Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Autopsy on Bloomsburg

If the number of newspaper stories (Philadelphia papers had two local stories plus the AP report), the excellent indepth review by the Let'sGoNova Blogger and the Rival's message board threads devoted to player reviews are any indication, the Villanova fan-base is really ready to get this season underway. Looking for "Just the facts Ma'am"? Try the AP news wire report. The Inky's Joe Juliano provides a bit more depth along with a good narrative style in his article, "Villanova tunes up with preseason romp". Juliano's piece provides a good many quotes from Coach Wright and also high scorer Corey Stokes. Fan favorite Dana Pennett O'Neil of the Philadelphia Daily News gives a very entertaining game review that combines wry observations with a pointed game narrative and player/coach quotes in "Cats Rout Bloomsburg at a Site for more eyes". The disquieting news from the game had nothing to do with the action on the court -- wing/forward Shane Clark and pg Corey Fisher were DNPs. Clark, nursing a sprained thumb should, pending an examination today (Wednesday), be ready for Friday's opening game against Stony Brook according to Coach Wright. Fisher on the other hand, has tendinitis in one of his knees, so the staff may postpone his debut as a 'Cat until the Bucknell game (or later?).

Let'sGoNova, who attended the game, combines a great synopsis of the action/highlights with a review of each of the players who saw action in his entry "'Nova dismantles Bloomsburg in exhibition". Several of my own observations after reviewing the box score...

  1. The game pace was "exhibition season" high. The Wildcats will not play many games at 71 possessions...though one or two of the games against lesser OOC opponents may be that up tempo.
  2. Corey Stokes is the second scoring option. The freshman has had limited practice lately due to family matters, but nevertheless turned in the high score for the game. This is consistent with his production in Canada last month. Through the 5 exhibition games he is hitting 3s at a 47.2% clip. And 2s at 60.0%. His eFG, at 69.5, is ridiculously high. And considering he has been taking 25% of the shots when he is on the floor, he is both prolific and efficient.
  3. Red shirted freshman Antonio Pena may surprise a few opponents this season. He is not bashful about taking his shots either. But he could be a bit more aggressive on the boards.
  4. 6-10 center Cas Drummond and Dante Cunningham started the Bloomsburg game (along with pg Scottie Reynolds and wings Reggie Redding & Corey Stokes), giving the team a very traditional look. And a very tall look too. Grant, Fisher (and Clark) would give this team a very different look (and offense) with little (zero actually) drop-off in scoring efficiency.

The staff used 9 players last night, giving 7 players (starters Cas Drummond, Dante Cunningham, Corey Stokes, Reggie Redding and Scottie Reynolds, along with subs Antonio Pena and Malcolm Grant) at least 20 minutes. Andy Ott (9 minutes) and Dwayne Anderson (11 minutes) received the balance of the available time. Given that Clark and Fisher were not in the rotation last night it seems the staff will most likely give minutes to the 7 who played at least 20 minutes, but redistribute those minutes slightly (and bench Anderson and Ott, though Anderson had an efficient scoring run...) to accommodate Fisher and Clark. I suspect experimentation will continue into the Big East regular season. This is an interesting problem to have.

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