Home > Uncategorized > What was exposed against Georgetown?

What was exposed against Georgetown?

Many reasons are being tossed around for Saturday’s 103-90 defeat at Georgetown.  Among them is the travel problems, wide foul discrepancy, hot Georgetown shooting (specifically, Jason Clark) and the poor Villanova shooting in the first half.  Now that Villanova has lost again, let’s examine some of the problems that have been exposed:

1) Fouls

While many will point to yesterday’s high foul total as partly the referee’s fault, the fact remains that Villanova is fouling at an extremely high rate.  The Wildcats have attempted the second most free throws in the conference in Big East games with 271 (USF leads with 273).  However, they also have allowed their opponents to attempt 287 free throws, including the 50 that Georgetown attempted on Saturday.

Limiting fouling is a complicated task because you do not want to limit your team’s aggressiveness.  However, the main reason that Villanova’s defense has struggled is because its opponents are getting so many chances to score with the clock stopped.  Perhaps it is a result of running such a small lineup, but the fact is Villanova needs to stop having its players get in foul trouble and consequently, allowing other teams free points.

2) Disappearance of the third scoring option

We know Scottie Reynolds is having a fantastic season, and that Corey Fisher is a great No. 2 option and one of the most underrated guards in the country.  What we don’t know is, who is that third option?  Here are how many times the rest of the team has scored in double-figures in the ten games of Big East play:

  • Antonio Pena: 3
  • Taylor King: 1
  • Corey Stokes: 4
  • Maalik Wayns: 4
  • Reggie Redding: 2
  • Dominic Cheek: 1

The fact is that Pena, Stokes and Redding need to improve their offensive outputs if this team is going to reach its potential.  They are the team’s veterans.  For example, Redding attempted just two shots on Saturday.  That is unacceptable.

Meanwhile, Wayns and King have to find their groove that they had earlier in the season.  They need to become like Fisher was last season for the team, where he came off the bench and gave them instant office.  Cheek will have more chances to score because he has been playing strong defense and that will earn him more minutes.

Does Villanova need seven guys in double-figures every night?  That would be nice, but a bit unrealistic.  Does it need a consistent third option?  Absolutely.  Don’t forget that last season, while Dante Cunningham and Reynolds were carrying the team for most of the season, it wasn’t until Dwayne Anderson found his offensive groove that the team became its most dangerous.

3) Defense

As different as this team is from last year’s, the 2010 group could learn a little from last year’s team.  Let’s rewind back to Feb. 13 of last season, roughly a year ago.  After winning six straight games, Villanova suffered a beat down at the hands of West Virginia, 93-72.  Much like this year, that loss was in the middle of a terrible defensive skid that saw the Wildcats give up 80+ points in six straight games from Feb. 4 to Feb. 22.

On Mar. 2, the team traveled to Notre Dame and shut down the Fighting Irish offense, allowing just 60 points.  From that game until the end of the season, Villanova’s defense was drastically improved.  In fact, it was perhaps the main reason the team went so far in the tournament.  Just ask UCLA and Duke, who were kept under wraps by the Wildcats all game long.

The lesson?  There is a lot of time, and quite honestly, Jay Wright would probably admit this team is further along than he would have imagined.  There are six new additions to this year’s team, and the hardest thing to get a young player to figure out when he comes from high school is the defensive adjustment that he now must make.  Wright stressed it early in the season and continues to stress it.

Eventually, his young kids will have to figure it out for this team to get back to the Final Four, and if that is on Mar. 2 again, we will once again being saying,”Just in time.”

– David Cassilo

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  1. February 8, 2010 at 5:20 am

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