Chris from the outstanding Villanova blog I Bleed Blue and White was nice enough to answer a few questions about the game with USF tonight. I answered a few questions for Chris as well, and you can check them out here. Visit his site anytime, even during football season. They have a pretty good thing going at the FCS level.
1. You guys have not lost a step after the Wildcats' Final Four trip last year, and most think (myself included) that you have a better team this season. How has Coach Wright done it?
He changed the attitude in the program. He made it a place that top high school players want to come play. We weren't terrible before him, but we were certainly underachieving since Kerry Kittles graduated. He's recruited extremely well. That was step 1.
Step 2 was getting the players to buy into a team environment and a program. We don't have a lot of 1 or 2-and-done players. It's truly a rarity. The players love playing with each other and that type of atmosphere has led to a lot of success and a lot of happy fans.
2. Can you give everyone a brief overview of what Nova likes to do on offense and defense?
On offense we obviously have great guards so we run a lot of ball screens where we look to drive and take it to the hoop or kick it out for a jump shot. When we hit the skids on offense, we'll look to feed Antonio Pena in the post, who has been surprisingly very good down there this year. He's made a big leap. Recently our shooting has been abysmal, which has been a big reason for losing 2 straight.
On defense we press a lot because of our depth, so we usually have a lot of fresh bodies on the floor. We never play zone, and instead will play straight man and trap if the opportunity arises on the sideline. If a team can remain calm, they'll find success, much to the displeasure of our fans, who believe we shouldn't be pressing. I agree with that.
3. I know you are going to enjoy your last six weeks with Scottie Reynolds. What would you give for him to have another year of eligibility?
In all seriousness, it's been a great ride with him. He's carried this program over the past 4 years and turned us into what looks like a perennial Top-10 program. 5 years ago, I'm not sure you could see this coming, especially after Ray, Foye and Lowry left all in one year. It's going to be a tough adjustment without him next year. I'll probably start drinking a lot more.
4. Give me a little bit of hope tomorrow. What can USF do to keep this game close and possibly have the Bulls pull off the upset?
Dominique Jones will probably have to have a pretty big game I'd imagine. He'll face a steady dose of Reggie Redding, Corey Stokes and Dominic Cheek, who won't make it easy on him. The other thing that is prudent for USF to do is have Gilchrist and Famous get Pena in foul trouble. He's the only proven player for Villanova down low, and we've struggled without his presence. Oh yeah, and shoot the lights out. When teams do that, they handle us with ease.
5. I'd like to throw a football question at you. Would you like to see the team try to move up to 1A and experience a couple of lean years and compete in the Big East, or stay down at 1AA and continue to dominate.
I want to move up. One of the biggest things missing from my college experience was big-time football and I feel robbed. I realize money and stadium size is a big issue, but I think we would have the fanbase to support it every weekend if we made the move. Just the legitimacy of being FBS is huge from a support standpoint.
I get both sides of the argument though. We're doing great in FCS.
6. Lastly, who is Jay Wright's tailor, and where can I get one of his suits?
If I told you I'd have to kill you. Only those in the elite society are privy to such information. You'll have to keep settling for Men's Wearhouse. But hey, you'll like the way you look. Just not love it.
Thanks to Chris for once again answering these questions, and if you haven't visited his blog yet, GO!