Tag: Villanova Wildcats

Grayson Allen, Reggie Cameron
Associated Press

SUNDAY’S SNACKS: Three ACC teams, No. 21 Purdue win tournament titles

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GAME OF THE DAY:  No. 5 Duke 86, Georgetown 84

In the finals of the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden, Grayson Allen went for 32 points as the Blue Devils rallied then held off the Hoyas for the win.

I went more in-depth on this game here.


No. 21 Purdue 85, Florida 70: Matt Painter’s Boilermakers ran off a 12-0 second half run to take control of their game against the Gators in Uncasville, Connecticut. Their depth, talent and commitment to the defensive end make the Boilermakers a team to watch in the Big Ten. More can be read about them here.

Miami 85, No. 22 Butler 75: The Hurricanes won the Puerto Rico Tipoff, grabbing control in the first half and hanging on after the Bulldogs managed to cut the deficit to four with just over three minutes remaining. Angel Rodriguez scored 19 points and Ja’Quan Newton added 17 and three assists off the bench.

East Tennessee State 69, Georgia Tech 68: Ge’Lawn Guyn buried the game-winning 3-pointer with three seconds left as the Buccaneers picked up a big road win at Georgia Tech. Guyn finished with 24 points and seven rebounds to pace East Tennessee State, who moves to 3-1 on the season. Marcus Georges-Hunt led Georgia Tech with 20 points, as the Yellow Jackets took a bad loss at home.

Wisconsin 74, VCU 73: A Bronson Koenig spin move and layup with seven seconds remaining was the difference as the Badgers beat the Rams in a thriller at Madison Square Garden. Koenig led four Badgers in double figures with 22 points. Melvin Johnson, whose three-pointer as time expired missed the mark, led VCU with 21 points.


Shavar Newkirk, Saint Joseph’s: Newkirk buried a long two with one second left to break a 64-all tie as the Hawks escaped with a win over Old Dominion. Newkirk had 10 points in the game. 

Grayson Allen, Duke: Allen’s 32 points capped a good weekend in New York for the sophomore, as he scored a total of 62 points in wins over VCU and Georgetown.

Jakob Poeltl, Utah: Poeltl racked up 32 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in the Runnin’ Utes’ 74-68 win over Temple at the Puerto Rico Tipoff.

Jarrelle Reischel, Eastern Kentucky: Reischel racked up 37 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in the Colonels’ 110-97 win over Longwood.


Kasey Hill and DeVon Walker, Florida: Hill and Walker combined to shoot 2-for-13 from the field in the Gators’ 85-70 loss to No. 21 Purdue.

Aaron Bacote, Old Dominion: Bacote scored nine points, making all seven of his free throw attempts, but he shot just 1-for-7 from the field in a two-point loss to Saint Joseph’s.

Northwestern State’s turnover count: The Demons were in trouble at No. 12 Arizona, especially with Jalan West out for the year with a torn ACL. But 18 turnovers with just four assists in the 61-42 loss isn’t good.


  • No. 11 Villanova rebounded from a slow start to beat Akron 75-56 in an unbracketed Preseason NIT matchup. Josh Hart led the way with 27 points and nine rebounds, and Ryan Arcidiacono added 15 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
  • No. 16 Utah held off Temple 74-68 to win third place at the Puerto Rico Tipoff. The key stat in this one: Jakob Poeltl, who finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, shot 12-for-14 from the foul line. The sophomore shot 44 percent from the charity stripe last season.
  • No. 25 Oregon held off Valparaiso 73-67 in Eugene, as Dillon Brooks leading the way with 26 points and 13 rebounds. Tevonn Walker paced the Crusaders with 14 points.
  • No. 12 Arizona moved to 4-0 on the season with a 61-42 win over Northwestern State. Gabe York scored 18 to lead the way, with forward Ryan Anderson (ankle) being held out.
  • No. 6 Virginia won the Charleston Classic title, beating surprising finalist George Mason 83-66. Tournament MVP London Perrantes racked up 16 points and 11 assists, and Malcolm Brogdon scored a game-high 21 points.


