Villanova Basketball: Same System, Same Results
Let's face the facts. Jay Wright, head coach of the Villanova University Wildcats, is an expeptional coach.
He has taken Villanova Wildcat teams deep in to the tournament, reaching the Sweet 16 in 2005, cruising to the Elite 8 in 2006, where they lost to the future National Champion Florida Gators, and in what could be called his greatest accomplishment in his tenure at Villanova, taking this year's crew of 'Cats all the way to the Sweet 16.
Jay Wright is a man of very few flaws, but he and his team's Achilles heal always ends up getting exposed in the stretch run of their season. That heal that inevitably dooms the Wildcats? "The Big Man".
When Villanova big man Curtis Sumpter went down in the 2005-2006 season, Jay and his 'Cats adopted a four guard, one forward offense, consisting of Randy Foye, currently a Minnesota Timberwolf, Allen Ray, currently in the NBDL, Kyle Lowry, currently of the Memphis Grizzlies, Mike Nardi, and the oft injured Jason Frasier— the big man.
Villanova coasted through the 2005 season finishing 28-5, including an impressive record of 11-5 against RPI top 50 teams. They entered the Big East tournament as the top team and their matchup against Rutgers resulted in an easy double digit victory. Then the Wildcats had a matchup against the Panthers of Pittsburgh. This game ended Villanova's Big East run, as Pitt defeated them 67-54.
When tournament time came around, they easily put down Monmouth. Their following two games resulted in nail bitters, but both were victories for the Wildcats. They then faced Florida and were beaten handily. Summing up: the Florida combo of Al Horford and Joakim Noah spelled doom for the 'Cats.
Since then Villanova has not had a dominant big man and the results have been the same. In this coming year, the thrill of inking Tyreke Evans of Chester, Penn., has Villanova excited again. But to this I say, "Look to the past to see the future." Teams such as Georgetown, Louisville and UConn all have dominant big men and are consistently ranked. But 'Nova, who is always loaded with guards, have up and down streaks every year and are becoming a so called "bubble team".
The 2008-2009 Wildcats have some amazing guards such as Scottie Reynolds, The Corey's, Fisher and Stokes, Dwayne Anderson, and possibly Tyreke Evans. As of now, this roster is resembling that of the 2005-2006 'Cats—a team that had a good run but, in the end, had their flaw exposed.
If Jay Wright has proved anything as a head coach in Division I basketball it is that four guards aren't "Wright" for a championship team.
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