Villanova Pre-Game Blog

Jan. 16, 2010

“If you want to pull the upset, you got to make your free throws.”

It was during the first weekend of the 2007 Tournament that I adopted this mantra, repeatedly said throughout the weekend by the Hoya Blue members in attendance, as a key way to understand low seed-high seed games in the Tourney. I remember watching the Tourney’s opening rounds in Kernersville and Winston-Salem, NC, where the Hoyas would advance past Belmont and Boston College to open their Final Four run. Specifically it was the Xavier-Ohio State game where a missed second free throw opened the door for Ron Lewis to save the Buckeyes, with a long three-pointer to send the game to overtime where Ohio State would pull away. At the time, I was just hoping to see the Buckeyes lose for pure schadenfreude. Two weeks later in Atlanta, Justin Cage’s errant toss loomed a lot larger after Ohio State ended the Hoyas’ season.

Free throws have played an important part in recent Georgetown-Villanova history. Last year in Philadelphia, the Wildcats visited the sin stripe 27 times, scoring 21 of their 56 points from the line. Two years ago at Verizon, Jon Wallace famously knocked down two free throws with one-tenth of a second left to beat the Wildcats 55-53. The year before, Jeff Green followed his leaning jumper with 19 seconds left with two free throws to extend the Hoyas’ lead to 58-55, the ultimate final score.

With the exception of Big East Tournament matchups, you can probably expect a relatively strong narrative to emerge when the Hoyas and Wildcats get together: free throws will be of particular importance, especially when both teams might have a violent aversion to scoring more than 60 points.

Statistically, the Wildcats have been remarkably nondistinct—at 15-1, they have certainly earned their #4 ranking in the polls, yet the numbers say they are not exceptional at any one component of the game. Their highly efficient offense (ranked 5th in the country per Ken Pomeroy) is fueled by above-average shooting, a strong presence on the boards, ball control, and free throw shooting. One point where the Wildcats have been particularly noticeable is their tendency to commit fouls (21.3 per game, 32nd most in the country) and allow opponents’ to get to the line; their ratio of opponents’ Free Throw Attempts to Field Goal Attempts is among the highest in the country.

So far this year, the Hoyas are 71.3% from the line, about in line with last year’s performance and better than any of the Green-Hibbert-Wallace years. Personally, I’m hoping the Hoyas have been spending a little extra time at the line in practice this week.

Paul Campbell (MSB '08)

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Schedules

November 16
W, 72-54
Loyola Maryland
Baltimore, Md.
RECAP

Patriot League Network
Watch
November 17
M: 2nd; W: 2nd
Bucknell Invite
Lewisburg, Pa.
RECAP

Live Scoring
November 17
L, 3-2
Providence
McDonough Arena
RECAP

BEDN
November 18
1:00 PM
Colgate Senior Day
Cooper Field

Watch: Patriot League Network
November 18
12:00 PM
UMES
Capital One Arena

FSN
99.1 WNEW-FM
November 18
10:00 AM
Bucknell Invite
Lewisburg, Pa.

Live Scoring
November 18
6:00 PM
Creighton
McDonough Arena
November 18
All Day
IC4A Championships
New York, N.Y.
November 18
All Day
NCAA Championships
Louisville, Ky.
November 18
All Day
NCAA Championships
Louisville, Ky.
November 18
All Day
ECAC Championships
New York, N.Y.
November 19
2:00 PM
George Washington
Washington, D.C.
November 19
1:00 PM
SMU
Shaw Field
November 19
10:00 AM
Bucknell Invite
Lewisburg, Pa.

Live Scoring
November 24
8:30 PM
Auburn
Nashville, Tenn.
November 25
6:00 PM
Richmond
Richmond, Va.

TBD
99.1 WNEW-FM
November 25
8:30 PM
Chattanooga
Nashville, Tenn.
November 26
3:00 PM
Northwestern
Nashville, Tenn.
November 28
8:30 PM
Maine
Capital One Arena

FS1
99.1 WNEW-FM
November 29
7:00 PM
Florida International
McDonough Arena
December 3
6:30 PM
Coppin State
Capital One Arena

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 7
8:30 PM
Howard
Capital One Arena

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 7
7:00 PM
Minnesota
McDonough Arena
December 9
2:30 PM
North Carolina A&T
Capital One Arena

FS2
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 10
2:00 PM
North Carolina State
Raleigh, N.C.
December 16
12:30 PM
Syracuse
Capital One Arena

CBS
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 20
7:00 PM
North Texas
Capital One Arena

FS2
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 21
6:00 PM
VCU
Richmond, Va.
December 23
12:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Capital One Arena

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 27
6:30 PM
Butler
Capital One Arena

FS1
99.1 WNEW-FM
December 28
7:00 PM
Providence
Providence, R.I.

BEDN
Watch
December 30
4:30 PM
Marquette
Milwaukee, Wis.

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 30
2:00 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.

BEDN
January 2
9:00 PM
DePaul
Chicago, Ill.

FS1
99.1 WNEW-FM
January 2
2:00 PM
Xavier
McDonough Arena

BEDN
January 5
7:00 PM
Butler
McDonough Arena

BEDN
January 6
12:00 PM
Creighton
Capital One Arena

FSN
99.1 WNEW-FM
January 6
All Day
Rose Bowl Regatta
Los Angeles, Calif.
January 7
All Day
Rose Bowl Regatta
Los Angeles, Calif.
January 9
6:30 PM
St. Johns
New York, N.Y.

FS1
99.1 WNEW-FM
January 10
7:00 PM
Villanova
McDonough Arena

BEDN
Watch
January 12
7:00 PM
St. Johns
Queens, N.Y.

BEDN
January 13
12:00 PM
Seton Hall
Newark, N.J.

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
January 13
1:00 PM
American/George Washington
Washington, D.C. (American University)
January 14
1:00 PM
Seton Hall
South Orange, N.J.

BEDN
January 17
6:30 PM
Villanova
Capital One Arena

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
January 19
7:00 PM
Marquette
McDonough Arena

BEDN
Watch
January 19
TBA
VCU 41
Richmond, Va.
January 20
12:00 PM
St. Johns
Capital One Arena

FS1
99.1 WNEW-FM
January 20
1:00 PM
Drexel
McCarthy Pool
January 20
TBA
VCU 41
Richmond, Va.
January 21
2:00 PM
Depaul
McDonough Arena

CBSsn
January 24
8:30 PM
DePaul
Capital One Arena

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
January 26
7:00 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.

BEDN
January 27
8:00 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.

CBSSN
99.1 WNEW-FM
January 28
2:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio

FS2
February 2
6:00 PM
Drexel
Philadelphia, Pa.
February 3
6:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio

CBSSN
99.1 WNEW-FM
February 3
1:00 PM
Villanova
Villanova, Pa.

BEDN
Watch
February 3
2:00 PM
Seton Hall/Providence
Berkeley (N.J.) Aquatic Club
February 4
TBA
Penn
Philadelphia, Pa.
February 4
TBA
Temple
Washington, D.C.
February 6
8:30 PM
Providence
Providence, R.I.

FS1
99.1 WNEW-FM
February 9
7:00 PM
Seton Hall
McDonough Arena

BEDN
February 9
TBA
Monmouth N.J.
Washington, D.C.
February 10
4:00 PM
Seton Hall
Capital One Arena

CBSSN
106.7 WJFK-FM
February 11
2:00 PM
St. Johns
McDonough Arena

BEDN
February 13
6:30 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.

CBSSN
99.1 WNEW-FM
February 13
12:00 PM
Towson
Arlington, Va.