Thursday, January 31, 2013

Darrun Hilliard and Recruiting Rankings


This is the time of the year when everyone gets sucked into college football's biggest offseason event: national signing day. ESPNU devotes voyeuristic wall-to-wall coverage to it, and we hear about how Lane Kiffin is going to win a National Championship with his excellent recruiting class. The problem is that these player ranking determinations are often made in the summer after the junior season or before, and are often based heavily on projections. Anyone who is not a moron knows that unscientific projections have a tendency to be wrong way more often than they are right. There is also the matter of differing opinions between different scouting service. Some players are three star recruits on one service, and may not even by in another service's database, Matt Szczur for example. Dominic Cheek's "intergalactic" shooting range is just one of many examples of these things being woefully wrong.

A perfect case study of a player being largely ignored by the recruiting gurus is Darrun Hilliard, who has at times been the best player on Villanova's team this season. Hilliard's career was solid, but not not spectacular before a senior season where he scored 573 points and led his team deep into the state playoffs. A player who is scoring 20 point per game in 32 minute games will get noticed by the "experts", right? Wrong. Darrun Hilliard was at best a three star recruit, and ESPN, the most bullish of Hilliard of the notable scouting services said that he was the eighth best player in the state of Pennsylvania, and exactly zero of those players have been demonstrably better than him, and a couple have transferred to lesser programs.

So before freaking out about how Villanova had a terrible 2013 recruiting class, just remember that Dante Cunningham was a three star recruit, and Dominic Cheek was a McDonald's All-American.

Found on YouTube


Found this recently uploaded gem on YouTube.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Notre Dame Beats Villanova 65-60

Villanova ran out of magic tonight. Despite consistently leading in the first half, and holding a two point lead at halftime, Notre Dame's excellent offense came to play, and Villanova's brief run of awesomeness has come to an end, losing 65-60.

For Villanova, Mouphtaou Yarou had one of the best games of his career, finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Darrun Hilliard added 14, and JayVaughn Pinkston had a quiet 11. On the not so good side, Daniel Ochefu and Ryan Arcidiacono each finished with five points, but they missed six and seven shots respectively.

Villanova will be back on Sunday when they play Providence at home.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Three in a Row? A Villanova-Notre Dame Primer

Manti Te'o and his girlfriend

Villanova basketball is riding on a high that they haven't felt since 2009, the program's best season in a generation. Tomorrow night, Villanova looks to win their third game in a row when they face off against Notre Dame in the Joyce Center.

Let's start out with what Notre Dame does well: score. While they don't always score in high volumes, they are able to score regardless of the pace of the game. They accomplish this by making 50% of their shots despite the snail-like tempo under which they prefer to operate, which has become an identity that Mike Brey seems to be willing to embrace, because they have been playing this way since 2010. Villanova has done a good job defensively as of late with every team other than Pitt. Villanova's problem is that Notre Dame is about as good offensively as Pitt is, which could be a problem.

Now for the bad: For a team as good offensively as Notre Dame, they are quite flawed defensively, with Ken Pomeroy's rankings tabbing them as the 186th best team in the country in that category, which puts them in the lower half. Basically, this year's Notre Dame is a poor man's version of the 2010 Villanova team, only slightly better on offense and much worse on defense. The only problem is that Notre Dame's weakness is parallel to Villanova's greatest weakness, which might level the playing field a bit, but Villanova's offense is much better in relative terms than Notre Dame's defense.

Bottom line: this is a winnable game, but it is also a prime game for a letdown, where Villanova plays abjectly horrible. We'll just have to wait until tomorrow to know for sure.

Darrun Hilliard: National Player of the Week


Yesterday, Villanova sophomore guard Darrun Hilliard was named Big East conference player of the week, and I thought that was pretty cool. Well today, it was announced that he was named National player of the week, which is even cooler.

A hearty congratulations to Darrun.

Villanova-Syracuse Highlights


I wasn't able to watch the game on Saturday, so this is the first time I've been able to see most of these highlights. Awesome.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Darrun Hilliard: Big East Player of the Week


 In recognition of the best stretch of his still young Villanova career, guard Darrun Hilliard has been named Big East Player of the Week. He was especially excellent against Syracuse, scoring 25 points with seven rebounds and six assists and zero turnovers. In the last four games, Hilliard is averaging 16 points per game, bringing his season average up to 10.8 per game, which is good for third best on the team.