  • Cincinnati earned a big win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff as Farad Cobb went for 20 points. The Bearcats are 4-0 but they haven’t played any real competition yet.
  • Boston College erupted for 53 points in the second half  as they beat Harvard at home. Matt Milon paced the Golden Eagles with 16 points.
  • Tennessee had big games from Kevin Punter (24 points, seven rebounds, six assists), Devon Baulkman (22 points) and Armani Moore (15 points, 16 rebounds) as they cruised past Gardner-Webb.
  • Gavin Ware had 25 points as Mississippi State beat Missouri State in a consolation game at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
  • Tulsa advanced to the title game of the Paradise Jam with a 67-59 win over Indiana State. James Woodard tallied 16 points and ten rebounds for the Golden Hurricane.
  • Oklahoma State made things a little more interesting than they had to be down the stretch, but the Cowboys hung on for a five-point win over Long Beach State to win third place at the Charleston Classic.
  • South Carolina advanced to the Paradise Jam title game with a 94-84 win over Hofstra. All five Gamecock starters reached double figures, with Lamonicus Chatkevicius scoring a team-high 18 points. Juan’ya Green scored 28 points and dished out seven assists for the Pride, but it wasn’t enough to advance.
  • Joe Rahon put on a show in leading Saint Mary’s to a 78-61 win over Stanford, racking up 24 points, six rebounds and three assists. Emmett Naar and Evan Fitzner scored 15 apiece for the Gaels, with Naar also dishing out six assists.

Villanova tries to put March flops behind them

Jay Wright
Associated Press

VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) Villanova could stand to raise some funds for a new trophy case.

The Wildcats opened last season winning the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, New York. That was just a warmup for 12 straight wins and a Big East championship. Then it was three more wins and a Big East tournament championship.

Josh Hart even earned conference sixth man of the year honors, pointing everything toward celebration on the Main Line.

Except for one thing – the Wildcats again flopped in March, when college basketball matters most.

Thirty years after Villanova won an improbable national championship, the top-seeded Wildcats were booted in the second game of the NCAA tournament by North Carolina State. President Barack Obama had even cast his vote for Villanova to reach the national championship game.

The Wildcats have been impeached from the tournament in the first weekend every season they’ve made it since they played in the 2009 Final Four. That’s a 3-5 record that has raised some questions if the Wildcats can ever truly become elite under coach Jay Wright.

They’ll try again this season, ranked 11th in the AP Top 25 poll and the Big East favorite.

Wright said he’s looked hard at fixing the tournament problems.

“It’s more from the coaching standpoint than the players,” he said. “It’s little tactical things we could do. It’s two years in a row playing a 1-16 game or 2-15 game, then going to a high-level game the next game. Maybe the coaching staff – me – didn’t do a good enough job in between those games.”

Wright said the regular season can’t be considered anything but a success but added, “I get it” why his program is judged on March alone.

Hart, guard Ryan Arcidiacono, forward Kris Jenkins and forward Daniel Ochefu all return from a team looking to prove they really are built for the long haul.

But it’s the new kid in town that could give the program the jolt it needed as tries for the first national championship since 1985.

BRUNSON BURNER: Jalen Brunson, a 6-foot-2 guard and McDonald’s All-American, is the most highly-touted recruit to hit campus in years. Brunson is the son of former Temple star and NBA player Rick Brunson. He was unanimously named the Big East Rookie of the Year and could help the Wildcats erase their March doldrums. Wright said Brunson was an intelligent, gritty guard who might be around for only one or two seasons, a rarity for a program built on the strength of upperclassman.

“I know one thing that concerns me is that he’s gotten so much hype, that when people hear hype, they expect Andrew Wiggins,” Wright said. “He’s not that.”

NEW ARENA: Villanova’s 6,500-seat Pavilion opened in 1986 – and was outdated by 1987. Most high school gyms have more restrooms and concession stands than the Pavilion and Wright said plans are in full swing for either a new arena or complete renovation.

“We sell this place out every game,” Wright said. “But for the school, we could create more revenue. The place looks great on TV. It’s just not good for fans and it doesn’t generate the revenue like a new arena would.”

HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Because seating capacity is almost tripled, the Wildcats save their biggest games each season for the Wells Fargo Center.

But with the arena the site of an NCAA tournament regional this season, Villanova was limited to only three games during the regular season if it wanted the option of playing in March at home.

“We didn’t want to be arrogant about making the decision, like we’re going to get there,” Wright said. “But if we did get that far, and we didn’t give ourselves that chance, it probably would be irresponsible. We actually take a revenue hit doing it.”

FIFTH FRANCHISE: The 76ers might be good around the next Republican presidential debate – in 2019. The Flyers are mired in mediocrity, the Eagles hope a .500 record can win them the NFC East and the Phillies are a few years off from contention. That leaves the Wildcats standing tall as the lone Philly sports bright spot through an otherwise bleak winter.

“We’re used to people paying attention to us once the Eagles’ season is over,” Wright said. “But it’s fine if they want to watch now.”

Ranking College Basketball’s Top Back Courts

Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker
Associated Press

We’re labeling this as the nation’s top back courts, but truthfully, it’s the nation’s top perimeters. That’s why you’ll see guys like Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown, small forwards that will play the four a lot this season, listed here. 

