All I’ve been hearing going into this game is how Villanova is vulnerable, they’ve lost twice already in Philly, Conor Gillespie is questionable and how +7,5 is free money; I’m not buying it. While most, if not all, of these things might be true don’t be fooled by Jay Wright’s Wildcats. Villanova is rounding into form again and they’ve won 5 consecutive games, as well as 5 straight versus you know who. This Villanova team may not be as good as the two teams that won the title for Nova but the Crier believes they can still win it all this year. There is no GREAT team in college hoops and if you are going to tell me Kansas, I will tell you they beat them. Led by steady PG Collin Gillespie the Wildcats are surrounded by long players, similar to the Friars. Saddiq Bey and Jermaine Samuels are great on the perimeter and good defenders as well. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, while he got eaten by Nate Watson in the January matchup, does not play like a freshman and is a scoring big. Oh yeah, and they have a McDonalds All-American riding pine! They are ranked top-12 in NET for a reason. So while this task is a tall one for the Friars, what will it take to get it done?
For a little inspiration, the Crier looks towards the man who needs no introduction;
John Wick, Baba Yaga
Ed Cooley has told all of Friartown that we are the most desperate team in the country. The Friars need to play with the desperation of a guy that has a $15 million dollar bounty on his head. That means that they are going to have to crash the glass and get the majority of the 50/50 balls. The Friars may be up to that challenge, in the first matchup the Friars had +11 rebounding margin and +12 on the offensive glass vs the Cats. The Friars need to play with the aggressiveness of a guy who had his dog killed. The aggressiveness to take down Boban! PC was able to jump all over Marquette, as David Duke had an alley-oop fest
Villanova has been the best defensive team in the Big East, going 15-0 when holding an opponent under 70 ppg. The Friars will need to play the offense they’ve played in the last four games (75 ppg) for them to have a shot in this one. They need to continue to play free offensively, running plays to get multiple guys good looks. Pipkins needs to continue to attack off screens and either finish himself or find a teammate. We will need Duke more on the defensive end but cracking double digits in points would be a plus. Alpha Diallo to continue his redemption tour in making up for a lousy game against Villanova in the first meeting, to the point where he got benched. AJ has got to be ready for spot-up threes and look to get in a rhythm early. Maliek also has to continue his aggressiveness in attacking the basket and taking the three when its there. It is a race to 70+ points and the way they’ve been playing lately they have the horses to do it.
Given the Friars situation (16-12, 9-6, 50 NET, 49 Ken Pom) a win on the road Saturday afternoon isn’t a must. However, if they don’t win then the next two home games and a Big East second-round win is a must. That is why this is such a great opportunity for the Friars and what better time than Saturday the way they have been playing lately. The Friars will give Villanova their best shot, however, I said they’d have to play like John Wick. There is only one Baba Yega…
Friars 70, Villanova 76