DePaul Blue Demons vs. Villanova Wildcats – Saturday, January 6, 2006 – 1:00 p.m. CST – The Pavilion, Villanova, PA
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DePaul, coming off a 64-53 loss at St. John's, travels down to the City of Brotherly Love, for the first time as part of the Big East conference, to take on the Villanova Wildcats on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats, although enjoying a nice season with a 10-3 record, come into this matchup after dropping their Big East opener at West Virginia 67-56 as well.
Certainly both clubs will view this game as crucial as neither wants to go 0-2 to start Big East play. Nobody understands that more than Blue Demons coach Jerry Wainwright. "We have to regroup and obviously we're going into a tough place to play," said Wainwright. "(Nova Coach) Jay (Wright) is coming off a road loss with his kids. We've got to find a way to shoot the ball better than we did (at St. John's). We need to get our chins up and bounce back. That's all you can do in this league. We play three of our first four on the road. There's no time to feel sorry for yourself."
Villanova, who is coming off a wonderful 2005-06 campaign when they finished with a 28-5 record and an Elite 8 appearance, is plugging right along with the play of 6-7 senior Curtis Sumpter (19.8 ppg and 6.7 ppg). Sumpter was supposed to be a vital cog in Villanova's run towards a title last year but he tore his ACL in the 2005 NCAA tournament and never bounced back and was forced to redshirt the 2005-06 season. What was a devastating loss for the 2005-06 squad has become a huge blessing for the 2006-07 Wildcats. Sumpter is a warrior who can carry the team on his back and is a classic inside-outside scorer.
Also back and better than ever is 6-2 senior guard Mike Nardi (14.5 ppg and 4.4 apg). Nardi was a key part of the vaunted four guard offense Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright implemented last year. Playing alongside three future NBA guards has made Nardi that much of a better player. Nardi runs the show and he is the straw that stirs Villanova drink.
Sumpter and Nardi are no doubt the heart and soul for the Wildcats. However the Wildcats are succeeding also on the balance they get out of Shane Clark (9.1 ppg), Dante Cunningham (8.2 ppg), Scottie Reynolds (8 ppg), Will Sheridan (7 ppg) and Dwayne Anderson (6.2 ppg).
Villanova is not a particularly a deep squad with much of the starters getting the bulk of the minutes. Conversely, DePaul Head Coach Jerry Wainwright loves to use his bench and regularly uses 10-11 players. Expect to see the Blue Demons try to tire the Wildctas by throwing a wave of players at them.
For DePaul to be successful, they must put behind them the disappointment of losing to St.John's and get back to business. They must do what they did to end their non-conference schedule and that is share the ball, get contributions from their bench, and continue to tighten up on defense.
If last years game (a 61-51 Villanova win in Rosemont) is any indication, then expect a good game. Last years contest was tight until the end and DePaul was undone by the same reason they had trouble at St.John's: free throw shooting. In the game versus Villanova last year, DePaul was 10-23 from the line. In the game against the Red Storm on Wednesday night, DePaul was 13-25. If last year is any indication expect a nice rebound at the charity stripe. DePaul followed up their brutal showing at the line against Nova by knocking down 13 of 14 in their next game at St.John's.
One can only hope for instant karma again.
No. Name Pos. Cl. (EXP) Ht. Wt. Hometown High School
0 Antonio Pena Forward FR (HS) 6-8 235 Brooklyn, N.Y. St. Thomas More
1 Scottie Reynolds Guard FR (HS) 6-2 195 Herndon, Va. Herndon
3 Bilal Benn Guard/Forward SO (1L) 6-5 205 Philadelphia, Pa. Hargrave Military Academy
4 Ross Condon Guard SR (3L) 5-11 180 Springfield, Va. Potomac School
12 Mike Nardi Guard SR (3L) 6-2 170 Linden, N.J. St. Patrick's
15 Reggie Redding Guard FR (HS) 6-5 205 Philadelphia, Pa. St. Joseph's Prep
20 Shane Clark Forward SO (1L) 6-7 205 Philadelphia, Pa. Hargrave Military Academy
21 Andrew Ott Forward FR (HS) 6-10 220 Abington, Pa. Germantown Academy
22 Dwayne Anderson Guard/Forward SO (1L) 6-5 215 Washington, D.C. St. Thomas More
32 Casiem Drummond Forward/Center FR (HS) 6-10 280 West Orange, N.J. Bloomfield Tech
33 Dante Cunningham Forward SO (1L) 6-8 225 Silver Spring, Md. Potomac
34 Curtis Sumpter Forward RS SR (4L) 6-7 225 Brooklyn, N.Y. Bishop Loughlin
42 Frank Tchuisi Forward SO (1L) 6-8 215 Douala, Cameroon St. Benedict's
50 Will Sheridan Forward SR (3L) 6-8 240 Bear, Del. Sanford
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