Thursday, March 26, 2009

Villanova vs. Duke Sweet 16 Preview

Why Villanova Can Win: Balance and versatility. The Wildcats don't have a star. Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher are both McDonald's All-American's, but Fisher comes off the bench and Reynolds has developed into much more of a point guard that a flashy scoring guard (most thought he would be the latter after a stellar freshman campaign. Dwayne Anderson, Reggie Redding, Shane Clarke, and Corey Stokes are all outstanding defenders that can guard multiple positions (with the exception of Stokes, the other three can defend 1-5, especially on a team like Duke). But they also can do different things on the offensive end. Dante Cunningham has turned into a force in the paint. The thing that makes this Villanova team so dangerous is that they have about six or seven guys that can go for 20 on any given night, and it doesn't matter to them who it is.

Why Duke Can Win: Gerald Henderson. No one on Nova can come near matching Henderson's athleticism (maybe Shane Clark, but Clark cannot guard Henderson on the perimeter). Putting a guy like Redding or Stokes on Henderson might be able to slow him down for a while, simply because he would get out-physicaled, but G has proven he is too good of a slasher to be slowed down like that. Henderson has not reached double figures just once in the last 28 games. I also like the match-up Jon Scheyer will be getting. He will more than likely be guarded by Scottie Reynolds for much of the game, and Reynolds is exactly the kind of defender that Scheyer can beat - not all that big, not all that quick.

Key To The Game: Duke's perimeter defense and boxing out. The Devils have had problems this year handling penetration (do I need to remind you what Ty Lawson did in the two games they played UNC). They are also going to have problems keeping a Villanova team that goes to the boards very hard from the perimeter. That is going to be the difference right there. Case in point - American was up by 14 early in the second half on Nova because they forced them into jump shots and kept the Wildcats at one shot a possession. They lost by 13 because Villanova started getting to the paint and to the glass.

BIAH Pick: Villanova. Can a team with no true point guard beat a team with two Mickey D's all-american point guards?

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