Last Friday's loss made me feel like quite the sad panda. It's never good to lose a game that you play well enough to win, it's even worse when it's against Temple. Hopefully, Villanova will take out their anger this week when they travel to the place of Jeebus' birth to take on the Mountain Hawks (formerly known as the Engineers) of Lehigh University.
Here are my keys to the game:
- Get Angry- It sucks to lose, and this team hasn't done too much losing in the recent future. I fully expect to see a hard hitting, inspired effort from this team after a shitty loss. The fact is, Lehigh isn't as good as Temple, and Villanova is much better than Drake, the team that Lehigh beat last week. There is a fine line between getting angry and racking tons of stupid penalties, but this is a mature team that shouldn't have those types of problems. If Villanova at least matches Lehigh's intensity then they should coast to a win.
- Convert on Scoring Chances- The Temple game could have been different had Villanova converted on some early field goal opportunities. I guess Nick Yako had to eventually experience some growing pains, but there is no doubt that if Yako one of the two field goals he missed that The 'Cats would have won. If you leave points on the field, it's hard to win games.
- Stick to What is Working- What killed Villanova in the game against Temple was the fact that they got conservative in the second half and didn't stick to what worked. I don't know what the deal was, but I believe Aaron Ball only had one carry in the second half of last Friday's game, after punishing the Temple defense with his running in the first half. The best way to allow a team back into a game is to alter your game plan and play to prevent a loss rather than continually trying to score. Unless the game is completely out of reach, the coaches shouldn't stray too far from what they did when they had the most success.
- Make it a Track Meet- The fact is, 'Nova will have better athletes than Lehigh and the best way to win is to exploit Lehigh's weaknesses with our bigger and faster players. Patriot League teams haven't fared well against Villanova since Lehigh beat us in 2006 and the athletic difference is perhaps the biggest reason Villanova has been able to seperate themselves from PL opposition.
- Win- Nothing cures a case of the "Mondays" like a resounding win. A lopsided win in this game will help boost the confidence of a team that surely left a bit of their swagger on the grass of Lincoln Financial Field last week.