Friday, March 27, 2009

That was Sweet, but, uh, Did the Plane Go Down?

Yesterday, I pleaded with Villanova to destroy Duke. Clearly Jay Wright and company read the site, because that's exactly what the Wildcats did with a demonstrative 77-54 win. But the real question is, did Duke's plane crash? That would just be the icing on the cake. Anyway, first the highlights:

If there was one prevailing theme in this game, it was without question Villanova's defense. It was just incredible. Duke never had a chance, and the Wildcats' defense was the reason. Without question, it was the most dominant defensive performance by Nova all year long. Those deadly three-point faggots shooters from Duke went a combined 5-27 from three, 18.5%, because every single shot was contested, if not blocked.

As I've been trying to tell people all year long, Gerald Henderson is the most overrated player in the country. Sure, the guy can jump through the roof, but he can't dribble, can't shoot and is only an average defender. Basically, he's Andre Iguodala without the great defense, or as much speed. Only worse than that. Just look at his performance last night: 1-14 from the field for 7 points in the biggest game of his life. Sounds like a stud to me.

See those two guys up there? They're the major reason Henderson couldn't do jack shit. Reggie Redding guarded the Episcopal Academy grad most of the game, and he certainly got the best of Henderson. Redding has been a guy that I sort of hounded early in the year, but man, he's turned into a very good player and one hell of a defender. And last night was his best defensive performance of them all. Ditto Dwayne Anderson, who often nabbed Henderson on switches or when Redding was getting a breather.

Bottom line is Redding and Anderson were physical with Henderson, quick enough to stay with him and athletic enough to deny him. They played the type of defense a guy like Gerald Henderson can expect to see in the NBA. And Henderson wasn't ready for it. He is a fine player, but people drooling over him need to realize he isn't good enough right now to take on NBA-caliber defense night in and night out. Hell, Redding and Anderson are far from pro prospects, and they shut him down easily.

I'd also like to point out how much Jon Scheyer and Greg Paulus suck. Literally, those two aren't better than a single one of Nova's regulars, yet Paulus started at Duke for three years before Coach K. finally realized he sucked this year, and Scheyer still is a starter there.

The two of them didn't stand a chance against Villanova, evident by Scheyer's impressive 3-18 shooting performance and Paulus' cameo in the second half where he managed to pick up 4 fouls in 10 minutes and turn the ball twice, in horrible fashion.

But enough about Duke. Let's take a look at Nova. Man, this team looks good right now. Scary good. After getting a little scare in the first round against American, the Wildcats completely undressed both UCLA and Duke. Their defense over the past two games has been ridiculous, especially last night. Going against a lethal shooting team, Nova held Duke to 26.7% shooting, outrebounded the Blue Devils 46-32, and played calmly on offense to get their buckets.

Dante Cunningham was too much for Duke to handle down low. Reggie Redding did a little bit of everything, and even with a quiet game, Scottie Reynolds led all scorers with 16 points.

Corey Fisher provided energy. Shane Clark added a big three-point play and played his usual tough style. And everyone, from Dwayne Anderson to Corey Stokes to Antonio Pena had a hand in the victory. Nova simply had too many athletes for the most overhyped program in sports to handle. Besides Gerald Henderson, I don't think there's a Blue Devil who could hang with a single Wildcat last night. Sure, Elliot Williams had a nice dunk, but he didn't do anything else. And Nolan Smith is supposed to be a stud, but he hasn't shown it his freshman year.

Meanwhile, Villanova, a team that absolutely no one expected to get this far back in December, when they couldn't buy a win over a ranked opponent, is playing as well as anyone in the country. With no certifiable superstar, it seems improbable ... until you look at this team. Scottie Reynolds, for all his faults (and he has plenty), is a talented point guard who can go off at any minute.

He should be a better player than he is by now, and I'm getting sick and tired of the excuses thrown out by the local media saying Scottie has improved -- he hasn't. But he still is a good player that makes clutch free throws and has the potential to go off at any moment.

Dante Cunningham is the most improved player in the Big East and easily Nova's best player. He can bang down low, yet shoot with deadly accuracy from 18 feet. He has quick feet and great power, making him a nightmare matchup for anyone. Reggie Redding and Dwayne Anderson are the defensive studs who are capable of scoring; Shane Clark will rebound and battle and, occasionally, get you some buckets; Corey Fisher is the sixth man of the year and an explosive, exciting fireplug off the bench; Corey Stokes can flat out stroke it; and Antonio Pena can give quality minutes inside. Basically, Nova is a complete team.

Sure, they don't have great size up front, but they do have good size across the board. They play hounding, relentless defense. They can score inside and out. And the Wildcats make their free throws, something that's huge this time of year. And now they take on Pitt for a chance to go to the Final Four.

If they play like they did at the Spectrum, they certainly can beat Pitt again. The unnerving thing for Nova is that Pitt hasn't played its best game yet and the Panthers are still in the Elite 8. But if Nova plays as it has the last two games, or as it did last time it faced Pitt, they'll stand a better than good chance at getting to the Final Four.

