all based in the Philadelphia area. Villanova is one of several Catholic schools in the Big East (Is the oldest and largest Catholic University in Pennsylvania) and like most of them do not compete in Division I football.

Notable Alumni -

Jim Croce(pictured) - Musician, best known for his song Bad bad Leroy Brown

Toby Keith - Musician (kinda), attended but didn't finish but was awarded honorary degree, that says a lot about the integrity of your school.

Victoria Zdrok(pictured) - 1994 Playmate of the Month (October) and 2004 Pet of the Year and a fan of Popsicles.

Paul Arizin - Former NBA player (mostly Philadelphia Warriors), listed by the NBA as one of their 50 Greatest players in 1996.

Chris Ford - Former Player (Pistons and Celtics) and coach (Celtics, Bucks, Clippers, and 76ers). Is the first man to hit a three point shot in NBA history (October 12th, 1979)
Rory Sparrow - Former NBA point guard
Tim Donaghy - Former NBA ref (rogue ref, right David Stern?) who was found guilty of fixing games for gambling purposes
Kerry Kittles - Former NBA player (lottery pick by Nets).
Malik Allen - Current NBA center (Nets)
Randy Foye - Current NBA guard (Timberwolves)
Kyle Lowry
- Current NBA point guard (Grizzlies)
Allen Ray - Current NBA guard (Celtics)
Tim Thomas - Current NBA forward (Clippers)

Howie Long - NFL Hall of Fame Defensive End (Raiders), not just the guy from the Radio Shack commercials who makes fun of Terry Bradshaw's lack of hair.

Brian Westbrook - Current NFL running back (Eagles), most complete back in the NFL

Starting Lineup -

Guard - Scottie Reynolds - 6'2 180 Junior #1
Has been a thorn in Cards fans sides since he got to Villanova. Originally signed with Oklahoma but changed his mind when Coach Sampson left for Indiana. Is as fast as they come with the ball, second on the team in scoring (15.9 a game), while leading the Wildcats in assists a game (4.1). Does have a tendency to be turnover prone though.

Guard - Corey Stokes - 6'5 220 Sophomore #24
A sharpshooter who is putting up 10 points a game and hitting 44% of his three point attempts. Was held scoreless in last game against Seton Hall, playing only seven minutes. It was the first time he was held without a point in a game this season.

Forward - Dante Cunningham - 6'8 230 Senior #33Leads the team in scoring at 17.1 points a game, while grabbing 7.9 rebounds a game. Has recorded six double-doubles this season. Is averaging 2.8 offensive rebounds a game(6 or more three times). Was held to 10 points in loss to Cards last season. Has a sister (Davalyn Cunningham), who plays in the WNBA.

Forward - Antonio Pena - 6'8 235 Sophomore #0
The perfect role player, averaging 6 points and 6 rebounds a game. Pena will hustle for every ball and take any charge. The x-factor type player the Cards must not forget about on a team of good players. Chose Villanova over Louisville and others coming out of High School in Brooklyn, NY.

Forward - Dwayne Anderson - 6'6 215 Senior #22
Only averaging 4 points and 4 rebounds but missed the first month of the season so is still getting into the groove. Put up fifteen rebound in overtime win against Seton Hall, seven of them being offensive rebounds.

Tougher Wildcats- This is a more balanced Wildcat team compared to the other Wildcats Louisville has played this season. Villanova isn't as deep as Louisville (not many are) but go eight deep and it is a solid eight. Junior point guard Scottie Reynolds is the leader of this team, a role he has had for three years now. He (Reynolds) plays like a New York point guard (is from Virginia) with his exceptional quickness and ability to break you down in several different ways. Reynolds is coming off a 40 point performance against Seton Hall. Fellow starter Stokes and heavily used reserve Corey Fisher give the Wildcats a deadly rotation. Stokes is a serious zone buster. Fisher isn't a big a threat from the outside as Reynolds and Stokes but can score just the same. Is averaging 14.6 points over the last three games and is averaging 3 assists a game. But what makes the Wildcats so dangerous is their ability to break you down from the inside as well. Sophomore Antonio Pena is a typical garbage man, while Dante Cunningham has been on a tear. A Senior who has improved his numbers and game every season, he (Cunningham) isn't a threat from more then 15 feet out but is solid on the glass (7.9 a game) and put up 24 points and 13 rebounds in a loss against Texas.

What needs to be done - Edgar Sosa can not get into a "whatever you can do I can do better" attitude with Scottie Reynolds. He has had that happen in the past and as he has begun to play better the Cards play better. That and Reynolds is twice the player Sosa is (sorry Edgar). I though Clark (Earl) would have a big game against USF because I knew they didn't have the athletes to match up with him (not many do) but Villanova plays good defense, holding opponents to 38% shooting. Pena and Cunningham (6'8 each) are the Wildcats tallest players. Louisville must control the tempo and not let Nova's guards slice and dice the Cards less then good transition defense. Andre (McGee) and Knowles need to contribute off the bench.

Position by Position -

Guards -
Sosa-vs-Reynolds: Advantage Nova, Sosa has played well over the last two games but Reynolds is better then Sosa at every aspect of the game.

Smith-vs-Stokes: Push, Both are similar players, while I do think Jerry (Smith) is a better ball handler.

Forwards -
Williams-vs-Anderson: Advantage Cards, Anderson is a bench player in a starters role. Big advantage Cards

Clark-vs-Pena: Advantage Cards, It really depends which Clark shows up.

Center -
Samuels-vs-Cunningham: Push, Samuels maybe a better player but he is a Freshman going on the road against a very good Senior.

Bench: Advantage Cards, Louisville is one of the deepest teams in the country. Louisville can bring five players off their bench that can contribute is one way or another. Villanova has one, maybe two.

Prediction -
This not only is the Cards toughest road game so far this season, it will be one of their toughest all year. This could be a huge win for Louisville who have struggled away from home. They showed a lack of killer instinct the last two games against lesser teams and if you (Louisville) go into Villanova with that complacent attitude you (Louisville) will leave with a good ass kicking. Sosa and Samuels must keep their cool. Sosa has gone 4 for 13 (9points) in two meetings against Nova. Jennings and Goode won't be as effective against Nova's front court as they were against UK and USF weaker front lines. This is a game that Andre McGee could be huge in, he is due. Clark led the Cards with 14 in their last meeting in the Wachovia Center (Nova won 57-53 on 3/3/07), while Terrence Williams has struggled against Jay Wright's Wildcats in the past (averaging 7 points a game on 10-34 from the field) but must show up if the Cards have any chance.

Cards - 58

Wildcats - 62

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