Off The Boards
By Jack Scheuer
December 11, 2013 Edition
The talk of the town is about Villanova and their sudden jump from the middle of the pack to being rated the 10th best team in the country, and justifiably so. If you were wondering how they got there you only had to see the whipping the Wildcats put on St. Joe’s at Hawk Hill last Saturday. Sure, that was only one game, but so was the impressive victory over highly rated Kansas earlier. It’s certainly time to take this team seriously. Jay Wright is making good use of a nine man rotation, his offense is clicking, and the defensive play has been outstanding. How good are they performing? Well, if you had to pick the best player in the city right now it might be either JayVaughn Pinkston, James Bell, or Darrun Hilliard, which ought to tell you something. Next up are home games with LaSalle and Rider, then a trip to the Carrier Dome in front of 30,000 screaming Syracuse fans. That game will give us an idea us of just how good this team really is. The season is only one-third over, and there is a long way to go, but right now those Wildcats are opening a lot of eyes.
The other team playing well is Drexel, despite losing talented Damion Lee. That backcourt of Frantz Massenat and Chris Fouch is a tough matchup for anybody. After somewhat of a down year, Massenat has been outstanding, and Fouch can really shoot it. The Dragons are at Davidson on Sunday, always well-coached by the highly respected Bob McKillop, then visit St. Joe’s on December 18. That will be the Hawks first game since the Villanova embarrassment, and should be a tough challenge for Drexel.
Trivia Time: Who is the Division One all-time leader in free throws made? Answer at the end of the column.
This and That: More bad news for the Sixers. Andrew Bynum is playing more minutes and scoring some points for the Cavaliers, but who knows for how long….Evan Turner is having a good season which might be even better if he’d stop complaining to the officials so much…. Julian Washburn, a 6-8 forward and son of Chris, is playing at UTEP….Temple’s Dalton Pepper has put together a nice string of productive outings. The Owls really need his offense…..Steve Zack has been one of LaSalle’s brighter lights. The Explorers get a chance to start clicking when they visit Villanova on Sunday. It won’t be easy, but it’s a Big 5 game, funny things can happen…. Jerome Allen, son of the Penn coach, is a starter at Friends Central….Brad Stevens continues to build on his reputation. The former Butler coach is doing a real good job with a not very good Celtic team….Not many guards in the country are better than Chaz Williams. The UMass star averages 15 points a game, and leads the A10 in assists.
Answer to Trivia Time: North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough connected on 982 free throws in 1,241 attempts. (79%).