This page has moved to a new address.

Getting inside: Our Q & A with a Villanova blogger

George Mason Basketball: Getting inside: Our Q & A with a Villanova blogger

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Getting inside: Our Q & A with a Villanova blogger

Now that we can put to rest the worries of having two injured starters, it's time to move on to getting an insiders' perspective on Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats this season. We had a Q & A session with the guys over at and learned a lot about the team.  Here is our exchange:

Villanova was one of the hottest teams to start the season down the stretch and lost in the 1st round of Big East tournament. What are the main factors that contributed to this? Was it mostly due to various injuries to key players?

Jay Wright probably would tell you that injuries had a lot to do with it, and it certainly didn't help to lose a player like Corey Stokes for as much time as we did this season. There were other injuries on the team as well, along with other issues that hurt depth down the stretch (like Mo Sutton missing curfews).

With depth issues, Jay Wright turned to an approach -- the "burn offense" -- that was wildly unsuccessful. [more on the "burn offense" here]

How would you describe the Wildcats on offense this season? What kind of pace best suits their game?

Villanova's offense works better when they use the shot clock and move the ball. It's not necessarily a matter of pace. The most consistent offensive weapon on this team is Corey Stokes, but he needs to be in a position to get the ball.

That said, a slightly faster pace seems to be most effective for Villanova. Earlier in the season, the 'Cats seemed to play a slightly-faster pace, with possessions in either the high-60s or low-70s most of the time. As the season went on (and fell apart), the 'Cats played fewer possessions and won fewer games.

What types of teams give Villanova the most problems on defense?

There is no real pattern in terms of defensive philosophy when it comes to Villanova's losses. They have losses to Zone teams, Man teams and teams that don't have a statistical lean either way.

Defenses that force turnovers have had, perhaps the most success against Villanova recently. In the more conservative offense that the 'Cats have used lately, the guards play very tentatively and have turned the ball over far too easily.

The last 10 minutes of GMU-Villanova game from last season in Puerto Rico

What do you think are the Wildcats biggest advantages over George Mason heading into this game?

Experience. It seems strange to say that when talking about a team that has more Sophomores than Seniors and Juniors combined, but Villanova has played a tough schedule in the Big East and the Senior class is going on to it's fourth NCAA tournament berth and were part of the last Villanova Final Four run.

Last season these two teams played each other in a thrilling game at the Puerto Rico Tip-off that came down to the last few seconds. Who would say are the most improved players for Villanova from that team last year?
The answer is probably Corey Stokes, but since Mouphtaou Yarou didn't even play in that game, perhaps he has a claim to that title as well.

Stokes played 22 minutes against George Mason in Puerto Rico last season and scored exactly one point. He averaged less than 10 points last year. This season, however, he has been lights out from deep and has shown stronger ability to dribble drive and create his own shot. He's averaging 15 points per game to sit less than a point per game behind Corey Fisher.

Stokes went from a bit player to a key piece for the 'Cats.

Who could be a potential x-factor for Jay Wright this Friday?

Well, the easy choice would be Isaiah Armwood, right?

More likely, it will be one of the guards. Maalik Wayns is the healthier of the two point guards on the team, and it seems like when he plays well, the 'Cats win. He doesn't have to put a big number on the scoreboard, but if he can play his game, score a few and distribute the ball to Stokes, Fisher and the Bigs, the offense should run pretty smoothly.

What is the injury status of Corey Stokes, Corey Fisher and Mouphtaou Yarou? Will they be 100% by game time?

Word from Jay Wright is that everyone is expected to be 100%. Yarou was sore after the USF game and he was held out of the second half of that game because of concussion concerns, but we've heard that the training staff expects him to be back to normal before Friday's game.

Predictions for Friday?

If Villanova uses the "burn" offense for more than 5 minutes during the game, they will lose by at least 10. If they come out and play to their strengths, they can probably win.

George Mason is good, and Jay Wright stresses defense, especially in games like this. I don't think it will be a blow out either way, but a close and exciting game.

Labels: ,


Anonymous Charlie Himel said...

On Luke Hancock 3:35 "I like his athleticism too, he's really deceptive."
Maybe the first time he was called "deceptively athletic" in his NCAA career.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Subrosa said...

We were wearing the yellow unis. We won't make that mistake again.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous overrated14 said...

Let' s not forget-Cam was out with cramps and Scottie Reynolds was playing for Villanova. Mason is not the same team it was last year. Difficult to compare when so many things have changed(for the better).

8:21 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Blog Counter