Villanova 2009 NCAA Tournament Preview
Villanova Wildcats - Big East Conference (26-7, 13-5)
Seed: #3 - East Region
Big Wins: 1/28 Pittsburgh (67-57), 2/7 Syracuse (102-85), 2/22 at Syracuse (89-86)
Bad Losses: 12/9 vs Texas (58-67), 1/1 at Marquette (72-79), 2/28 Georgetown (54-56)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, Sweet Sixteen loss to Villanova
Coach: Jay Wright (7-6 in 6 NCAA appearances
Probable Villanova Starters:
Scottie Reynolds, Junior, Guard, 15.5 ppg, 3.6 apg
Reggie Redding, Junior, Guard, 6.8 ppg, 3.0 apg, 4.8 rpg
Dwayne Anderson, Senior, Guard, 8.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Shane Clark, Senior, Forward, 5.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Dante Cunningham, Senior, Forward, 16.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg
Key Villanova Roleplayers:
Corey Fisher, Sophomore, Guard, 10.8 ppg, 2.8 apg
Antonio Pena, Sophomore, Forward, 5.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg
Corey Stokes, Sophomore, Guard, 9.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Why The Wildcats Can Surprise:
Villanova’s leading scorer is a forward, but the next five are all guards. Dwayne Anderson, Corey Fisher, Reggie Redding, Scottie Reynolds and Corey Stokes have all started at least a dozen games this season. Reynolds is the leader on the floor. The 6-2 junior averaged 15.5 points and 3.6 assists during the regular season. Reynolds is a solid shooter from long range and will always be effective getting to the basket. He gets to the line 5.6 times per game and that is quite impressive for a guard. Reynolds is also one of the best free-throw shooters in the nation so it is also a good thing for him to get to the line.
Corey Stokes is the other main long range threat for the Wildcats, but every guard on the roster is a threat to hit a three-pointer or two. And every guard is good at something and Coach Jay Wright has the luxury to mix and match his backcourt depending on the situation and the competition.
Why The Wildcats Can Disappoint:
By the numbers, Villanova is a pretty solid team. They rebound well, play good defense, keep the turnovers down and can actually hit free-throws. However, forward Antonio Pena struggled during Big East play and was eventually benched in favor of Shane Clark. Clark is not much of a scorer, especially in the paint. The 6-7 senior has done well when the team needed him, but he plays more like a tall guard than a power forward. It was Pena who would back down the opposition, work hard on the glass and do the dirty work around the basket. Pena, at the least for depth purposes, needs to get back to his earlier form.
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Who To Watch:
The Wildcats do not necessarily need Pena to score since they have Dante Cunningham. The 6-8 senior leads the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. It is not everyday that a single player leads a team in all those categories. Cunningham’s versatility is a big plus and he compliments the talented guards very well. It is because of Cunningham’s presence in the paint that all the guards have the opportunity to take open three’s or the space to get to the basket. Cunningham has only been stopped this year by foul trouble and if he can avoid committing bad fouls, the Wildcats can make a deep tournament run.
Villanova By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.3 (37th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.7 (142, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.1 (66, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.5 (45, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (128, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.9 (65, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.8 (30, 1)
Rebound Margin: 3.9 (51, 5)
Assists Per Game: 15.0 (64, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.1 (103, 9)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Elite Eight loss to Pittsburgh
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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