Congratulations to Darrun. He's been quite impressive this season.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Norman White Official Highlights


One of the greats.

Suggestion: Storm The Court After EVERY Home Win


When Giants coach Bill Parcells worked nose tackle Jim Burt unusually hard in a 1985 practice, Burt decided to retaliate, and emptied a Gatorade cooler on Parcells after they beat the Redskins in the following game. In doing so, the Giants started the "Gatorade shower", a phenomenon now seen after virtually every football championship at any level. The 1986 Giants took things a step further, dumping Gatorade on Parcells after all 17 games the Giants won that season, including after their win in Super Bowl XXI.

As you all know already, Villanova fans have stormed the court two games in a row. Good thing or not, they did it, and it has garnered some attention. Plenty of people on the internet were griping about how it is bush league to storm the court twice in one week. I say fuck ALL of those people. It's time that Villanova fans get creative, and obnoxious and storm the court after every home win for the rest of the season. Why? Because you can, and because it would be something that no other fans have ever done. It's time to make the Pavilion a dangerous place for opposing teams again, and this is one of many ways to do it.

Just a suggestion. If students actually do this, in no way am I responsible for any possible adverse outcome, but it would be awesome if they did. 

Video: Ryan Arcidiacono's Game Tying Three


Awesome.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Villanova-Syracuse Primer: Part Deux


Earlier this month, Villanova played a very competitive game against Syracuse, despite turning in one of their worst offensive efforts of the entire season. In that game, Mouphtaou Yarou was the only Villanova player who shot 50% or better, and Darrun Hilliard and Ryan Arcidiacono missed six and five three pointers respectively, while only combining to make one. Daniel Ochefu, the player with the second best field goal percentage on the team went one for six on mostly layup/dunk type plays. Any way you shake it, Villanova played extremely sloppy during the game two Saturday's ago.

On the Syracuse side last game, CJ Fair essentially took over and won the game after halftime. Something like this cannot happen again, but if it does, I'm pretty sure that it won't be Fair doing all the scoring this time, because I think Villanova will take that away from them, but it could still be someone like noted ugly person Brandon Triche, who is leading the Orange in scoring this season. At the same time, Villanova has been pretty good at shutting down high volume scoring opposing guards as of late.

Villanova gave Syracuse a game last time on the road while playing poorly. If the crowd's into it and they play like they did on tuesday against Louisville, we could have another upset on our hands. Of course, losing by 30 is also a possibility, because this season is goofy.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jay Wright: "We Can Beat Anybody"

"I think college basketball is really changing. Especially with the leagues breaking up and everything. I think a team like Butler, having been to the final four twice in the last two years, shows that anybody is going to have a shot. I think Temple this year, they have a shot, because once you get into the tournament it’s all about matchups. It’s all about matchups. If you get the right matchups, you can advance and I think we’re the same way. If we get it going we can, I mean, we just proved it, LaSalle just proved it. We can beat anybody."
That's a confident man. Let's beat Syracuse first though.

Villanova-Louisville Highlights


Ignore the SportsCenter pronunciations.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Photographic Proof That Last Night's Win Was Big


Above Kevin Hart, and black people and tween girls/Justin Bieber fans dominate twitter!

A Watershed Moment


Last night was awesome. With a fantastic defensive effort, Villanova beat a team that probably should have beaten them by double digits. The relatively lean crowd made lots of noise, and students stormed the court after the game. Yes, they turned the ball over too much, and committed too many fouls, but they forced Louisville to do many of the same things and came out victorious. It's moments like this, after coming off of two uninspired performances that serve to give us hope; to realize that this team is indeed getting better, and that the coaches are selling is indeed working.

Just like eight years ago, this Villanova team looks to have turned a corner that will bring them out of the current lull that they are in and back to where they belong. Although aggravating to watch at time, this team deserves a hell of a lot of credit for continuing to get demonstrably better, especially on defense. They have found their identity, and hopefully they will be able to build on it.