Let's Go Nova!

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. Man, Duke looks like an overhyped mid-major...


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Now I hate Duke as much as anyone on the planet, but, believe it or not, I actually think Scheyer is pretty good. Granted, he played like shit last night, but I give him credit for taking on the responsibility of playing point guard, once Duke realized that Nolan Smith aint ready, and that Greg Paulus is...well, Greg Paulus. Hell, he did it better than the two of them, put together. Other than that, the rest of their squad is garbage, and that includes Eddie's homeboy, Gerald Henderson.

    The real question now much of a shot does Villanova have to beat Pitt? Are they simply in the way of history? Do they have a puncher's chance? Can they shock the world and actually WIN? Hell, would it even be a shock, considering Pitt is still Pitt, which means, as much as I love some of their players, they usually nut up by now??? So many questions, so little time.

  4. I agree with SoulOnlce totally; Scheyer is good. The author doesn't know sh-- about basketball. Even Jay Wright said specifically about Scheyer he is much better than people think. Coach K doesn't know or care about basic principles of team play. He got away with Henderson and Singler getting the ball and taking the shot no matter how ridiculous it was. I knew Henderson would eventually play against a team he couldn't just use his strength and leaping ability to overpower. If the author remembers Scheyer scored 8 points in the beginning to keep Duke in the game. When Henderson was 100% shut down along with Singler and others Duke players would pass to Scheyer who had to take at least 3 30 footers with 2 seconds left on the time clock. He did have problems with Villanova's defense. But at least 3 shots in the first half were almost impossible shots due to his teammates inability to do anything. Villanova would double team Scheyer to get the ball out of his hands. Jay Wright knew without Scheyer running the offense Duke was worthless. Scheyer still played good defense. Scotty Reynolds shot 5 for 15 and Scheyer had 3 steals. So to the author of this blog, you are a total fool.

  5. Another thing to the author. You are obviously racist and need psychiatric help as you wanted Duke players to get injured. You are tough showing a picture of Scheyer bleeding. Scheyer is much better than Reynolds. Reynolds didn't beat Scheyer off the dribble once. To the author, I wish I could meet you in person . Your face would look like the sick picture you showed of Scheyer. You're so tough at your keyboard, you stupid punk. Take your psych meds .

  6. Scheyer is better than Reynolds? You are obviously a moron.

  7. More Hardball wants to know which city has the hottest fans in Major League Baseball. We started out by going division by division in each league, then the past two weeks were the playoffs. Now it's time for the World Series of Hotness with the Philadelphia Phillies vs. the Los Angeles Angels.


    We'd appreciate a plug.

  8. I was gonna say the same thing about Scheyer. Hes a good player, Singlers pretty alright too but Duke blows other than that. The ACC was a little weaker this year overall. I cant wait for Nova to beat UNC to get to the finals. If they can even get past the Soonners (I picked Oklahoma)

    I wished I saw the Pitt game earlier in the year. I know Blair had foul trouble and he mightve made a difference but they still lost by 10. Like you said Rev, this is just an extremely complete team. Along with their excellent FT shooting, their depth and interchangeable parts is another key in surviving in the tournament: they are virtually immune to foul problems. What happens if Blair, Fields, or Young pick up 2 early? Hansbrough or Lawson? Blake Griffin?

    If Reynolds picks up a few fouls then Fish checks in. If Daunte has some problems, then put in Pena. Or if someone even tears their ACL right before theyre about to make the final push in the tournament again, they have someone on the bench to step right in.

    Also, Pitts problems in the earlier rounds are very real. They did not rebound ever. It wasnt that they pulled it out despite playing poorly, it was more of the other team blowing it (except for Fields' 3 the other night)

    One more point, that anoymous poster is pretty ridiculous. If youre defending Duke, you should know how much UNC fans hatred runs and their perception of Duke players as being soft. Especially since Redicks bitch ass played there

  9. I obviously don't really wish the plane went down. It's called satire people. Geez. Also, I don't ask people to agree with me. And as you would know if you read this site, I call out Scottie Reynolds quite a bit.

    And I'm a little confused on the racist part. I'm white, for the record. Who was I being racist against? Eh, whatever. I think Singler is the best player on the Duke and the offense should run through him. Just my thoughts.

    Oh, and for the record, I don't claim to be tough. The tone of this site is to hate on teams I dislike quite often. Again, it's called satire. About those meds though ... know any place I can get them?

  10. To Silver Fox; I guarantee you my IQ is double yours.
    Kiss my a--.

    To Paul Revere; you are the white equivalent of an uncle Tom.

    Mr K has stopped coaching. He should retire. Jay Wright is a great coach. If he had coached Duke and Mr K (he doesn't deserve the title "coach" ) coached Villanova, Duke would have won.

  11. I like this anonymous character. He's spicing things up around here.

  12. Double? I doubt that. Also, anyone who has watched this tournement can't say with a straight face that Scheyer is better than Reynolds. Hit up youtube and check out what Scottie did Saturday night, cause I have a feeling you haven't seen it yet.