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Jay Wright

SPORTS
March 22, 2014 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
BUFFALO - Jay Wright has said many times this season that his Villanova Wildcats are capable of two things. They are a good enough team to enjoy a deep run in the NCAA tournament. They are also inconsistent enough to lose anywhere along the way. After watching the Wildcats snooze though a terrible first half against 15th-seeded Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Thursday night, finally pulling out a 73-53 win in Villanova's NCAA opener, the second assertion is definitely true. The first part of the equation - that the Wildcats could make a deep run - is really open to debate, however.
SPORTS
March 22, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
BUFFALO - Villanova came out for its first game in the 2014 NCAA tournament with the type of ragged offense that promised to make its contest against 15th-seeded Wisconsin-Milwaukee a far more dramatic event that the Wildcats would like. But the second-seeded Wildcats showed a better shooting eye Thursday night in the second half - at least from inside the three-point line - and won going away, 73-53, over the Panthers in the NCAA East Regional at First Niagara Center. Villanova (29-4)
SPORTS
March 21, 2014 | By Rich Hofmann, Daily News Columnist
BUFFALO, N.Y. - The outcome was not in doubt, not really. That is true, along with the fact that style points are not awarded to participants in the NCAA Tournament. The numbers on the scoreboard are all that matter, and the numbers said Villanova 73, Milwaukee 53. Those are the only relevant facts and the rest of this is simply conversation. With that, let's talk. First, let's remember that the Wildcats sleepwalked through the start of their Big East quarterfinal game against Seton Hall last week and lost.
SPORTS
March 21, 2014 | BY ED BARKOWITZ, Daily News Staff Writer barkowe@phillynews.com
BUFFALO, N.Y. - The forgotten team in the Villanova-St. Joe's-UConn pod is Milwaukee. Such oversights are common for 15-seeds with a schedule strength resembling the weight of an NBA power forward (230). But what the Panthers lack in BPI, RPI, Ht. and Wt., they make up for in grit. Picked last in the Horizon League in the preseason, Milwaukee beat two of the top three seeds on the road in the conference tournament. Tonight the Panthers get Villanova in a first-round game. If talent is the primary ingredient to success in sports, coaching is second - especially in college basketball.
SPORTS
March 21, 2014 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
POINT GUARD Tyrone Johnson, shooting guard Achraf Yacoubou, center Markus Kennedy and shooting guard Darrun Hilliard. That was Villanova's recruiting class in 2011. Only one remains. The guy who might have been rated fourth in that group by many experts. The guy who was thinking about redshirting as a freshman before an injury to Johnson forced him and coach Jay Wright to think otherwise. The guy who got nine starts and averaged 18 minutes a game his first season, playing for a team that tied a program record by losing 19 times.
SPORTS
March 20, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Darrun Hilliard recalled being a "skinny, goofy youngster" at the time he left the comfort of family and friends and traveled the turnpike from the Lehigh Valley to enroll at Villanova and play basketball. It didn't take long, however, before Hilliard got serious with himself and realized he may not have been ready for the Wildcats' level of ball. He wanted to redshirt, but he also thought about leaving. "I lacked confidence in myself," Hilliard, now a junior, said Monday. "I was young for my age. I thought about redshirting and I just didn't know what to do. I was coming in as a boy playing a grown man's game.
SPORTS
March 19, 2014 | By Sam Donnellon, Daily News Staff Writer
'THERE WAS a stretch of time after Jameer that I didn't like myself," Phil Martelli was saying in his office late yesterday afternoon. An endorphin-absorbed Sunday that had spilled into a foodless evening and then a sleepless night had morphed the coach into the kind of truth-spilling interviewee that detectives only dream about. He was happy one moment, pensive the next, even a bit sad after that. He was exhausted mostly, but not in the way he has spent too much of the time between the time Jameer Nelson finished and now being exhausted.
SPORTS
March 19, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
When they saw Wisconsin-Milwaukee appear in the bracket opposite Villanova for their opening game of the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats never had seen the Panthers compete and didn't know one thing about their personnel or style of play. However, after a full day of meetings and film study Monday with coach/professor Jay Wright, the 'Nova players have more than a passing knowledge of their second-round East Regional opponent Thursday night in Buffalo. Wright is confident that he has the players' undivided attention, with a reluctant thank-you to Seton Hall, conqueror of the Wildcats (28-4)
SPORTS
March 19, 2014 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
Jay Wright has done this long enough that the truths about the NCAA tournament are no longer mysteries that need to be unwrapped. Seasons come and seasons go, but what it takes to advance deep into the national championship tournament remains the same. "First, you have to play well. Period. After that, it's matchups," Wright said as the No. 2-seeded Wildcats prepared for a Thursday opener against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Matching up well against the opponents that fall into your path is where luck enters the equation.
SPORTS
March 19, 2014 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
JOHN GIANNINI noticed the difference immediately. It was that striking. His La Salle team, with almost everything back from an unexpected Sweet 16 run, went to Villanova on Dec. 15. The Explorers lost by 21. And he knew why. "I think those guys had the best offseason in the country," Giannini reiterated yesterday at the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Tourney Tip-Off Breakfast at the Palestra. "I know they rave about their strength coach [second-year man John Shackleton]. I know they rave about their kids and their work ethic, and their leadership.
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