Can ‘Nova solve its nagging problems?


It’s the time of year to stress about one’s college hoops team. And not just the struggling teams.

In the last few days, Bill Self, Jim Boeheim and Josh Pastner have all bemoaned their team’s performances. (Combined records of said teams? 26-1.) It’s all part of high expectations mixed with inconsistent performances on the court. They expect their guys to play better.

Fans get in on the act, too. Take Villanova. Tweets such as these are commonplace during the Wildcats’ games. ‘Nova may be 8-1, but it hasn’t been a pretty 8-1. Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns have struggled with their shots, while Corey Stokes and Dominic Cheek have deferred on offense.

Is that changing?

Villanova by the Numbers ran efficiency stats from wins against St. Joe’s and Penn and found that while Fisher and Wayns still can’t score efficiently, their usage and assist rates have gone up. Stokes and Cheek, on the other hand, have been more assertive on offense.

Yet, after an 84-81 win against La Salle, things shifted back to Wayns and Fisher. Wayns hit 8 of 15 shots, scored a team-high 19 points yet had a four turnovers and two assists. Fisher was 3 of 11 and finished with 16 points, but dished 8 assists and had four turnovers. (Stokes and Cheek? A combined 30 points on 8 of 15 shooting.)

Villanova’s season comes down to its lead guards. Always does. But I don’t think anyone knows how Fisher and Wayns will fare over an entire season. And that includes Jay Wright.

The only thing I’m certain of is more exasperated tweets are on the way.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller.