The big question today, having already started to move beyond last night, is what our chances are moving ahead to Villanova. Naturally, the pundits are ignoring our first-round blowout and Nova's first-round scare, and focusing on our second-round scare and their second-round blowout. Moreover, after yesterday's game, Villanova players talked about how tough they are and how they look to send a message early that they're going to push the opponent around. My first reaction was certainly that was the case with UCLA. My second reaction was try telling that to American University.
You look beyond the hype though, and Villanova's rotation has no one taller than 6-8. Which means they may be tough, but so are Lance Thomas and David McClure, and neither will be at a height disadvantage. And for anyone wondering about Singler's toughness and whether he was completely focused on winning, or moving into the Josh McRoberts category of thinking more about his pro career, I think last night was an emphatic answer. You can see it in the picture above, and you saw it with his tip-in that brought back memories of Battier's tip-in down the stretch in the '01 title game. That was all desire and a refusal to let his team lose. My fellow member of the Old Testament Club also showed his fight by spending 40 minutes pushing through multiple screens to stay on A.J. Abrams like matzah balls on soup.
We'll see how Pitt comes out today -- maybe they too will erase memories of a first-round scare with a strong performance. But merely because we gutted it out against an erratic Texas team that saved its best for less doesn't mean losing to Villanova is a foregone conclusion. Thoughts?