Is Villanova basketball back? It's well too early to tell, but it's starting to look better for the future. Until Saturday, my advice is to just revel.

Awesome Picture


Totally justified court storming last night.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

VILLANOVA BEATS LOUISVILLE!

EXACTLY EIGHT YEARS TO THE DAY AFTER THE WIN THAT BROUGHT VILLANOVA BASKETBALL BACK, THE 'CATS KNOCK OFF A TOP FIVE TEAM!!

I want to kiss JayVaughn Pinkston.

 This is a Van Hagar occasion because it FEELS SO GOOD!

 

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!


These things are HORRIFYING. Image courtesy of VUHoops.

Seriously though.. Why doesn't Nike roll this shit out for their pet school, Oregon? These are gross, as are Villanova's regular jerseys. Bring back the throwbacks.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Villanova-Louisville Primer


Gulp.

On paper, this is the most lopsided home matchup for a Villanova team in quite some time. By any objective measure, Louisville is a top five team, and even worse for Villanova, they're one of the two or three best offensive teams in the nation, as is so characteristic of a team coached by Rick Pitino. Another thing that doesn't bode well for Villanova is the fact that the Cardinals are coming off a pretty painful loss this Saturday at Syracuse, so they've probably been getting screamed at in practice.

So what must Villanova do to win? A lot. In no particular order, they need to slow down Russ Smith, protect the ball, establish the outside shot, limit Louisville's points off of turnovers, force turnovers, score points off of turnovers, and hope to get some luck. Even then, it might not be enough, because this Louisville team is National Championship good, and Villanova is very far from that.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Refs, Turnovers Kill Villanova at Providence


Villanova played a beatable Providence team today. Unfortunately, they turned the ball over way too much, were playing five against eight, and wound up losing 69-66. Normally I don't complain about officiating, but  when a regulation game takes more than two and half hours to complete, and there are over 50 fouls called, then it is absolutely excessive, and therefore I am willing to talk about it. From the beginning of the game, Providence held a consistent advantage in the free throw department, and Villanova was able to hold a lead because of PC's ineptitude on that front. Unfortunately, they started making them at a decent clip and Villanova only shot about 68% from the line themselves.

Ironically, this was a game where Villanova shot inordinately well in every area, other than the foul line of course. With the exception of three players, they shot really well, with Mouphtaou Yarou, Tony Chennault, and James Bell combining for an abysmal 2-16. The rest of the team went 20-33, including JayVaughn Pinkston, who had 20 points on 8-10 shooting.

But yeah, sloppy play, with some home cooking does not bode well for success.

Villanova is Surrounded by Assholes

Just read this article in its entirety  and you'll get what I'm talking about. First Radnor, now Lower Merion. People don't seem to understand that college students are going to drink, and that Villanova has a dry campus that they do a pretty good job of enforcing. Bars should stop serving underage kids, and Lower Merion should stop giving tickets to drunk kids who are walking home from a bar instead of driving.

Kris Jenkins Interview and Highlights


Jenkins scored 22 in Gonzaga's nine point win over DeMatha Catholic, he's #2 in white.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Villanova-Providence Primer


Tomorrow afternoon, Villanova will travel to the Dunkin Donuts Center, America's most awesomely named arena, and a veritable house of horrors for Villanova over the years to take on Catholic Seven rival Providence. At first glance, Providence does not look as if they are that good, carrying only a 9-8 record and starting 1-4 in Big East play, but that is slightly deceiving given that they have already played against Syracuse, Louisville, and Georgetown. Don't get me wrong, they also have a pretty shitty loss to an Ivy League team, but then again, so does Villanova. One thing that has not been on PC's side this year is luck. according to Ken Pomeroy, they are one of the bottom 30 teams in the nation in luck, which is pretty different from Villanova, who were up in the top 50 up until last week and are now perched at 94.

So what does Villanova need to do to win? Basically, they can't let anyone other than Bryce Cotton have a good game, and it would be particularly nice if they prevented Cotton from having a good game.

