No. 6 Villanova’s two losses to No. 18 Creighton a result of bad match-ups

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Styles make fights. And sometimes they make beatings. That’s about the best way to explain what happened to No. 6 Villanova on Sunday, as their attempts to defend Doug McDermott and No. 18 Creighton once again fell short of the mark.

Creighton shot 64.2% from the field and 9-for-15 from beyond the arc in their 101-80 victory, completing a sweep of the regular season series with the Bluejays putting up some incredible offensive numbers in the process. In the first meeting Villanova fell victim to a deluge of three-pointers, with Ethan Wragge tying a school record by making nine. When a team hits 21 three-pointers and scores 65.6% of its points on the shot, taking away those looks will be a priority in the rematch.

Villanova tried, not trapping or pressing as much as they did in the first meeting. The goal of this was to remain in position to limit Creighton’s looks from beyond the arc, and the Bluejays attempted just 15 three-pointers as a result. But this resulted in other problems, most notably Creighton’s Doug McDermott. McDermott scored Creighton’s first 11 points of the game, finishing the contest with 39 on 13-for-17 shooting from the field (9-for-9 FT).

During the game McDermott passed Larry Bird on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list, and afterward Villanova head coach Jay Wright was effusive in his praise of the player few opponents seem to have an answer for.

“I think he’s as complete a player, and I do not use that term loosely, as complete a player with size as I’ve ever seen,”  Wright stated. “6-8, 6-9, there’s nothing he can’t do. He can take you off the dribble, he’s tough as hell guarding… he rebounds, he moves without the ball, he seals. He’s the best post player we’ve played against, and he’s the best perimeter player and maybe one of the best passers.”


And with Villanova doing all it could to take away the three-point line Creighton was able to attack inside of the arc via the dribble and the pass, scoring 44 points in the paint. By comparison, the Bluejays scored just 18 points in the paint in the first meeting. Simply put, whenever Villanova was able to take away one area Creighton simply went elsewhere for its points and with great success.

Villanova’s three worst defensive performances of the season all came in losing efforts, with Creighton better than 1.4 points per possession in both meetings. Are there areas where the Wildcats could stand to improve in the aftermath of Sunday’s defeat? Yes, with their failure to keep Creighton out of the paint being something Villanova will need to address ahead of Tuesday’s game at Providence.

Also of note was Ryan Arcidiacono’s quiet day, as he scored just five points on 1-for-4 shooting. As a team Villanova was solid offensively, shooting 46% from the field and making 11 of its 22 attempts from beyond the arc. But the Wildcats can’t afford quiet nights from Arcidiacono in games of this magnitude if they’re to make a run in the NCAA tournament.

Villanova’s two games against Creighton were more about the match-ups than anything else. Regardless of what Villanova attempted to do defensively, Creighton still managed to put points on the board and at an incredibly high rate of efficiency as well. If there’s a third meeting Villanova will need to figure out a way to defend Creighton. But the good thing for the Wildcats is that they won’t run into many teams as explosive offensively as the Bluejays.

VIDEOS: Villanova team bus stuck on icy roads trying to leave campus

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Villanova’s road to the Sweet 16 hit its roughest patch yet on Wednesday as the team attempted to leave campus for the team’s flight to Boston.

Since the Philadelphia area has been slammed with a snowstorm, the Wildcat team bus had issues leaving to get to the team’s chartered flight.

A struggle between team bus and ice ensued. The bus was delayed by 30 minutes before finally being able to leave.

Villanova continues its NCAA tournament journey on Friday when the No. 1 seed Wildcats play No. 5 seed West Virginia in Boston.

Wake Forest guard Keyshawn Woods to transfer or go pro after graduation

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Wake Forest will be down a key player next season as the school announced that guard Keyshawn Woods will either transfer or go pro after graduation.

The 6-foot-3 Woods was the team’s second-leading scorer this season as he put up 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Woods shot 43 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three-point range for the 2017-18 campaign.

Also a key member of last season’s NCAA tournament team for the Demon Deacons, Woods transferred to Wake Forest after spending his first season at Charlotte.

“I appreciate the opportunity that Coach Manning gave me to be a part of this program and to graduate from this great university,” said Woods in the release. “I am proud that I was able to help the coaches change the culture of the program and build a foundation for the future.”

The loss of Woods won’t be easy for Wake Forest, but the team is scheduled to return some talented guards like Bryant Crawford and Brandon Childress next season. Incoming freshmen like Jaime Lewis and Sharone Wright Jr. are also signed to add to the perimeter depth.

David Padgett not retained as Louisville coach

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Louisville announced on Wednesday afternoon that interim head coach David Padgett would not be retained.

Padgett, who is 32 years old, stepped in and took the program over in the wake of a scandal that cost Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino his job.

“We all owe a great debt of gratitude to David for his leadership and poise this season,” said U of L Interim Director of Athletics Vince Tyra. “He took over during incredible circumstances, has handled himself respectfully throughout the season and I believe he has a bright future in coaching. We expect to determine a new head coach in a short period to build upon the great basketball tradition of this university.”

Pitino was fired because an FBI complaint contained an allegation that he and his staff had arranged for a $100,000 payment to be funneled to Brian Bowen from Adidas.

In his one season with the Cardinals, Padgett went 22-14 and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Louisville will now conduct a search for their next head coach, and current Xavier coach Chris Mack has long been considered the favorite to take that job.

Kansas State’s injured star hoping to play Thursday

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One of the most surprising parts about Kansas State’s run to the Sweet 16 is that they have done it without the services of their leading scorer, Dean Wade.

Wade injured his foot prior to the Big 12 tournament loss to Kansas. He did not play in that game or in either of Kansas State’s first two tournament games, but it is looking more and more like he’ll be on the floor on Thursday night when they play Kentucky.

“I don’t play percentages very well, but I’m feeling good,” Wade said, via SEC Country. “I’m very positive about it. It’s getting better every day and today I felt great out there, doing a little more than usual. It felt good.”

Wade averaged 16.5 points per game, but the big question is going to be whether or not he is actually healthy when he takes the court. Just because he’s on the floor doesn’t mean he’s at 100 percent.

“Really just trying to get it out of my mind that it’s not hurt,” Wade said. “Just more of a mental thing, just getting out there and running around. I think I got moved past that and it’s feeling better.”

Arizona’s Sean Miller: ‘I am not a candidate’ at Pitt

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With speculation mounting about who Pitt will hire to replace Kevin Stallings as their new head coach, current Arizona head coach Sean Miller released a statement saying that he is not in the running to fill the opening.

“I am not a candidate for the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball head coaching vacancy. I wish them well in their search for a new coach,” the statement read.

Miller is a native of Pittsburgh and an alumni of the school — he’s the guy that had the assist on Jerome Lane’s famous dunk — and with the issues that are currently swirling around him and the Arizona program, there was speculation that he was looking for an escape plan.

Maybe he wasn’t.

Maybe he was and the Pitt administration decided they couldn’t risk hiring someone who had an assistant coach arrested in the FBI’s sweep of college basketball and who himself may be on wiretaps talking about who knows what. Releasing this statement would then be a way for him to save face and say he was never interested.

And then maybe there’s option No. 3: Pitt has won the Dan Hurley sweepstakes.

As it stands, both the Panthers and UConn are in the process of chasing after the Rhode Island head coach, and it’s not uncommon in coaching searches for a coach to announce that he is not a candidate for the job after the job decides they want someone else. Call it a professional courtesy.

But that’s neither here nor there.

What we do know now is that Sean Miller will not be the next head coach at Pitt.