One thing we realized making this list: There are an inordinate number of talented guards in college basketball this season, especially those that will get labeled as lead guards. So many, in fact, that the likes of Miami, Iowa State and Texas A&M didn’t even crack the top 15.

Here is our list. What did we get wrong?

1. Kentucky (Jamal Murray, Tyler Ulis, Isaiah Briscoe, Charles Matthews, Mychal Mulder)

They don’t rebuild in Lexington they reload, and John Calipari has quite the perimeter rotation at his disposal despite losing three of his top four guards from a season ago. The returnee is 5-foot-9 sophomore Tyler Ulis, who has emerged as this team’s leader. But he isn’t the only guard in the group who operates will with the ball in his hands, as both Briscoe and Murray will also have ample opportunities to create offensively. The 6-foot-4 Murray was one of the standouts at the Pan-American Games in Canada this summer, as he went off to lead the hosts past the United States in the semifinals. Matthews and Mulder aren’t slouches either, giving Kentucky additional talent and depth with their presence.

2. Wichita State (Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet, Conner Frankamp, Landry Shamet, Evan Wessel)

Baker and VanVleet are two of the nation’s best at their respective positions and they’re going to appear on multiple preseason (and end of season, for that matter) All-America teams as a result. Wessel gives this group added toughness, and Kanas transfer Conner Frankamp will give Wichita State another capable shooter when he becomes eligible in December. The 6-foot-4 Shamet is a Top 100 recruit who will fight for minutes now and be a key figure for the Shockers in the years to come.

3. Indiana (James Blackmon Jr., Yogi Ferrell, Robert Johnson, Nick Zeisloft)

This group is one of the reasons why the Hoosiers will enter the 2015-16 season ranked, with senior point guard Yogi Ferrell leading the way. Ferrell led the Hoosiers in scoring and assists a season ago, and he also led the team in made three-pointers. Blackmon should be better as a sophomore after tailing off somewhat down the stretch last year and the same goes for classmate Johnson, with Zeisloft coming off of a year in which he shot 45 percent from beyond the arc.

4. North Carolina (Marcus Paige, Justin Jackson, Joel Berry II, Nate Britt, Theo Pinson, Kenny Williams)

Paige enters his senior season as one of the the best guards in the country, as he’s comfortable as either a scorer or a distributor for the Tar Heels. Jackson, who was a key contributor for North Carolina as a freshman, looks poised for a breakout year as he moves into the starting spot left vacant by J.P. Tokoto, and classmate Pinson is healthy after dealing with injuries last season. Both Berry and Britt are capable contributors but they have to get better as playmakers, thus relieving some of the pressure on Paige. The one thing this group was missing a season ago was another shooter to go with Paige, and if called upon Williams has the ability to be that guy.

5. Michigan (Caris LeVert, Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton Jr., Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Spike Albrecht, Kameron Chatman, Aubrey Dawkins, Duncan Robinson)

Irvin is working his way back to 100 percent after undergoing back surgery in early September, and his return will make Michigan’s perimeter attack one of the deepest and most talented groups in the country. LeVert was projected by some to be an All-America caliber player prior to last season, and Walton and Irvin are also players capable of earning postseason honors. Albrecht will also be a factor, with Abdur-Rahkman, Chatman and Dawkins gaining valuable experience as freshmen due to the injuries that sidelined LeVert and Walton. The “wild card” is Robinson, who sat out last season after averaging 17.1 points per game as a freshman at Division III Williams College in 2013-14.

RELATED: Top front courts in college basketball | Top 100 Players

Buddy Hield (AP Photo)
Buddy Hield (AP Photo)

6. Oklahoma (Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins, Jordan Woodard, Chrisyian James, Rashard Odomes, Dinjiyl Walker)

Lon Kruger’s perimeter rotation won’t lack for experience as reigning Big 12 Player of the Year Hield and Cousins are both seniors and Woodard will be a junior. Walker played 10.6 minutes per game as a junior last season and figures to be in a similar reserve role. As for the freshmen, both James and Odomes are players who will look to earn minutes but ultimately benefit down the line from competing with (and against, in practice) the veteran guards.

7. Villanova (Ryan Arcidiacono, Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, Phil Booth, Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo)

Big East Co-Player of the Year Arcidiacono is back for his senior season, with Big East tournament MOP Josh Hart appearing poised to take a significant step forward as a junior. And then there are the freshmen, most notably a lead guard in Brunson who enters college as one of the best at his position. DiVincenzo and Bridges, with the latter having redshirted last season, give Villanova additional skill and athleticism on the wing and Booth gives Wright another point guard to call upon.