Villanova Jumbotron Introduction


Here's the introduction video that will be playing for Villanova games at the Wells Fargo Center. At least it's not like the TV promo that's basically just a player (I think Ryan Arcidiacono) dribbling in place for the entire duration. Also, if this team was any good, and the fans didn't suck, Jay Wright saying "We need you Nova Nation" at the end would be so disproportionately motivational.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Villanova loses to Pitt: A Postmortem

Poor shooting and turnovers. A far too common refrain. After a long winning streak that felt pretty good, Villanova has fallen into something familiar: A losing streak. With the more difficult part of the Big East schedule, Villanova has lost a game that they needed to win. So now it's NIT or bust, and time to pray that Dylan Ennis, Josh Hart, and Kris Jenkins can play.

*Writes in notebook* Villanova season over

Well

At least Jay Wright's girlfriend was fake too, right?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jay Wright Lying to Villanova Fans


"The best student section in the country." 

I wish it were true Jay, but the last time Pitt came to the Pavilion, it was pretty pathetic.

Villanova Hosts Pitt, Hopefully For the Last Time Ever

Never Forget
 
If you can't tell already, I really dislike Pitt, and not for something as simple and petty as their blocking Villanova from moving up in football, but rather because I think that they, along with West Virginia were the single most culpable actors in the death of the Big East as we know it. Other than Rutgers, there is also no fan base in all of college sports with a more elevated opinion of itself than Pitt's. I honestly have little interest after this year of playing against Pitt in a non-NCAA Tournament environment.

Alright, now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about the game tomorrow night at the Pavilion.

First off, Pitt is one of the best offensive teams in the country, and easily the best offensive team Villanova will have played so far, shooting almost 50 percent as a team, and ranking eighth in Ken Pomeroy's tempo-free rankings. This could be a problem for a Villanova team that can struggle at times on defense. Luckily, the Panthers aren't as balanced between offense and defense as Syracuse was, so Villanova should have an easier time scoring points. Of course, I do not expect Pitt to miss nearly as many shots as Syracuse does, and that positively effects team defense. Still though, Pitt has one of the weakest defensive strengths of schedule of any team in the country, so they might be benefiting quite a bit from that, we'll never know. What we do know is that Pitt has struggle in Big East play, losing to Cincinnati, Rutgers, and Marquette, while puzzlingly destroying Georgetown by 28 points.

At the time of publication, Pitt is favored by four points, and I think that is actually very reasonable. Don't bet the house on this one, folks.

Monday, January 14, 2013

African Kids Singing the Villanova Fight Song


The description of the video: 
I was volunteering in Swaziland for two months and for after school sports I was told to teach the kids a fight song. The only one I knew was Villanova University.'s...they changed the colors around to match their team's but it's still awesome haha. For more information about this amazing community and ways you can help please visit www.bulembu.org
Awesome.

Norman White Invited to NFLPA All-Star Game



I assume that a good performance here would be followed by a combine invite.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Syracuse Headed For an NCAA Tournament Ban?

 Fab Melo in Court (because I can)

Yesterday's game between Syracuse and Villanova featured the conspicuous absence of forward James Southerland, one of the best players for the Orange. Syracuse cited Federal privacy laws to keep silent about the reasoning, but CBS Sports reported that it is in fact an academic issue. Academic issues are nothing new for Syracuse, as Fab Melo, now of the Celtics was suspended and ultimately dismissed last year after getting into multiple academic SNAFUs.

If Southerland is somehow unable to get his grades in check, this could be a big problem for Syracuse as they are right on the cusp of being ineligible for a future NCAA Tournament, following the example of UConn this year.

This is what happens when you have a coach with a long track record of not holding his players accountable for their actions.

Song/Album of the Day: 1/13/2012


45 years ago today, Johnny Cash along with the Tennessee Three and June Carter performed two concerts for the prisoners of California's infamous Folsom Prison. They were recorded, and the result of that is now widely considered one of the great albums in history.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cold Shooting Dooms Villanova at Syracuse


Today, Villanova got a Syracuse team that was beatable, and even held a lead going into the second half, but Syracuse started making shots that they had previously missed, began capitalizing on  Villanova's mistakes, and then once the crowd got into the game, Syracuse started getting calls that they hadn't been previously. In the end, it was a 72-61 game. Overall, I can't be that upset, because while I thought that Villanova had it in them to win this game, which was demonstrated on the court, I did not expect them to actually win the game.Syracuse was also held below their scoring average for the season, while Villanova scored more points than the average Syracuse opponent normally scores.

