Welcome to the Sweet 16, guys and gals!
I'm pumped after that Texas game. Got the adrenaline coursing through me, so I want to start looking at 'Nova. What are we facing here guys, give me the scoop!
LET'S GO DUKE!
Alls I know is that Villanova looked very good today. But then again, UCLA couldn't play a lick of defense. Nova's got lots of athletes.
Vegas just opened Duke as a 2.5 favorite over Villanova.
Villanova looked great, but UCLA also seemed to be on the Wake Forrest intensity plan. They just could not match Nova's intensity and looked lethargic. A lot of that has to do with Nova playing at a high level. As Bilas remarked during the game, Nova likes to spread you out and dribble drive and make you defend as an individual. Nova has great guards, and Duke's top priority is defending that drive, something that has been a bit of an achilles heel (though not quite as big of one as many think).
I would recommend any Duke players planning to attempt layups against Villanova get outfitted by Cutcliffe's staff with protective gear - they will be assaulted going to the rim.
If comparative scoring has any value, the Texas team that Duke just beat beat Villanova in December on a neutral floor.
Villanova is one of the non-Duke teams I follow pretty closely. From what I hear, the experts seem to like NOVA over us. It will certainly be a tough game FOR BOTH TEAMS (not just us). I like our chances if we play well and I expect us to do just that. Villanova can score the ball but they can be scored on. They also are a very inconsistent shooting team.
NOVA has a bunch of talented players but are not a very big team. They basically go eight deep with only two true bigmen (Cunningham and Pena -- neither are over 6'8").
Reynolds and Cunningham are their best players IMHO.
Scottie Reynolds, a Junior, has averaged about 15 ppg all three years at NOVA. He can be a streaky shooter and turnover prone. But he is well-rounded player who can drive to the basket as well as shoot the three. He has had several 40+ point nights in college. When he is on, he is REALLY on. He is the best guy on their team at getting others invloved (often via the drive and dish) and forces his offense less than many of their other guards (though this isn't saying much).
Dante Cunningham, a Senior, has always been under-appreciated. At 6'8", he is NOVA's best big man. This season he emerged as an All-Big East performer averaging 18 and 10 a game. He's not flashy but very effective.
Corey Fisher is a streaky sophomore guard who can be instant offense. He is a talent, but I am not a big fan. He plays out of control and takes lots of bad shots. He rarely passes or makes his teammates better. I think we can take advantage of that. If he is off, he jacks it up even more. He can shot NOVA into and out of a game.
NOVA's other main players include Shane Clark (a 6'7" long swing player playing forward), Dawayne Anderson (a player who has come on as a senior), Reggie Redding (a muscular, solid all-around player), Corey? Stokes (a sophomore guard with a nice stroke), and Antonio Pena (a hard-nosed, under-appreciated talented big man off the pine).
Are their weaker #3 seeds out there? YES! But like everyone else, they can be beaten. I think we will win out in the end because we play more disciplined, team-oriented basketball. The key will be keeping Reynolds and Fisher in check. I think we do it with Williams, Nolan, and Jon.
Texas seemed to play about ten minutes where there entire m.o. was spread the floor and watch whoever beat NS or JS off the dribble - it worked pretty well too. THey either got a layup or dished as help came. If Nova's guards are quicker (and they look at least more athletic though this doesn't mean quicker) it will be v tough but imperative to stay in front of them.
We know our two weaknesses are stoppint the PG and the inside game. Texas was good but not great at the PG speed (Abrams more of a shooter) but great huge inside. I see Villanova as reverse - a ton of athletic scoring guards and a little inside. Though the inside guys they have are tough if small.
I actually like our matchup vs Nova, though they are obviously a really good team. I didn't see them today -- do they have anyone who could stop Zoubs down low? Do they match up ok vs Kyle inside-outside? We've got three above-average defenders on the perimeter, who play terrific as a TEAM. So we'll defend well against the outside shooting strength of theirs as well as anyone. 'can't wait till next week!!! Villanova needs to fear Duke! They certainly should.
Damn that was a great feeling win!!!
I didn't see the UCLA game but I've seen a lot of Villanova the past few years. Scottie Reynolds is definitely streaky and he hasn't been very hot of late. Hopefully we keep that going, if he's not hot from 3 then he's not really much of a threat. Cunningham is definitely their best player, very good around the basket, can hit the short jumper. He has really improved every year (he's now a senior). He will likely match up with Singler at both ends of the floor which should prove a pivotal matchup. Fischer is a quick guard and might actually prove more difficult to cover than Reynolds. Stokes is a very good outside shooter, we will have to keep him from getting off. I think we match up reasonably well with their guards, Villanova will have to win the game on the inside. We especially need to keep them off the offensive glass. Should be a good one!
