College Basketball Nation: hoyas-wildcats 011710

My guy versus your guy

January, 17, 2010
PHILADELPHIA --This game was direct from the playground: my guy versus your guy, straight up.

In a battle between two of the three players at the top of my Big East Player of the Year list, Greg Monroe came up with more points, but Scottie Reynolds came up with the W.

(I know I'll hear it from Notre Dame fans about Luke Harangody, but I put extra value on a player doing great things for a very good, national team and Monroe and Reynolds (along with Wes Johnson from Syracuse) fit that bill).

Monroe got the Hoyas thisclose to all the way back from a 15-point halftime deficit but couldn't quite get the Hoyas over the hump.

The reason? Mr. Big Shot. Reynolds scored on a power drive to the hoop, tucking the ball under his arm like a fullback to put the Wildcats up, 71-69. They would never surrender the lead again.

The win leaves Villanova unblemished and atop the Big East standings at 5-0 and reaffirms that the Wildcats are every bit as good this year as they were last. The guards are scrappy and fearless and the defense pesters teams out of their rhythm if not into outright turnovers.

But there is no shame in this loss for Georgetown. A year after they were a team with an identity crisis, the Hoyas have a very definitive identity: They play hard and tough and have a guy in Monroe who is a bona fide superstar. Villanova tried everyone but the guy in section 124 on him but no one could stop him. He has dizzying post moves and a great passing touch for a big man. He can even drain a 3 in a pinch.

When Chris Wright and Austin Freeman are having better nights than this one, Georgetown will be a formidable force.

OK then again I could be wrong

January, 17, 2010
PHILADELPHIA -- Who said Georgetown couldn't come back against Villanova?

Oh, right, that would be me. Let me get the size 7 1/2 out of my mouth here as I watch the Hoyas mount a furious rally to start the second half and cut the Wildcats' lead to five.

Georgetown is playing with more fire and doubling up Scottie Reynolds every chance it gets, creating opportunities off its defense to get its once-stagnant offense going.
PHILADELPHIA -- Too. That's the best way to describe the first half here between Villanova and Georgetown.

As in Villanova is too fast, too scrappy and too deep at the guard position for Georgetown to handle. The Wildcats have built their 46-31 lead on the backs of their backcourt, with Scottie Reynolds (14), Corey Fisher (8), Maalik Wayns (7) and Reggie Redding (4) accounting for almost all of Villanova's offense.

But it's not the way the guards are scoring that is dictating this game; it's the way they are disrupting the Hoyas. Georgetown has 10 first-half turnovers, but that number isn't at all indicative of how pesky the Wildcats' guards are. If they aren't flat-out deflecting a pass, they are throwing Georgetown's rhythm into complete disarray. And anyone who knows anything about the Hoyas knows they are all about tempo and this tempo is certainly not going the way they'd like. The 46 points scored by the Wildcats is the most Georgetown has given up this season and closer to what the Hoyas would prefer to give up in a game.

More, the Nova guards have rendered Georgetown's backcourt all but useless. Austin Freeman and Chris Wright have seven points on 3 of 13 shooting.

Georgetown fans will point out that the Hoyas were down 40-25 to Connecticut and came back to win.

Only problem: Nova isn't UConn. Don't see that happening this time around.
PHILADELPHIA -- By the way, it's officially basketball season here. The Eagles are out of the playoffs, spring training hasn't started and the city now will turn its full attention to Villanova.

That's not a slight to the Wildcats, that's just the way it is here. Same was true when Jameer Nelson and Delonte West were leading Saint Joseph's to an undefeated season. People were peripherally interested and certainly proud, but until the Eagles lost in the NFC Championship Game that year, the Hawks were still second banana. Same was true of Villanova last year and the year it went to the Elite Eight.

But now? Now the Eagles have packed up and it's a full house here at the Wachovia Center for Georgetown versus Villanova.

Ready for Villanova-Georgetown

January, 17, 2010
PHILADELPHIA -- Getting ready for Villanova-Georgetown here at the Wachovia Center. The Hoyas have taken the last five from the Wildcats.

I'm curious to see a few matchups today, starting with the backcourt. This should be a typical Big East game, one where the guards bring the entertainment value. Austin Freeman is coming off an electric night against Connecticut, and Chris Wright leads the scoring for Georgetown, but they haven't been dealt a hand quite like Villanova presents. Scottie Reynolds has absolutely taken over since the calendar flipped for Villanova, but he's not alone. Lightning quick Corey Fisher and equally speedy Maalik Wayns, alongside Corey Stokes, give the Wildcats a significant advantage in depth.

The other spot to watch is under the hoop, where Antonio Pena will have his hands full with Greg Monroe. Pena has taken over the spot vacated by Dante Cunningham more than admirably, but will have his hands full with Monroe. This could be the first time Villanova really needs rookie Mouphtaou Yarou, who just returned after a frightening battle with Hepatitis B.