For the good guys, JayVaughn Pinkston led the way with 12 points on 3 of 9 shooting, and Mouphtaou Yarou had his second consecutive double-double, finishing with 11 points and 14 rebounds. For Syracuse, CJ Fair had 22 points, basically single-handedly turning the tide of the game by scoring 11 of his team's first 15 points in the second half. Villanova also got unlucky in the sense that Syracuse shot significantly better than par from the free throw line, and they actually wound up shooting fewer free throws than their opponent for what seems like the first time this season.

It's a bummer to lose such a game, but there are winnable games coming up, the first of which is this coming Wednesday against Pitt at the Pavilion.

Ty Johnson Played Today For Villanova?


According to ESPN's box score, he had a turnover and no other stats.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Farewell to the Dome: Villanova-Syracuse Preview

The worst

Tomorrow at noon, Villanova will play its final conference game at Syracuse, putting a sometimes bi-yearly matchup that fans of both schools look forward to on hiatus, at least for the time being. This year, Syracuse is very good, but within the last three weeks they've lost to Temple, and had close calls against Providence and South Florida, both teams that are probably worse than Villanova. The difference between this game and those two games is that Cuse was away in both of them. Historically, Villanova has done quite well in the Carrier Dome, winning three of their last four in the building, but past team success is not necessarily a good predictor.

On the floor, Syracuse's best player is Michael Carter-Williams, who was not suspended after he decided to boost a bathrobe and a pair of gloves from a Syracuse area Lord & Taylor, which is only a small blip in the long history of unpunished and lightly punished crimes by players on the Syracuse basketball team under Jim Boeheim. Why would someone steal a bathrobe? That's veering a bit far off topic though. Anyhow, Carter-Williams is the national leader in assists per game with 9.6, which is 1.2 per game better than the average of his closest competitior, and was listed in the top ten performing players in the country by Ken Pomeroy last weekend. He also plays excellent defense, which is problematic for Villanova, because Ryan Arcidiacono, and the team in general have shown a proclivity for turnovers.

To me, the key to this game is for Villanova to protect the ball, make shots from the outside against Syracuse's zone, and force Syracuse, a poor shooting team from the perimeter to shoot a lot of three pointers. If Syracuse are double-digit favors, I'd pick Villanova in this game.

Put Money on Villanova

Opening line is +17.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Feeling Stronger Every Day


The ladies love Cetera

The best way to judge a coaching staff's performance is the improvement of a team as a season goes on. Last season, that did not happen much, but this season, it is clear to anyone who has followed the Villanova basketball team that they have made significant gains from where they were at the early part of the season, and I think that is a testament to the coaching staff.

College coaches have two jobs essentially: the first is to recruit talent, and the second is to develop that talent into a team. The in game portion of coaching is vastly overrated, which is why even Phil Jackson couldn't fix the current Lakers, despite conventional wisdom saying otherwise. Sure, there's motivation and all of that jazz, but a college coach has two primary roles: a headhunter and a teacher.

Jay Wright has a deserved reputation for being an excellent recruiter, but I think the area where he gets shortchanged is his ability to foster an environment where each player improves significantly, and buys into the system. There may be some notable failures in that area in recent years, but there are also players like Maurice Sutton, who walked on campus as a completely useless scrub, but will leave as a useful basketball player who has proved that he belongs in the Big East. Dante Cunningham came to Villanova as a useful rotational player, but he left a star, and it looks like he's going to have a very long pro career. The list of players who have gotten demonstrably better under Jay is much longer than those who stagnated or transferred out. I feel like we as Villanova fans have lost sight of this over the last 24 months or so. A coach cannot force a player to buy in to a program, nor can he wave a magic wand and turn a malcontent into a highly-motivated model citizen.

The future is coming, it's not looking quite as dark as it did just five weeks ago, and I think Jay and the coaching staff deserve a hell of a lot of credit for that.

Video: Josh Hart Fluff Piece

View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.

