Notes on Villanova
The Red Storm return to Madison Square Garden to face off against the league-leading Villanova Wildcats in a Saturday morning tilt. The high scoring Wildcats will be a tough test for the St. John’s defense, but a win against Scottie Reynolds and crew would be impressive.
Coming off of the loss to Connecticut, everything that seemed to be looking up is looking down again. St. John’s had won two straight in league play and at 2-3, were entertaining thoughts of knocking off a few teams and moving up in the standings. But this year, the Big East is as tough as ever.
The improvements in the Red Storm aren’t catching up, so far, to the improvements in the rest of the league. At 2-4, the Johnnies are tied with Seton Hall and Marquette, and hoping to make a splash with tough upcoming games against league leaders Villanova and Marquette.
Meanwhile, Villanova eviscerated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, dropping 94 points on 66 shots. The Wildcats are truly deep and are able to get contribution from the second wave of bench players. The guards are the main scorers, led by Scottie Reynolds and two Coreys, and they score efficiently outside the paint and from the free throw line.
The team also rebounds well on both ends and draws fouls. The one flaw seems to be on defense, where the team has allowed Big East teams to shoot well from beyond the arc and draw a LOT of shooting fouls. The rebounding has been good but not elite.
Did You Know? St. John's hasn't beaten Villanova since 2003.
Instead of the Pluses and Minuses, let's have some input from the Villanova bloggers.
From Villanova Viewpoint
Read more preview at Calm Before the Storm.
Keys to The Game
Control. St. John’s lost control of last year’s game in Philadelphia with turnovers, bad passes, and poor ballhandling. There was no flow to the St. John’s attack, and the Wildcats cruised to a win. With the two Maliks in the fold, the team should be better at getting into their offense, but St. John’s needs to make sure to minimize the turnovers.
At Least Slow Them Down. It’s a lot to ask for a real crushing defensive effort, but St. John’s has to at least slow them down – keep the Wildcats from running all over the place. Getting the hands up on defense and altering 3-point shots from Villanova will help the team get closer to a chance at the win.
Rebound. The Wildcats are dangerous, and the defensive rebounders have to minimize their second chances. Against a smaller team, St. John’s needs to be physical in the paint and get to those balls.
Drive Aggressively. Villanova has tended to foul opponents a lot. St. John’s has to deploy the drives of DJ Kennedy, the energy of Justin Burrell, and aggressive driving when the opportunity arises.
Shoot. The Red Storm needs to shoot effectively from the 3-point arc and from the line when they have a chance.