8. Duke (Brandon Ingram, Grayson Allen, Matt Jones, Luke Kennard, Derryck Thornton Jr.)

Allen, who stepped forward in a big way in the national title game, returns for his sophomore season and Jones gives Duke an experienced wing option who’s a solid defender and capable perimeter shooter. Given the personnel losses the three freshmen will be especially important this year, with Thornton being asked to take over at the point and Ingram being a slender wing who can score from anywhere on the court. As for Kennard, he’s good enough to see time at both guard spots, and given Duke’s numbers he’ll likely have to do just that.

9. Maryland (Melo Trimble, Jake Layman, Jared Nickens, Rasheed Sulaimon, Dion Wiley, Jaylen Brantley)

The Terrapins did lose leader Dez Wells from last season’s NCAA tournament team, but most of the perimeter rotation returns led by preseason Big Ten Player of the Year Melo Trimble. Trimble’s a handful with the ball in his hands, making sound decisions in ball screen situations and getting to the foul line at a very high rate. Layman, who took a step forward as a junior, has the potential to be even better as a senior with Nickens and Wiley looking to earn more minutes as sophomores. And the newcomers, Brantley and Sulaimon, will also contribute with the latter giving Maryland another quality perimeter shooter (and he’s a good defender too).

10. California (Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Jabari Bird, Stephen Domingo, Jordan Mathews, Sam Singer)

Depth, which was an issue all over the court for the Golden Bears a season ago, won’t be a problem in 2015-16. Wallace, one of the nation’s top point guards, leads the way with a trio of juniors (Bird, Mathews and Singer) also having a wealth of experience. Add in two talented newcomers in Brown, who could see time at the four in smaller lineups, and Georgetown transfer Domingo and head coach Cuonzo Martin has a host of options at his disposal.

Tyrone Wallace (AP Photo)
Tyrone Wallace (AP Photo)

11. Virginia (Malcolm Brogdon, London Perrantes, Marial Shayok, Devon Hall, Evan Nolte, Darius Thompson)

The Cavaliers have to account for the departure of Justin Anderson on the perimeter, but it certainly helps to have veterans Brogdon and Perrantes back on campus. Brodgon was a first team All-ACC selection a season ago, and his skill on both ends of the floor merits All-America mention this season. Perrantes is a solid floor general who can do even more from a scoring standpoint. Nolte and Shayok were rotation players last season, and Hall and Thompson (who redshirted after transferring in from Tennessee) will also compete for minutes.

12. Michigan State (Denzel Valentine, Eron Harris, Tum Tum Nairn, Bryn Forbes, Matt McQuaid, Kyle Ahrens, Alvin Ellis)

This group is led by one of the nation’s most versatile players in Valentine, who can play anywhere from the one to the three depending on match-ups. Forbes should be more consistent in his second season with the program, and Nairn looks poised to step forward as the next in a long line of high-level point guards to play for Izzo. Harris is a transfer from West Virginia who many expect to hit the ground running, and Ellis will also look to solidify his spot in the rotation. As for the freshmen, they’ll look to carve out roles in what is a deep rotation.

13. Connecticut (Daniel Hamilton, Sterling Gibbs, Rodney Purvis, Jalen Adams, Omar Calhoun, Sam Cassell Jr.)

Ryan Boatright’s moved on, but UConn’s perimeter rotation is more balanced (and deeper) than it was a season ago. Part of that is due to their additions, with the explosive Adams and experienced Gibbs joining the ranks. As for holdovers, head coach Kevin Ollie has those as well with Calhoun being a senior, Cassell and Purvis (who put together some solid outings down the stretch last season) being juniors and the versatile Hamilton (AAC Rookie of the Year) being a sophomore.

14. Kansas (Wayne Selden Jr., Frank Mason III, Svi Mykhailiuk, Devonté Graham, Brannen Greene, LaGerald Vick)

This ranking could prove to be low at season’s end, depending upon (in part) the progress made by Selden. The junior played very well at the World University Games in South Korea this summer, and if he can build on that play the Jayhawks will undoubtedly have one of the top guards in the country. Mason gives them an absolute pitbull at the point, with Graham being another player capable of running the point. And in Green, Mykhailiuk and Vick, Kansas won’t lack for depth on the wings either.

15. Florida State (Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Dwayne Bacon, Devon Bookert, Montay Brandon, Terance Mann, Malik Beasley, Benji Bell, Robbie Berwick)

While he’ll once again be one of the top guards in the ACC, Rathan-Mayes will have some much-needed help on the perimeter. Bookert and Brandon give Florida State two experienced seniors, Berwick saw solid minutes as a freshman, and their newcomers arrive on campus amidst much fanfare. Bacon may be the marquee freshman, but Beasley and Mann will also compete for minutes with junior college transfer Bell looking to do the same.

Also Considered: Miami, Iowa State, UCLA, Notre Dame, LSU, Louisville, Providence, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M