From the Washington NBC affiliate.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Villanova Beats USF 61-53*


Led by the best game of the season by senior forward Mouphtaou Yarou, one where he finished in double figures in both scoring and rebounding with 16 and 14 respectively, Villanova beat USF tonight after controlling the game virtually the entire way. Also notable was the first career start of Daniel Ochefu, something that I called for last week. Ochefu did not disappoint, finishing in double figures in points with 12, showing a knack for scoring interior points, and very nearly finishing in double figures in rebounds with eight. Rounding out the Villanova players in double figures was JayVaughn Pinkston, who finished with 15 points. Ryan Arcidiacono didn't match his performance from last game, finishing with only points, but most importantly, he took care of the basketball, turning the ball over only once, in the waning moments of the game.

This is a big win, because while USF is not a very good team, Villanova capitalized on their opportunities and actually played defense. In this new season, Villanova is 2-0.

*USF scored on a heave at the end of the game, depriving Villanova of a double-digit win.

Meet Jordan Omogbehin, Giant



Jordan Omogbehin is a backup center for the USF basketball team, originally from Lagos, Nigeria. This picture doesn't do it justice, but he's listed at 7-3, 334 pounds. He went to Montrose Christian, and he's not particularly skilled, averaging less than two points per game in very few minutes.

He would have fit in perfectly at Villanova.

Still though, he's very tall.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Villanova Men's Track Season Preview

Sam Ellison
You could say that this is the dawn of a new era for the Villanova track team, they are as young as they have been in quite a while, and very competitive. The top senior on the team is probably Mathew Mildenhall, but he is one of a large group of versatile distance runners who can run anything from 1500-5000m capably. Last year, Villanova had two athletes combine for three All-American honors, with Sam McEntee getting honors in the indoor mile and outdoor 1500, and Sam Ellison making the finals of the outdoor 800m. When you factor in the talented freshman on this Villanova team, some of whom are already All-American quality, we could be seeing something special in the making. As is usually the case, this team is heavily biased towards events longer than one lap, but that is usually the case for a Villanova track team. Still though, there are some decent jumpers, as well as some promising young sprinters.

Sprints 

With the graduation of the most proven sprinter on the team, hurdler Nicoy Hines, Villanova's group of sprinters is as young as it has been in quite some time. The most experienced returner on the team is quarter-miler Bryan Murphy, who qualified for the Big East Championship outdoors in the 400 last year, and was the 400 leg on Villanova's distance medley relay at both the NCAA Indoor Championship, and the Penn Relays. Other than Murphy, there isn't much to speak of on the returning side. Some lesser names to remember include Jake Stillings, Cory Serfoss, and University of Delaware transfer Kyle Chou.

As far as the newcomers come, there are a pair of promising young sprinters from New Jersey in Donald Urschel and Alex Reber, both of whom did well in the New Jersey State Meet. Both of these freshmen are versatile Urschel has range from 100-400m, while Reber has very solid times in distances between 200m and the 400 hurdles. Both could be very useful pieces, both in the conference, and in relays. Urschel ran the 60m and the 300m at the season opening Jack Pyrah Invitational, and was Villanova's top finisher in both, while Reber did not run. 

Distance

Ah, the bread and butter of the Villanova team, the area where they easily have the most depth, and where they have had the most historic success. This group returns two All-Americans in junior half-miler Sam Ellison, and sophomore/junior sub-four minute miler Sam McEntee. There are also other upperclassmen, especially Mathew Mildenhall who is capable of contending for conference titles and making it to national meets. Also returning is Rob Denault, who ran the 1500m equivalent of a sub-4 mile last year and went to represent his native Canada in the World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain., and Chris FitzSimons, who along with Ellison represents the best pair of 800m runners that Villanova has had in quite a some time, as they finished 1-2 in the Big East Championship at the event. If I were to pick an existing member of the team making a breakthrough though, it would be Alex Tully, who has improved over his career, and had a massive breakthrough in the Mid-Atlantic Regional cross country race.

