Jack Scheuer’s Off The Boards – March 5, 2014 Edition

Off The Boards

By Jack Scheuer

March 5, 2014 Edition

About halfway through the season, when Villanova started to move up in the rankings almost weekly, there seemed to be some doubt expressed about the favorable attention given to the Wildcats. “Are they really that good?” was a question heard frequently at basketball gatherings. Well, it’s March 5, Villanova is 26 and 3, and yes, the Mainliners are really that good.

They play excellent defense, their offense is predicated on sharing the basketball, and they and shoot well from beyond the arc. Add all this to a nine man rotation and you can see why their high-ranking is well deserved.  By the way, I can never recall any city team using that many players so effectively.

If you had to pick the team’s best player it would be James Bell, but it seems as though there is a different hero almost every game. The big thing is, nobody seems to care who is scoring the points, and for that, Jay Wright gets all the credit.

After Xavier and Georgetown, the Big East tournament will be a challenge, with a number two seed in the NCAA’s on the line. Then, who knows what will happen?  What we do know is that this team has won more regular season games than any other in Villanova’s long basketball history.

And that’s better than good.

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My favorite coach, Mick Cronin, showed his true colors with a major rant during his team’s well-deserved loss to UConn.  The Cincinnati boss is one of those coaches (you know who you are Coach K) who can’t believe that an official would have the audacity to make a call that they saw differently. He may be a good coach, but it’s very hard to ever root for a guy like the Mickster.

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Trivia Time: Who is the last center to lead the NBA in assists? Answer at the end of the column.

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Upcoming games: Villanova is at Xavier tomorrow, then hosts Georgetown at the Wells Fargo on Saturday; St. Joe’s could have a tough game at much-improved G.W. tonight, before greeting LaSalle Sunday afternoon; The Explorers have George Mason at home tomorrow, then visit the Hawks; Temple ends its regular season at South Florida on Saturday, while Penn visits Columbia and Cornell over the weekend. Meanwhile, Drexel will play Northeastern in a CAA playoff game in Baltimore on Saturday.

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Today marks exactly 20 years since the highly talented Hank Gathers tragically passed away. The Dobbins High graduate and Loyola Marymount stalwart was only 23 years old. He was one of only two players to lead the nation in points and rebounding in the same season.

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This and That: Since it seems rather obvious that the best possible way to do any damage against that famous Syracuse 2-3 zone, is to put a man at the high post, why don’t more teams do it?….Top choice for the ACC Comeback Player of the Year is Pitt’s Lamar Patterson. The 6-5 senior from Lancaster is averaging 17 points a game, 7 more than last season, hands out 4.5 assists and shoots 80% from the line….Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell might not be a first team All American this year, but if he stays in school he’s a cinch for next season. He’s 6-8-235, scores, rebounds and runs the floor like a guard… Miles Overton, the St. Joe’s Prep guard and son of Doug, isn’t getting a lot of playing time at Wake Forest.  He’s averaging 8 minutes a game for the 15-18 Deacons….Tyrone Garland might want to move in a little bit.  The LaSalle shooting guard is 28 for 123 (23%) from 3-point land…. Lost in Temple’s down year has been the play of Will Cummings. The junior point guard has had a very good season.

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Answer to Trivia Time: In 1993-94, the Spurs David Robinson led the league in assists.




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