DePaul Blue Demons vs. Villanova Wildcats – Saturday, February 11, 2006 – 1:00 p.m. CST – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
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The Blue Demons talk about playing Villanova
"We need to try to figure out a way to bounce back," said DePaul junior guard Sammy Mejia. "Obviously, Villanova, number four in the country, that's a big game. It would be a big win if we can pull it off. We just need to get in the gym and do whatever we need to do in order to try to make that happen Saturday."
"They (the Blue Demons) won't have any fear," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright. "They'll have respect. They (Villanova) are very, very good. They are such a different team than everybody else right now, because they are able to play four kids at roughly 6-4 or under and put the decision in your lap on how you are going to play the back. Do you change your lineup? Or, do you try to do what you're going to do? It's obviously something we have to think about over the next couple days. I think they'll be really excited about playing. It's Homecoming, I think we'll have a great crowd."
"You're playing one of the best teams in the country," Wainwright offered. "Jay (Wright) has done an incredible job with his kids. They're a team of basketball players. They're not a team of positions. They play the game the right way. They have really good balance. They have tremendous skills. They have great team speed. They create problems that you don't see the rest of the year. So, it's a difficult prep. What you hope is that you play great and they play not so great, because that will be the only chance most of the teams that play Villanova will have. Unless you're one of the elite teams in the country like a Connecticut or a West Virginia. They're certainly one of the better teams I've seen all year. It's an exciting time for our young kids to play them."
"I don't know, unless we play six or seven guys, if we can match up with Villanova's five," Wainwright remarked. "They present a completely different problem than any team we'll play all year. We have played small a lot this year. It is an option for us. We have to take a look at how the game goes. We have a lot of wing players. It might be that the best way to approach this game is to play them a little bit smaller. But, our strength is to be strong. I'd hate to go away from our strength the last couple games."
4th ranked Villanova comes to Allstate Arena on a seven game winning streak while DePaul has lost seven of their last eight. Villanova 18-2 and 7-1 in the Big East is coming off a tough comeback win against Big 5 rival St. Joseph's University 71-58. DePaul enters Saturday's contest at 9-12 and 2-8 in the Big East following their second one point loss to Providence 61-60. DePaul is 6-8 all time against the Wildcats, but did win their last meeting back in DePaul's last final four year (1978-79 season) 69-66. This, of course, is the first meeting between the schools in Big East play.
First off I want to say that I don't claim to be a Villanova expert. I have seen the Wildcats play four or five times this season. Villanova is much deserving of their top 10 ranking because they are a complete team on the offensive end and play just enough good "D" to be a top team. When there is a key possession or if they get down early their defense picks up. On offense they have a lot of players that could be another team's scoring leader, but each plays his roll to the fullest. The Wildcats get their points from good sets, but can also go off the dribble. If you look at the stats nothing jumps out as to why they are one of the top teams in the country. Their shooting percentage is not high and they don't kill teams on the boards but they do seem to be smart with the ball.
Villanova uses mostly upperclassmen in the starting lineup. Randy Foye is the leading scorer for the Wildcats with an average over 20 points per game. Allan Ray averages just below 20 per game. Other double digit scorers are Mike Nardi and Kyle Lowery. There is not a big time rebounder on Villanova but five guys average around five rebounds a game. The Wildcats top assist man is Lowery at around four a game. Nardi and Lowery are the Wildcats good three point shooters but have plenty of others that can make a trey. Villanova is a very good free throw shooting team.
I think the keys to coming up with the huge upset are getting off to a good start and rebounding well. Villanova is not a team that scores in spurts unless they do it with their defense. DePaul needs to take care of the ball and not have major scoring droughts and there could be a chance. DePaul needs to play defense by not taking chances out on the perimeter and not allow penetration. DePaul's big guys need to play a wonderful game and take it to Villanova on offense and muscle up on their big guys. If it comes down to fouling at the end of the game to get back in it, Villanova usually puts their opponents away with their good free throw shooters. The Wildcats have proven that they don't like to blow teams out. I hope DePaul is up for the challenge of a top five opponent because this is why we, as fans, wanted to move to the Big East.
Nardi listed as day-to-day, bedridden on Thursday
NOTE: Mike Nardi did not play against St. Joseph's because of tonsillitis. VU coach Jay Wright was concerned that Nardi might have mononucleosis, but tests on Wednesday came back negative. As of Thursday evening, Nardi was still bedridden with severe tonsillitis.
No. Name Position Year Ht Wt Hometown Previous School
23 Dwayne Anderson Guard/Forward FR 6-6 215 Silver Spring, Md. St. Thomas More
3 Bilal Benn Guard/Forward FR 6-5 205 Philadelphia, Pa. Hargrave Military Academy
21 Chris Charles Forward RS SR 7-0 222 Milwaukee, Wis. Crispus Attucks
35 Shane Clark Forward FR 6-7 200 Philadelphia, Pa. Hargrave Military Academy
4 Ross Condon Guard JR 5-11 185 Springfield, Va. Potomac School
33 Dante Cunningham Forward FR 6-9 220 Silver Spring, Md. Potomac
22 Baker Dunleavy Guard RS JR 6-5 205 Portland, Ore. Lawrenceville Prep
2 Randy Foye Guard SR 6-4 205 Newark, N.J. East Side
20 Jason Fraser Forward/Center SR 6-9 225 Amityville, N.Y. Amityville H.S.
1 Kyle Lowry Guard SO 6-1 175 Philadelphia, Pa. Cardinal Dougherty
12 Mike Nardi Guard JR 6-2 170 Linden, N.J. St. Patrick's
14 Allan Ray Guard SR 6-2 195 Bronx, N.Y. St. Raymond's
50 Will Sheridan Forward JR 6-8 238 Bear, Del. Sanford
34 Curtis Sumpter Forward SR 6-7 223 Brooklyn, N.Y. Bishop Loughlin
42 Frank Tchuisi Forward FR 6-9 210 Douala, Cameroon St. Benedict's
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