Game 19: St. John's vs Villanova - I Bleed Blue and White Preview

Last post before the pregame post! I asked three Villanova bloggers questions about their team. Before I post my pregame, three separate posts, one for each blogger, with their answers to the following in full:

1- Villanova's 16-1, with an elite offense and a high ranking... are they really the #4 team in the country? Is this level of play sustainable? Can they be better?

2- When Villanova loses again, what's going to be their downfall? What are the Wildcats' weaknesses?

3- Defensively, who is the best Wildcat player? Who are the weak links?

Third is I Bleed Blue and White's responses to the questions. Thanks for the response, and please read below.

1- Villanova's 16-1, with an elite offense and a high ranking... are they really the #4 team in the country? Is this level of play sustainable? Can they be better?

Last week, I was telling other bloggers that we probably weren't the #4 team in the country, but we had the potential to be. But looking at how we've started out our conference grind (in by far the toughest in the country), it's hard to argue that we aren't. Texas and Kansas probably aren't as much better than everyone else than everyone was saying, and Kentucky is certainly VERY beatable.

While we haven't seen the likes of Syracuse, Pitt and West Virigina yet, we haven't had a cakewalk either. Two wins over a scrappy Marquette bunch and solid wins over Louisville and Georgetown are making me believe this team is starting to finally arrive.

Nobody is saying we'll go undefeated in conference - that's just stupid. We'll lose at least twice and more than likely as many as 4-5. The conference is THAT tough. But I do think we can get better. Having a rotation of 11 guys, and having all of them eager to earn minutes, has developed that hustle/competition within the team that great teams have. Who knows if the freshman can step up enough for a title run, but the will and desire is certainly there.

2- When Villanova loses again, what's going to be their downfall? What are the Wildcats' weaknesses?

Greg Monroe (and Samardo Samuels to a lesser extent) showed everyone that our biggest weakness is being able to defend a dominant big man. Although in fairness to our guys, we've got 3 freshman and Antonio Pena defending the low block. We knew we were going to hurt there. But I think the way our guys scrap and play defense can help disguise that a little bit. But I certainly see that as being the primary reason we lose our first BIG EAST game.

Other than frontcourt defense, our biggest weakness is probably youth. Reynolds and Redding are seniors, and Fisher, Stokes and Pena have been there already. But that is 5 guys out of an 11-man rotation. So we have 6 guys who really don't know what it takes to win not just in this conference, but in The Dance as well. I could see that biting us in the ass later, but this group of freshmen seem very mature and have handled everything great so far.

3- Defensively, who is the best Wildcat player? Who are the weak links?

Reggie Redding is the best defender. He can really guard any spot on the floor if he has too. He's a tough Philly kid who really takes pride in himself and the program and doing the little things to help us win. It's funny because sometimes we end a game and I think man Reg didn't do too much tonight. Then you look at the stat line and he's got 11, 7 and 6. But you learn to love guys like that, and we all certainly have a man-crush on Redding as he goes through his senior season.

As for the weak links, I think Mouphtaou Yarou and Maurice Sutton are probably the biggest weak links. Sutton is still a year or two away from having a BIG EAST body, although he does have a penchant for blocking shots. Yarou is still getting used to the college game as he comes back from that infection issue. He's definitely got the body though. By the end of the year he should be pretty solid.

For the record, all of the guards are hellish defenders. Be prepared for mayhem.

Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle , doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias.

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