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Albany - Villanova preview

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Hey guys,


I'll do almost anything to avoid doing work this week, so I thought I'd pop over here to try to get some info on the Danes in advance of this Wednesday's game. Anyone out there want to give me a quick rundown of your team (overall outlook thus far, who to watch, etc.)? I'll reciprocate below.


Also, if any of you have any desire at all to see the game in person, come on down. With the students home for break, there will be at least 1,000 tix available at the door.


Villanova has only played 5 games to date, one of the lowest totals in the nation. Much speculation as to the reason for this, the most likely being more opportunity for our oft-injured center, Jason Fraser, to get healthy. Though our opponents thus far haven't been the toughest, defense has been the name of the game. Villanova currently leads the nation in scoring defense and is highly ranked in rebounding margin, blocks, defensive shooting percentage, etc. The defensive scheme often includes a 3/4 court press, falling back into a 1/2 court trap and then an aggressive match-up zone.


The strong "D" has helped cover up for what has sometimes been an anemic offense, especially from long distance. The shooting has been absymal in several games, but came around a little in the last game vs. Fordham. Teams have been successful playing zone and forcing the shooters to the hit the 3. However, since 4 starters shot over 30% from long distance last year, this trend may not continue too much longer.


In terms of players, Villanova plays a 7-8 man rotation. Main scoring threats are SG Allan Ray, SF/PF Curtis Sumpter, SG/SF Randy Foye, all juniors. The aforementioned Fraser has been gaining strength and confidence after a career of injuries, and has been effective in limited minutes, ranking among the national leaders in blocks. PG is Mike Nardi, who has been effective in distributing the ball and running the offense but has struggled mightily with his shooting.


My game prediction: only two teams have scored 50 points vs. 'Nova thus far this year, and I expect that smothering defense to continue. The intensity will probably be a little off right after finals and so close to Christmas, so I'll call it a Villanova win, 62-45.

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LetsGo Nova


We fit in and are probably a little weaker then the types of teams Nova has chosen to play early this season.


We are limited up front with 7'1" BC transfer Kirsten Zoellner starting at center and two 6'6" Fs. Our two staring guards can be tough. Jamar Wilson is a 6'1" combo guard running the Point and Lucious Jordan is a 6'2" off guard both are talented and could compete at a level higher than the AE.


Our best shooter and PG is out with a shoulder injury and our 6th/7th is out with a broken wrist.


Your frontline should be tough for us to handle especially Sumpter. Your prediction seems realistic but if we shoot the ball well which is possible we could hang around for awhile.


Your perdiction seems justified but.......


Anytime a lower level DI team can hang with a team from a Major Conference, anything can happen in a 5-10 minute segment.

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Please, Patch are you kidding me!? Look, if UA plays to its potential, even without IATI, they are a better squad than Monmouth, UMBC, Philadephia, La Salle, and Fordham. Those are teams with name recognition (La Salle and Fordham) but pack little punch this year.


How are we limited up front? We have Wilson, Wyatt, the "Q", and Levine to throw out there, w/o even mentioning Zoellner. It's not like Frazier and Co. have been dominating the paint. Plus, Dyson is a five foul type of guy; remember that he matched up against Sheridan for three years in practice...so he is used to him. You can even get some, although limited, minutes out of Knotts if need be.


As for Iati's absence, sure it hurts, but what games have you been watching. He isn't our PG...JAMAR is. Iati has been the gunner...period. To say Jamar "could" compete at the next level is silly...he is a MAAC/A-Ten player...end of story. Lucious has proven himself at a higher level, tearing the MAAC up.'


To be honest....I am clearly worried about Sumpter, but not so much about the rest of 'Nova as a killer style team. They have very nice top-level players...but not one who wows you. I really like Nardi alot, shooting struggles aside. I think, however, Jamar, Lucious, and especially Courtney (who will see some decent minutes I think because he can physically take Nardi out of his game) play some good D. This game will be won by Nova in the post. I forsee Zoellner in some foul trouble...with Wyatt seeing some serious minutes.


I think you were trying to be guarded in your optimisim, however if UA can get out and run on NOVA, this will be a 74-63 type of game for NOVA. If it is a bruising style game, I think it plays into Nova's hands if we lose the toughness shown in the Hartford game (first time since last year we played "tough").


This may be the best matchup we have had against a big time team. If we had both Iati and Lillis, I would even go so far as saying UA had shot, albeit slim, to actually pull off the upset for some of the many reasons Let'sGoNova stated.

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I a believe in what you say, remember I am very conservative.


I think this team could be special, but I don't think the same group has worked together since pre season, due to injuries and suspensions. One thing is for sure Brown will not prostitute himself for a couple of "Ws".


I am hoping and believe we can be competitive but in reality this is AE vs Big East.


If all goes well and we're in contact with 10 minutes or less left I believe we can win it!!!!


I love next year's recruits Connelly and Covington are both better than AE.

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Two things:


One, Patchy, I apologize if I cane off strong. I totally agree with you; basically if the team plays like it did versus Hartford and Siena, this will be a 7-10 pt game with 5 minutes to play.


Two, LGNova...I also agree; Sumpter and co have been dominant on the boards...but I was thinking more of an offenisve deal. If they dont kill us with inside offense, we can make this a game!

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Although this is certainly a tough game for us since it is essentially a mediocore Big East team versus a bit better than average AE team, I still think we certainly have the talent to pull out a win.


If we play the same defense with Lucious playing the same game offensively and Levi playing as aggressive as they did against Hartford, with Q, Jamar, and Kirsten (or Special K as 980 was calling him in the Hartford game...lol) playing the same offensively as they did against Long Island, I def think this will be a great and likely fairly close game.


I also don't agree with LGNova's low estimate for our point total. Although I don't expect to meet our average at 73 points per game, I don't think it will be too tough to eclipse 50 and likely 60 points. We dropped over 70 points on one of the AE's best scoring defenses in Hartford.


I know it is rare for all of this to come together against such a talented conference's team, but it really is so nice for us to even be able to present a possible senario this year where we could pull out a win.


It would be a nice early Christmas present to be within 15 points at the end and awesome to have it end within single digits...but, although very slim, I still think an upset is possible.


Prediction: 76-62 'Nova

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I admit I haven't followed Villanova too much this year and they haven't played in a while. A few things I saw that were interesting on their game notes:


-I don't if they started him all year but they're starting a 7 footer against us. Probably to Zoellner's benefit as he seems to have trouble with the smaller, quicker post players.


-They've won a couple of games by 20+ points but only have 8 guys with stats. Are the other three guys walk-ons? I know they've had some injury problems.


Judging by some of the posts on the Villanova message board and past experience the Wildcats will probably try to take Albany's leading scorer out of the game, in this case Lou Jordan. I have a hard time picturing anyone muscling Jordan around.


I agree with GoDanesGo about the scoring. Not that I'm necessarily predicting a win, but with Wilson, Jordan and Levi out there this team should be able to put up points against anyone. I think our guards can hold their own but Nova's frontcourt is big, strong and athletic. Hopefully Zoellner has a big night on both ends of the court.

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Chris Charles (who is a legit 7-footer, but weighs about 210) has been starting at center, but Fraser and Marcus Austin have taken the majority of the minutes at the 5.


You are correct on the number of players. There are 13 players on the roster, with 4 walk-ons and 1 player out for the year with an injury (Lowry).


We'll see on the point total. Without disrespecting you guys, I would be surprised if Albany is the team that breaks out offensively against us.

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