Yesterday, Brian from the Villanova blog VUHoops.com sent out an APB on Twitter looking for a WVU blogger to exchange some info with. I always enjoy a good Q&A exchange, so how could I refuse? You can see my answers to his questions HERE. Let's get started...
TSM: Everybody knows about Corey Fisher. Who else do we need to be wary of?
Brian: Well, just about anyone named Corey on this team has a good chance of doing some damage, and for a while there, Corey Stokes looked like he was unstoppable. He has come down to earth a bit in the last few games though, but he is by far the best 3-pt shooter on the team (maybe only? Though, Cheek has had his moments). Besides Stokes, Antonio Pena has had more big games than small this season, and if he will quietly go about putting together a double-double so long as the guards feed him the ball.
TSM: OK, tough and respectable losses against Georgetown and UConn. What happened against Providence?
Brian: Can we call it the Dunkin' Donuts curse? In addition to missing almost every shot they took, 'Nova tried a 1-2-2 zone-press against a team that was more than capable of breaking it, leading to a lot of easy points in transition and desperation fouling. Offensively, the 'Cats didn't really get to the free-throw line and Corey Stokes essentially disappeared from the box score.
Oh, and Marshon Brooks is the real deal.
TSM: 'Nova is known for it's guard-centric offense. What makes it work in a bruising league like the Big East? Does the rebounding suffer because of this?
Brian: Well, this year we're about to blow your mind. On Wednesday, Jay Wright only started two guards. I don't know what's in the cards for Saturday, but Villanova has only occasionally gone to the four-guard set this season and has mostly played with two or three bigs on the court at any given time.
Even when the 'Cats did go small in the past though, it never really had a huge negative effect on rebounding. I believe that was one category where almost every team of the Jay Wright era has had some success. The key was having bigger guards as well as an all-around team commitment to being physical and fighting for rebounds.
TSM: Can WVU expect to see any players with size thrown at them that are effective down low?
Brian: Mouphtaou Yarou can be very effective at times and at other times he can look like he's not really sure what he's doing out on the court. We saw good-Mouph on Wednesday and I hope that it carries over to this weekend. Otherwise there is Antonio Pena, who at 6'8" can be pretty effective, Isaiah Armwood who is the best athlete on the team, but more of a defensive and rebounding specialist and Mo Sutton, a great shot blocker who doesn't really provide a lot else.
TSM: I'm a football guy much more than I'm a basketball guy. Is Villanova going to make the move up to FBS? If so, when? Will Philly support a college football team?
Brian: Well, I hope so, and there are a few encouraging signs right now coming from the school. It isn't as financially-impossible as some people portray it as, and I think that the Villanova administration is a lot more open to the idea than they were when it was last broached in 1997. We're expecting a final decision on the matter some time in April, when the Board of Trustees meets.
As for whether Philly will support the team? Who knows. They come out 20,000-strong or so for college basketball, and while many of those are Villanova Alums, the point still stands that there is SOME market for college sports in Philly. I think the keys are playing at the highest level (BCS) and being somewhat successful there.
Even if unaffiliated locals don't come out for our football games, the alumni living in New Jersey, New York and further afield are more likely to travel for 2 or more hours to Philadelphia for a football game against your Mountaineers than one against William & Mary.
TSM: Where can WVU fans get the good eats and their drink on near the arena Saturday? Any good cheese-steak stands/establishments near by?
Brian: The Arena is in South Philly, so if you want a cheese-steak, your best bet is probably Tony Lukes. Some people think that's the best cheesesteak in Philly. Also nearby is Chickies and Petes, just down the road from the sports complex at Broad Street and Packer Ave., which has some good bar food and beer.
Inside the arena, the AT&T Pavilion bar tends to get packed with people before and after the game, and there is always live music there as well. When AT&T's cover band is a little too annoying, I walk down the concourse to P.J. Whelihan's, which is slightly smaller, but just as fun an environment.
There you have it folks. Thanks to Brian for playing along!! Part II with our SBNation cousin, The Nova Blog will be along shortly.