The bevy of newcomers to this group are one of the reasons why this season has the potential to be so exciting. Australian freshman Jordy Williamsz is arguably the single greatest distance recruit that Villanova has ever had, with an 800m PR close to that of Sam Ellison, and a 1500m PR slightly better than that of Sam McEntee (in the same race). Williamsz also has an international pedigree, having worn an Australia vest on multiple occasions. Also from Australia is Patrick Tiernan, who is new to campus this semester. Other Villanova freshman distance runners include Josh Lampron, Kieran Brennan, and Harry Warnick, but all three of them seem poised to red shirt, as none of them wore Villanova vests at .

Field Events

On the field side of things, be on the lookout for Elbert Maxwell, who is the best on the team in both the long jump and the high jump, and could come close to clearing seven feet in the high jump.

The Villanova men also have a pretty solid pole vault group, with Charlie Kido winning the event at the Jack Pyrah Invitational.

Don't expect much from the men's throws this year, they're young and good people have graduated.
________________________________________________________________________________

The season continues this Friday in the New York City Gotham Cup at the Armory New York, but I expect that many of the team's top runners won't run in their prime events until the meet at Penn State, which begins on January 25th. Sandwiched between those two meets, there is another meet at the Armory on January 18th, which is hosted by the University of Albany.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ryan Arcidiacono is Big East Rookie of the Week Again


After his dominant, 32 point performance against St. John's, it's no surprise that Ryan "Hubris" Arcidiacono is getting the recognition that he is. This is the second time in as many weeks that he's received the honor.

The Villanova basketball team returns on Wednesday at South Florida. They will win.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Maalik Wayns Waived By 76ers


You can't be an NBA guard and shoot 23% from the field. Hope he catches on elsewhere, but unfortunately, I don't see Maalik having much of an NBA career if he was on this short of a leash on such a bad team.

Hilarious Quote From the Past

"Cheek's shooting range has been deemed 'intergalactic' by talent evaluator Tom Konchalski"
The quote above was from a July 2008 SI.com article about Dominic Cheek. Apparently, "intergalactic" roughly translates to "31%"

$5 Million a Year for Basketball? YES PLEASE

 TO THE MONEYBIN!

ESPN's @darrenrovell (douchebag) is reporting that FOX Sports has offered the Catholic 7 a deal that could pay the schools as much as $5 million a year. Considering the fact that ESPN generally tries to outbid their competitors for everything, (because they can) this is tremendous news for all parties, especially because it is double the money of what Villanova is currently getting, if only as a starting point.

Be happy that the Catholic schools took initiative and it might end up paying off, you guys. Also, laugh at Temple because they're going to go broke.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Villaustralia: 'Cats Get Yet Another Aussie


This January, yet another champion Australian runner, Patrick Tiernan will join the Villanova track team with four whole years of eligibility. The 18 year old Tiernan, who is from Toowoomba, Queensland is the reigning Australian U20 1500m, 5000m, and cross country champion.

Tiernan will join Sam McEntee and Jordy Williamsz to become the third Australian on the Villanova track team. Villanova also has Mathew Mildenhall, who is from New Zealand.

Here's video of Tiernan winning the Aussie 1500m junior title:


Friday, January 4, 2013

Exclusive Information on the C7's New Counsel


I hear he has a Law Blog.

It's Time For Daniel Ochefu's Trial by Fire


In the last few Villanova games, freshman center Daniel Ochefu has gone to the rim with authority on well more than one occasion. A player who asserts himself at the rim is something that Villanova has sorely lacked in recent years. While Maurice Sutton has shown flashes of an ability to score in the post, and is probably the better player at this point, there is a cost-benefit analysis that must be done, since Ochefu is a true freshman, and Sutton is a fifth year senior who will not be back next season unless he grows a beard, changes his name, and pretends to be foreign (or if he's John Linehan, who started at point guard at Providence for a decade).

The point is that this is probably at best a team that will finish .500 in the Big East, which means it's a bubble team in a good scenario. Unless the coaches feel that there is a better than 50% chance that this team will make it to the NCAA Tournament at this point in the season, then the minute distribution in the front court should be altered so that Daniel Ochefu is getting the lion share of the minutes that are currently being given to Mouphtaou Yarou and Maurice Sutton, because he'll need experience for next year's team, which is shaping up to have a very thin front line.

