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SPORTS
March 19, 2015 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Not too long ago, Villanova coach Jay Wright heard his junior point guard, Ryan Arcidiacono, say that the Wildcats "do not fear failure" because they've already experienced it. But doesn't that mean that you are motivated to avoid failure because you remember how painful it felt the first time? "No," Wright said as his team continued to work toward Thursday's matchup with No. 16 Lafayette in their opening game of the NCAA East Regional. "If you're going to be successful and be a top seed and be a Big East champion and you do it back to back, that's what comes with it. You get a lot of enjoyment during the season, but if you lose you get a lot of pain.
SPORTS
March 18, 2015 | BY DICK JERARDI, Daily News Staff Writer jerardd@phillynews.com
WHEN JAY WRIGHT called to tell him that the Villanova players would be wearing "JK" patches on their uniforms and dedicating the season to Jack Kraft, Fran O'Hanlon thought: "That's as classy a move as you can make, really cool. " Every summer, Wright brings a lot of the former players back to campus. Few are more beloved than O'Hanlon, Villanova class of 1970 who, on Feb. 24 of that year, dealt 16 assists against Toledo in a 107-82 win. His coach that day and every day at Villanova was Kraft, who died last year.
SPORTS
March 18, 2015 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The four scholarship seniors and juniors on the Villanova roster are in the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year. During that time, they have been part of a progression from a shaky No. 9 seed to a mildly underachieving No. 2 seed to a description-to-be-determined No. 1 seed. Lessons have been learned at all stops along the way, and the Wildcats hope their mix of experiences serves them well as they depart Tuesday for Pittsburgh and a Thursday meeting with No. 16 seed Lafayette in the NCAA East Regional at the Consol Energy Center.
SPORTS
March 18, 2015 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Columnist
CLICK HERE to download Dick Jerardi's 2015 NCAA tournament bracket in .pdf form. I THOUGHT last year's tournament was wide-open. I did not think it was so wide-open that Connecticut was going to win. I would have gone 15 deep before even considering the Huskies. I do not think this tournament is open at all. I do think there are a few teams that could beat Kentucky. I just don't think any will actually beat the Wildcats. I have seen 40-0 since about mid-January. I still see it. This tournament is really top-heavy.
SPORTS
March 18, 2015 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
IN VILLANOVA'S original plan, 6-5 sophomore guard Josh Hart was penciled in as one of Jay Wright's first five. Which meant 6-2 redshirt junior guard Dylan Ennis was going to be his first sub. Then, things changed. As did roles. Maybe even perceptions. In the long run it was a move that benefitted everyone. And, most indeliby, the whole. "Dylan had struggled his sophomore year, and Josh had a great freshman year," said Wright, whose second-ranked Wildcats (32-2), having already set a program record for wins, are the top seed in the NCAA Tournament's East Regional, which for them begins Thursday night in Pittsburgh against Lafayette (22-10)
SPORTS
March 18, 2015 | By John Smallwood, Daily News Columnist
SOMEDAY AFTER the NCAA Tournament is over and, since JayVaughn Pinkston is of legal age, Villanova coach Jay Wright said he's going to buy his senior forward a beer and ask him what changed. The conversation Wright said he was going to have with Pinkston before the season started, the one about senior leadership and sacrifice and example-setting, was never necessary. Pinkston had figured it all out and was already bringing it to the table. "JayVaughn is what a coach dreams of having in a senior," Wright said yesterday as the Wildcats prepared to face Lafayette on Thursday in Pittsburgh in an NCAA Tournament East Regional game.
SPORTS
March 17, 2015 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
IN THE 2007-08 season, a Villanova team that started 13-3 lost five straight games from Jan. 23 to Feb. 4. All were by double digits, two to teams that wouldn't make the NCAA Tournament. The last was a 22-pointer to Saint Joseph's at the Palestra. Some 5 weeks later, the Wildcats lost in the semfinals of the Big East Tournament to ninth-ranked Georgetown, by 19, to finish 20-12. Then they had to wait to find out if their name would get called on Selection Sunday. It was a tense 48 hours.
SPORTS
March 17, 2015 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
NOT ALL teams are created equal. But every one of the 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament is starting out fresh again at 0-0. Villanova, as expected, will be starting out as one of the four top seeds for the first time since the 2006 team made it to the Final Eight. The number next to your name, of course, means nothing once you start playing. Last year the Wildcats lost their second game as a No. 2 seed, the second time that had happened to them since they reached the Final Four in 2009.
NEWS
March 17, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
After Lafayette beat American University last Wednesday to emerge as champion of the Patriot League, coach Fran O'Hanlon got a text message from Villanova coach Jay Wright. College basketball is a small world, and the tentacles of the game that emanate from Philadelphia sometimes seem to encircle it all. O'Hanlon, who played at Villanova and graduated in 1970, is in his 20th season at Lafayette, coaching in the same conference as Bucknell, where Wright went to school. It certainly is a small world and both O'Hanlon and Wright knew last week that it might get a whole lot smaller for the two of them very quickly.
NEWS
March 17, 2015 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Columnist
So Kentucky is going to win this thing? Not so fast. Say the Wildcats end up with a path that includes Cincinnati, Maryland, and then Kansas or Notre Dame just to get to the Final Four. UK obviously is the favorite each time, but that's a little bit of a gauntlet, with differing styles and plenty of talent. Notre Dame obviously is the kind of offensive team that could make things interesting for Kentucky if the Irish make it to the Elite Eight game in Cleveland. If Kansas was the last No. 2 seed, it makes sense that Notre Dame would be the top No. 3 after winning the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
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