VILLANOVA 89, UCLA 69
Back in October, I interviewed Villanova PG Scottie Reynolds for Dime’s college basketball preview. “I have to make sure everybody is on task and has the right mindset,” Reynolds said then, “that we’re gonna play Villanova basketball for 40 minutes.”
When I asked him to describe “Villanova basketball,” I half-expected one of those hemming and hawing answers you get from guys caught spewing athlete cliches. Nope. Reynolds sounded like a kid who had actually read the book before writing the term paper. “Villanova basketball,” he said, “is defending, rebounding, executing, playing hard, playing together, playing smart and playing with pride.”
Reynolds and the Wildcats played Villanova basketball today, dominating an experienced (three senior starters) and talented UCLA squad from start to finish. At halftime I got on the defensive when CBS’ Greg Anthony said, “That Pac-10 finesse style of basketball isn’t gonna work against the Big East in Philadelphia” — after all, Pac-10 finesse Reggie Miller busted Greg’s ass on the regular once upon a time — but Anthony was right. UCLA just wasn’t physical enough. And although I hate it when people say that one team “wanted it more” than another, it really did look like ‘Nova wanted it more.
Dante Cunningham posted 18 points and 10 boards for ‘Nova, who had six guys score in double figures, including Corey Fisher‘s 13 and Reynolds’ 11. Josh Shipp led UCLA with 18 points, and Darren Collison added 15. Villanova plays the winner of Texas/Duke, which tips off at 8:15 EST tonight.