Villanova #NikeRoar Suggestions


Nike basketball's campus roar is back, and Villanova is participating again/taking submissions for a t-shirt that will come out in March. All you have to do is tweet your suggestion along with the hashtags #NikeRoar and #Nova.

Here are some of my dumb suggestions

Infinite Hubris #NikeRoar #Nova
Who Wants to Sex Mouphtaou? #NikeRoar #Nova
Villanova Basketball: One Singular Sensation #NikeRoar #Nova
Villanova Basketball: Now MSG-Free #NikeRoar #Nova
Give Our Regards to Broadway #NikeRoar #Nova
Villanova Basketball: Irrelevant Since 2010 #NikeRoar #Nova

Just make sure something stupid doesn't win.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Jay Wright, Ryan Arcidiacono, and JayVaughn Pinkston Press Conference


Some highlights:
  • D'Angelo Harrison was very good, but Jay thinks that James Bell did a good job in the second half when he was guarding him.
  • Jay thinks that Villanova played well defensively in overtime. 
  • JVP did a good job trapping, Ochefu had big rebounds, and Darrun Hilliard's steals were pivotal in overtime.
You watch the rest.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ryan Arcidiacono and JayVaughn Pinkston Beat St. John's in Overtime


In a game that took overtime, and nearly three hours, to finally put away, Villanova Ryan Arcidiacono and JayVaughn Pinkston beat St. John's tonight by a deceptive final margin of 98-86. Now, Pinkston and Arcidiacono didn't do all of it themselves, because they only combined for 58 of Villanova's 98 points (Arcidiacono with 32 and Pinkston with 26), but there were long periods of the game where it felt like they were the only two players on the court. Most importantly in a game that was officiated by Jim Burr, the two combined to make 20 free throws.

The unsung hero of the game was James Bell, whose numbers didn't show up as much on the stat sheet, finishing the game with only five points, but in the latter moments of the game and in overtime, he absolutely smothered D'Angelo Harrison, who finished the game with a game high 36 points, a glowing endorsement of contact lenses.

It wasn't pretty by any means, but this Villanova team has proven that it can close games that are close late, something that they haven't been able to do in recent years.

It's a new season, and Villanova is 1-0

Ross Ventrone Signed by Steelers


Villanova graduate turned transient NFLer Ross Ventrone, who spent almost all of last season bouncing between the Patriots practice squad and active roster has been signed by his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

This is Ventrone's second team. The NFL playoffs begin this weekend, but the Steelers did not make them.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Quick Villanova-St. John's Primer

Steve Lavin's Wife
 
Here we are, the moment of truth. We'll finally find out if Villanova is improved over last year. Perhaps not in the first game of the conference schedule, because St. John's is relatively equal in quality to Villanova, but probably within the next week and a half, when they'll  play South Florida and Syracuse, both on the road.

So what is there to know about St. John's? They're pretty equal to Villanova by almost any metric, perhaps slightly better on defense, which could cause problems, because Villanova has been prone to turning the ball over. Luckily, St. John's is an even worse team offensively than Villanova, which should help.

Basically if Villanova can hold SJU(NY) to their mediocre shooting ways while not shooting horribly themselves, they should win. You never know with this Villanova team though.

The Top Villanova Moment of 2012: Sheila Reid Gets Her Watch


After four years of cross country and indoor eligibility, five NCAA titles, and three Penn Relays passed without a win, Sheila Reid, one of the most decorated runners in the history of Villanova track and field had only one thing left to achieve: A Penn Relays title. Villanova had won the distance medley relay, the signature event of the relays nine times, and Reid had anchored an NCAA title winning indoor relay in 2011, but a dropped baton on the opening leg at Penn that year took the Wildcats out of the race, while Big East rivals Georgetown wound up winning the race. In the 4x1500m relay the next day, Reid and Villanova were shut out again, this time by Boston College.

On April 26, 2012, the opening day of the college portion of the Penn Relays, Reid would get one final opportunity to win at Penn. With help from Emily Lipari, Christie Verdier, and Nicky Akande, she was able to do that. It was an awesome thing.

The rest of the 2012 season did not go exactly as planned, but Reid wound up making the Olympics for her home country of Canada, running the 5000m.

In a year where not many good things happened watching Sheila Reid make "history" was the top moment to me.