Duke and Nova are very similar teams. Both teams rely on defensive intensity and turnovers to create quick offense. Reynolds is a great ball-handler and is capable of getting his own shots off of the drive. Fisher is a strong off guard and will be able to match up against Williams or Smith very well. Stokes is a streaky shooter, but if he is on, he is really good. Anderson is a good player and has had two great games in the NCAA tournament, but I think Singler is a better defender and will ultimately win this matchup. Cunningham is a stud. LT reminds me a lot of Cunningham because they both have had some struggles, but they also have a lot of potential. Cunningham has played great this season averaging 18-10. I hope that Thomas and Zoubek are able to counter act these guys.
Pos. 1- Advantage Nova, Reynolds will be able to match up well against Elliot Williams or Smith
Pos. 2- Advantage Duke- Scheyer is more consistent than Fisher
Pos. 3- Advantage Duke- Henderson is a load for anyone especially Stokes
Pos. 4- Advantage Duke- Singler will be able to create his own shot against Anderson
Pos. 5- Advantage Nova- Cunningham is a great player
Bench- Advantage Edge: Both teams have smaller benches but also have some capability of scoring
Coach- Advantage Duke: How can you not pull for K?
I think this will be a close one, and I am not ready to give a prediction, but it should be another great game and I hope that Duke is ready!
Just on a personal note: I'm wondering how many fights I'll get into while I rock my Duke gear on the streets of Philly in the coming week.
I think this game is going to be all about toughness. If you watched the UCLA vs NOVA game yesterday you would have seen that Nova put UCLA on the floor or gave them a hard foul everytime they got to the basket. UCLA crumbled up and looked scared throughout the game. They just didn't have the heart for a game like that. I think Duke does, we should get to the line a lot, however if the refs are anything like they were today then that means they will put NOVA at the line even more just so it doesn't look biased. I can't wait I think this game will tell us how much of a chance we have at the Title this year.
Despite all the talk of our lack of an inside presence, I, for one, fear the quick teams that spread us out and drive much, much more than the big teams. The Ty we couldn't guard was Lawson....
Next weekend's "mini tourney" could be a replay of this weekend's, only at a much, much higher level -- Game 1 against a smaller team with little time for Zoubek (could be a game where we really need some solid minutes from McClure) and, if we make it through, a big, powerful team possibly awaiting us in Pitt, where we might need a big contribution from Zoub.
It was a bunch of Northeast kids flat out taking it to the soft Californian and international kids, on both sides of the court. I almost felt badly for Howland.
From today's LA Times,
Villanova bumped and collided and ultimately drilled the Bruins in a reminder of the differences not only between rosters, but regions.
"This game was Big East basketball in a nutshell," Wildcats forward Dante Cunningham said.
Thwack! He was not only caught by Villanova's Scottie Reynolds, he was clocked.
"That was our first message to UCLA," Cunningham said. "That was us telling them, 'This is how it is going to be.' "
A couple of minutes later, Bruins swingman Shipp was driving to the basket for a dunk attempt and . . .
Conk! He was not only fouled by Cunningham, he was leveled.
"Another message," Cunningham said. "This time it was like, 'Here's who we are, you're getting this all game long.' "
Anyone know which session our game is on Thursday? Has that been announced yet? I might have a time conflict and I'm kind of freaking out..
Get ready for the officials to be an enormous factor in this game. Villanova plays physical defense and loves dribble-drive penetration, so whether the officials call handchecks and/or body bumps on defenders is going to be of extreme importance in this game. Frankly, if the refs call handchecking but let Villanova push us around, we're in a lot of trouble. If the reverse happens, Nova is in for a long night.
It's upsetting to me that style of officiating is going to be so important in this one because we all know what that will mean in public conversation about the game.
As for things we can control, I keep wondering whether Z will be a factor in this game or not. It appears Nova has at least one highly productive big man but they are so guard oriented that I'm inclined to think K will go small, with Singler and even McClure guarding their bigs. I would love, LOVE to see us play a jordan rules-typle man defense in this game, with all the perimeter defenders routinely pinching off seams when the teammate on either side of them is guarding the ball. Nova shot the 3 very well against UCLA, we need to force them to have to repeat that performance to beat us. If they can generate big offense off dribble penetration and dishes for dunks, we're in big trouble.
Singler should cause matchup problems and he and Henderson have got to get their minds right for a night full of taking the ball strong to the whole and absorbing contact. We will not win this game if those 2 guys settle for jumpers all night. We need good, quick perimeter ball movement in order to attack the seams in their defense and we need to lock up our defensive boards, so they don't get second-chance points.
This one's going to be a good one folks. Expect a close, relatively fast-paced game that will have plenty of ebb and flow unless it is called tightly (in which case, the foul situation could get ugly, which would probably favor us).
Lace 'em up tight boys and come strong or don't come at all. Let's go Duke!!!