Brian's Villanova link

Submitted by spiff on March 30th, 2018 at 2:53 PM

Reading the link on Jay Wright turning Villanova into VILLA f'ing NOVA made me wonder. I am a pretty big college basketball fan, but I get the sense that prior to this year they and he didn't get a ton of credit/publicity.

Maybe it was the turmoil/turnover in the Big East the past few years?

Is it the lack of 5 star NBA prospects? Randy Foye and Kyle Lowry played there over a decade ago, not a lot since.

Maybe their lack of Tournement success (Nat'l Champ not withstanding)? In the two years prior to their NC, they were a combined 62-8, but got bounced in the 2nd round each year, last year they didn't get past the first weekend either.

I feel like they came out of nowhere for that title, but I guess not.

I don't know. Hard to argue with his success at a high level, does anyone else get that feeling as well? Maybe I just overlooked them and Wright's coaching acumen.



March 30th, 2018 at 2:58 PM ^

I think any residual lack of attention to Jay Wright dried up when they won the national title. Prior to that they were perennial contenders that suffered some early upsets--they weren't coming from out of nowhere. Wright is unquestionably one of the best coaches in college basketball, if not the best there is. 


March 30th, 2018 at 3:02 PM ^

After the four-guard teams. There were either a lot of one win and out, or, with the 09 Final Four run, being run out of the building in the first game.


March 30th, 2018 at 3:13 PM ^

Jay Wright's tenure at Villanova has a lot of early exits despite being a fairly high seed, but they did get to the Sweet 16 twice as a 5-seed and 12-seed as well, which might have been slight overperformance given the seed and expecations. It's not great evidence, but it is there. Actually, I think since 2005, the only time they might have missed at least getting into the Tournament is 2012 (I think), which is a decent rate of success against expectations by most standards despite the lack of deep runs. It's been a slow process, but Wright's gotten them to a place where the previous guy - Steve Lappas, I believe - couldn't get them. 

panthera leo fututio

March 30th, 2018 at 3:25 PM ^

I think a big part of it is the decline in prominence of the Big East. They don't really have any premier conference matchups other than Xavier and maybe Butler, and Xavier's in the same position of not having national hype commensurate with their playing level.

(Also, if you haven't, this is a good time to recommend watching the Big East 30 for 30. Easily one of my favorite 30 for 30s, gives a great look at the glory years of the conference and the tragedy of its demise)


March 30th, 2018 at 6:09 PM ^

I know Georgetown has been down recently but Nova/G'Town is a premeir rivalry in the sport.  I really couldn't disagree with you more about the current state of the Big East either.  I don't know how you could watch "Requiem for the Big East" and not understand that what made the conference great to begin with is what will sustain it in the future.  Small, like-minded basketball schools from major metropolitan areas.


March 30th, 2018 at 3:30 PM ^

As a Temple alum I cannot stand Villanova, their beautiful Main Line suburban campus or their greasy and debateably ethical coach Jay Wright. I mostly dislike Villanova and their 46-42 lead in the Big 5 rivalry in Philly.


Hold This L

March 30th, 2018 at 4:29 PM ^

The coach, the players, the team as a whole. Don’t mean to offend anyone, I just think they play in a terrible conference that gets overrated every year (see other big east teams in tourney) then they get the benefit of the doubt on every call (see West Virginia game) especially when they aren’t playing well so they stay in the game. Brunson commits an offensive foul every time he drives with that off arm and flails his body when a guy plays solid defense and gets the call. He’s a good shooter and that’s about it for me. His defense is overrated. Bridges is athletic and makes his shots, from anywhere, but doesn’t create for himself off the dribble, his defense is overrated, just like everyone on their team. Easy to look good when you haven’t played an average offensive team in the tournament. Michigan has. Honestly spellman is by far their best individual player. Their reputation intimidates teams without the same reputation (see bama, West Virginia, Texas tech) and those teams stay in it until nova makes a couples shot then their opponent presses on offense when they are already bad offensively and they shoot themselves out of the game. Nova goes on a run thanks to a couple contested made shots and very soft foul calls and they win by double digits. The same recipe every game against bad teams. Let’s see what they do when a team has more talent and isn’t intimidated by their logo (see Kansas).

Mich fan in AZ

March 30th, 2018 at 7:18 PM ^

I won't deny that Kansas may have the talent offensively to hang with Nova. However, there is no ignoring that their defense is by far the weakest left in the dance. I really think the only way Nova loses is if they have a very cold night, on top of having issues keeping the Jayhawks as bay with their defense. It could be a very close, high-scoring game though. I'm going to guess a final score of something like 85-80, with Nova on top.


March 30th, 2018 at 5:40 PM ^

I am grad of both schools and have watched probably 75% of both teams' games this season. 

My take on Nova has changed dramatically over the last 4 weeks.  Prior to the Big East tournament, they were an offensive juggernaut that played defense primarily because that's what you do when you don't have the ball.  It felt half hearted at times and teams frequently got good open looks on them. They won by not turning the ball over, making a ton of threes, and taking advantage of opponents' self inflicted mistakes.  When they weren't shooting well, they either lost or came very close to losing.  When their offense was on, they blew people out. 

Then in a press conference before the Big East Tournament, Jay Wright acknowledged his teams shortcomings on defense and he challenged his team to step it up.  And to their credit, the players responded.  The defense they played in the BET and first four game of the NCAA is exceedingly better than what I saw all season.

I LOVE this Michigan team, especially how they have figured out how to win ugly.  I would argue Villanova has finallly figured out how to win ugly.

If we could get Michigan and Villanova in the championship game and have the non-ugly versions of both teams show up, it would be an incredible event. 

Mich fan in AZ

March 30th, 2018 at 6:40 PM ^

I've said it in another post that Villanova's Kenpom defense number of 94.6 would be very high for a champion if they do win. However, I do indeed see a couple of impressive performances in the tournament so far. Their defense gave up fewer than .9 points per possession against both Alabama and Texas Tech. Maybe the Big East has strong offenses, and perhaps these two teams do not. However, this is still pretty impressive no matter how you slice it and dice it. Besides, other than against A&M, we haven't exactly lit it up on offense since the BTT.

I do agree though, if both Michigan and Nova make it and play their best against each other, it will be a game for the ages. I could easily see it coming down to the last possession even. Something just tells me that Michigan will play a lot more loose in the championship game, should they beat Loyola, than they have so far in the big dance (except against A&M).