Behind Enemy Lines: Q&A

Ahead of tonight’s matchup with Villanova, Danny Zielinski and Jimmy Lemke of spoke with Brian Ewart of Jimmy answered some questions for Villanova at this link.

PantherU: The Villanova fans seem to be looking past Milwaukee, it is doubtful Jay Wright does the same. Do you think the players may look past Milwaukee to former conference foe UConn and Philadelphia rival Saint Joseph’s?

VUHoops: I think fans may be looking at this game with confidence, but they’ve seen both the best and the worst of this team, so I doubt many are truly “looking past” Milwaukee. That said, the Seton Hall loss in the Big East Tournament was the wake-up call to every player on the team. They’ve been drilled now by Jay Wright’s latest mantra that Villanova can beat anyone or lose to anyone.

PantherU: Who should Milwaukee fans be looking at during layup lines before the game? Who is Villanova’s go to guy?

VUHoops: This season, there isn’t really one guy on Villanova who can pull a Scottie Reynolds and take over every game. James Bell has been the top scorer, but keep an eye on Darrun Hilliard and JayVaughn Pinkston as well. The ‘Cats share the ball well, but those three have a tendency to find a groove and get hot pretty often.

PantherU: People often say Jay Wright is the best-dressed coach in basketball. Are you guys aware that Rob Jeter is the best-dressed coach in basketball?

VUHoops: I did a quick Google Image search to try and verify your claims, and I didn’t see a single pocket-square. For shame! Perhaps Coach Jeter can edge his way into the top of the rankings, but he’s going to have to step up his game to play in the same sartorial league as Jay Wright. I’m always open to dissent on this issue, of course.

PantherU: What are the biggest weaknesses of Villanova that you could see a mid-major exploited?

VUHoops:  Villanova will extend the defense out to the perimeter, but off-the-ball movement can draw defenders off of a shooter outside in Nova’s scheme. They’ve been better at that switch this year than in seasons’ past, but it is still an issue that crops up. A mid-major team that can hit a very high percentage of those shots from deep range is going to make Villanova sweat.

PantherU: Does it worry Villanova fans coming into the game that the team relies on shooting more threes than anyone?

VUHoops: Yes.

Can I go-ahead and leave it there? Villanova loves the three-pointer this season. They’ve loved it in the past too, but maybe never as much. What’s scary about that is that while they are 7th among teams for shooting 3-pointers as a percentage of field goal attempts, they’re only 97th among teams for 3-point percentage. What isn’t scary is the fact that the team’s defense and rebounding combine to make that situation (usually) a workable one.
PantherU: Are you guys totally let down by the new Big East than the old Big East? It seems like they got what they wanted with basketball first, but now it seems like to many of the football schools carry the firepower.
VUHoops: The new Big East is better than some of the worst-case scenarios, but I certainly miss the old version. Syracuse, UConn and Louisville were all big-time games that we aren’t going to see every year anymore. Only the old Big East could put 11 teams into the NCAA tournament and lock up a 1-seed (or more) every year.

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