Mental Mistakes Tame The Wildcats

Paul ZakrzewskiContributor IFebruary 22, 2010

PITTSBURGH - FEBRUARY 21:  Head coach Jay Wright of the University of Villanova Wildcats reacts to a call in the first half during the game against the University of Pittsburgh Panthers on February 21, 2010 at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Not being the biggest team height wise in a conference such as the Big East has its disadvantages. However, Villanova, led by senior guard Scottie Reynolds, has held their own. Currently in second place in the conference behind only Syracuse, the Wildcats had a chance to grasp a share of the top spot with a victory over #19 Pitt. To no avail, the Wildcats beat themselves, losing to The Panthers 70-65. Taking nothing away from Pitt, who held their Big East rivals to 65 points. Nova typically scores 85 points when playing in-conference games, but a mixture of a struggling Reynolds, foul trouble, and other mental mistakes left the #3 ranked Wildcats tremendously vulnerable.

Besides the two new freshman in Yarou and Sutton who never or rarely play, the biggest man on the court for Nova is the 6'8 Antonio Pena. Therefore, the guards especially need to be boxing out at all times. I consider not boxing out your man a mental mistake. The stats don't lie, the Wildcats gave up a horrible 18 offensive rebounds to Pitt, which led to many second chance points.

Another problem that always seems to come back and hurt Villanova is their nack for getting in foul trouble. The Nova starters and Taylor King combined for an unheard of 24 fouls to Pitt's 12. Foul trouble cost Reynolds his first half, as he spent most of the time on the bench after picking up two quick fouls. Stupid fouls at the end of the game will kill a team and momentum. Nothing hurts a team more than being charged with an offensive foul. The Wildcats had over 6 offensive fouls including one late by senior Reggie Redding.

Not taking anything away from Pitt, who showed true character and shot an unprecedented 76.5% from the free-throw line. Still, Villanova showed multiple weaknesses in their game on Sunday that could hold them back from reaching the Final Four.