Matt Crawford blogging:
18:30 – The crowd took a while to fill in but is starting to get into the action. There are fans of WVU, Syracuse, and Louisville and of course Villanova in the arena, as well as some dissapointed fans of the favored Big East teams which lost yesterday.
11:35 – Villanova’s student section is on its feet, naturally, while Louisville’s section is mostly sitting and is only being kept alive by its large band and cheerleading team.
8:30 – The Wildcats have not trailed since the opening minutes, driven by tough defense and strong play, namely by Dante Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson. However, Villanova has had a few ugly turnovers off of risky passes, namely a few by Scottie Reynolds. Villanova has also been making some great defensive rebounds, although outsized by the Cardinals.6:00 – After Fisher’s second three-pointer, Villanova leads by 10 with 6 minutes left in the half.
4:45 – After the Cardinals pulled within 5 points of Nova with nearly 3 minutes left, a steal led to a fast break by Fisher resulting in a contested layup at the other end, which he made…and 1. Score: 29 – 21. How often does Fisher get fouled and still make the basket? Seems like all the time. Fisher is great at making the basket even when he gets fouled. His quickness and ball handling skills are unparalleled on this Villanova team, and he only stands to improve in his remaining 2 years of eligibility, and his small size disadvantage is canceled out by the skills which I just mentioned. Fisher, as well as Coach Jay Wright, are confident with his ability going up against the biggest and toughest in the Big East.
15:00 – It was 34-26 at the half. Now, 5 minutes later, the Cardinals have taken a 4 point lead, 40-36 after a few turnovers by Nova and some wide open 3’s. Louisville fans finally made some noise, but all it will take for the Nova crowd to get right back in it it a little scoring run.
Chris Fujimoto takes over the blogging:
13:42 left- So this is where I take over. I’m sure you’ve heard so far that our seats are pretty high up but no worries. This is my first trip to basketball Mecca and let me say it has been pretty exciting. Right now the Wildcats are recomitting themselves to playing solid defense and not giving away sloppy passes. The crowd here at the Garden seems to be split 50/50 with the Wildcat fans making themselves known.
12:46- after a sloppy sequence of plays Fisher picks up his 4th foul on a charge which has the fans at MSG livid. The one saving grace is that Villanova is playing decent on the boards. it seems however, that whenever Villanova has an answer to a Louisville shot, The Cards have another answer.
The cheerleaders are doing a t-shirt toss right now, and I wish the guys had the arm strength to launch one up to our seats. Also, it is very evident that the defensive pressure of Clark and Smith are keeping Stokes and Reynolds in check with only two points between them after lighting up Marquette for 41 combined last night.
10:05-Stokes finally takes advantage of an open-3 and drains it. That was the one time in this game so far when Stokes was open enough to drain the shot that seems to be his signature. Nova climbs back to 48-46 with some solid play by Stokes and Anderson.
7:38-I’m starting to focus more on this blog than on the actual game. WVU is starting to walk in the building, they’re getting a quick glimpse of two teams they might possibly play in tomorrow’s finals. The small student fan section seems to be doing their part in representing the nation. A little side note…it is funny to watch middle age men drunk, and it is unsettling to wonder if that is what im going to be like in 20 years.
5:58-The Wildcat’s deficit goes to 10 when the team is caught sleeping on defense. Fisher responds with a quick 3.
4:04-The Wildcats need to get better offensive possessions if they want to climb back in this one.
2:00-Can the Cats climb back? A uncontested layup by Smith seems to say no. It was a decent effort by Villanova, but in the end Louisville executed better on both ends.
69-55. It appears that Louisville is definitely deserving of a 1 seed after this performance. They showed that they could shoot well enough and put enough pressure to cause the ‘Cats trouble. Sloppy play was what doomed the ‘cats in this matchup. Hopefully they can rebound and play well in the Tourney.
By Matt Crawford