Keys to Success: What Has Gotten Villanova This Far?

Steve ChottCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 21:  Scottie Reynolds #1 and Shane Clark #20 of the Villanova Wildcats cheer from the bench during the game against the UCLA Bruins during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Wachovia Center on March 21, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Outside of Villanova fans and possibly some other Big East fans, not many people knew much about Villanova's team.

Then college basketball fans tuned into the Big East Tournament to see Villanova's run. After coming one game short of the Big East championship game, fans could tell that this team had potential and had a great chance of going far this year.

But what has gotten them this far?


Coaching is always a big part to a team's success. Without a knowledgeable coach, a team will not get very far.

For a good example see the New York Knicks with Isiah Thomas.

This being said the Villanova Wildcats have a great coach in Jay Wright.

In his six years as coach of the Wildcats, he has put up some great numbers such as winning at least one Big East Tournament game every year he has been there. It may not seem all that great, but that is something very hard to do.

Wright does not let his players get out of hand and definitely puts forth a "team first" mentality.

Another thing that Jay Wright teams traditionally have is good free throw shooting. His teams overall free throw percentage is .714. Free throws are very important for teams to succeed in basketball.


This team is great at spreading the ball around to all of their players. When you watch the Wildcats play, it is rare to see someone take the defended shot when he could kick it to an open man.

Villanova's teamwork also shows in the stats. When you look at the amount of points scored by the starters, one guy does not have an overwhelming amount over another.

In their second round match-up against UCLA, the starting five players, Scottie Reynolds, Dante Cunningham, Reggie Redding, Shane Clark, and Dwayne Anderson, all scored near each other in points.

Reynolds with 11, Cunningham with 18, Redding with 13, Clark with eight, and Anderson with 10. The fact that one guy does not stand out above the others is a good thing. If someone does not show up, then their is other players to back him up.


In order to make a title run in any sport, it is very important to have a good bench. And the Villanova Wildcats do have that.

They have players coming off their bench that have the ability to be starting in the place of the starters sometimes. Their biggest three-point shooter, Corey Stokes starts the game on the bench, but he can knock down important three-point shots when he gets in.

Corey Fisher is also a great sophomore coming off the bench averaging 10.9 PPG and 2.9 APG. He is third best on their team behind Dante Cunningham and Scottie Reynolds in PPG.

Now that the Wildcats have reached the Sweet 16 we ask, what will get them to the Final Four?

One thing Villanova does great is, when they get hot they do not stop. They will ride their hot streaks and keep pounding the opposing team in until they give up. We saw this happen in both of their previous games, in the end of the American and the whole game against UCLA.

Villanova also spreads the ball around the court and spreads out the defenses to leave open holes for some easy lay-ups.

Another thing they do is play great, and shut down defenses. The Wildcats play hard, physical defense and would much rather foul you then let you drive to the lane for an easy lay-up.

At the beginning of the NCAA Tournament in my very own bracket, I did not think Villanova could make the Final Four.

After their first two tournament games though, I have no doubt this is the best team we have had for quite some time and we are capable of beating Pitt and Duke on our way to the Final Four.