Christopher Wilson

  • Villanova wins Big East Tournament, looks to carry conference's banner deep into March

    Christopher Wilson at The Dagger 4 mths ago

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    NEW YORK — One year after a March to forget, Villanova and head coach Jay Wright finally broke through in the Big East Tournament.

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    The Wildcats downed Xavier 69-52, winning the program’s second Big East Tournament title, the first coming in 1995. The victory was the Wildcats’ 15 th straight, and when combined with a 32-2 record, a regular season title and a 12-1 record against teams in the RPI Top 50, they have essentially locked up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

  • Gritty Xavier survives near-disaster against Georgetown, advances to Big East title game

    Christopher Wilson at The Dagger 4 mths ago

    NEW YORK — Xavier hasn’t had it easy and it certainly hasn’t been pretty, but in their second year in the Big East they’re heading to the tournament final.

    The No. 6 seed Musketeers upset No. 2 seed Georgetown 65-63 in the semifinals, surviving after nearly blowing a 20-point second half lead. Backcourt mates Dee Davis and Myles Davis sunk four free throws in the final ten seconds and Chris Mack’s strategy of fouling the Hoyas before they could get a three off worked.

    Xavier led 53-33 with 7:53 remaining when Georgetown’s Jabril Trawick stepped to the line and split a pair of free throws. He missed the second, and in the scrum for the ensuing rebound, Xavier sophomore Jalen Reynolds committed a technical. That sparked a 24-6 Hoya run over the next seven minutes, capped by a Paul White three with 24 seconds remaining to make it 59-57. Hoya guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s layup made it a one-point game with 14 seconds left, but Xavier made enough free throws to reach the tournament final and defeat Georgetown for the third time this season. The game was so tight, the video board operator at Madison Square Garden initially had their graphics wrong after the game’s conclusion:

  • Big East quarters roundup: Villanova begins postseason on better note

    Christopher Wilson at The Dagger 4 mths ago

    NEW YORK — The postseason has not been kind to Jay Wright as of late.

    After his Villanova Wildcats reached the Final Four in 2009, they had won a grand total of four tournament games coming into the 2015 Big East Championship. There were Big East wins over Rutgers (2012) and St. John’s (2013) and two 15-seeds vanquished in the NCAAs, and that quartet is the sum of five years work.

    This year looks to be different. In the first of four Big East quarterfinals, the Wildcats sliced and diced Marquette, winning 84-49 for their 13th straight victory.

    The Golden Eagles went on an early run to make it 18-16, but the Wildcats responded with a 17- 0 surge of their own, putting the game out of reach and managing their way through a second half that was more obligatory than competitive.Villanova tied a Big East record with 17 made threes on one end and forced 22 turnovers on the other, all with Ryan Arcidiacono scoring only five points.

    Steve Wojciechowski’s first season as Marquette head coach came to an inglorious 13-19 end, but the future is bright for his program, as he’s set to bring in a top-ten recruiting class headlined by five-star big Henry Ellenson.

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  • Steve Lavin says he's a bad conference tourney coach, and he's mostly right

    Christopher Wilson at The Dagger 4 mths ago

    NEW YORK — Following a 74-57 loss to Providence in the Big East quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon, St. John's coach Steve Lavin took some time to reflect on his postseason history.

    Asked why his group of seniors was unable to win a game in the Big East Tournament during their careers, Lavin took the blame.

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    “I don’t think it’s them,” said Lavin, who has coached St. John’s since 2010. “I’m just a poor Big East…I’m a poor conference tournament coach. We didn’t have one at UCLA either. I know we lost to Cal.

    “Probably the trend in the racing form is I don’t think I’ve ever won a conference tournament game as a coach in the Pac-10 or the Big East. I don’t think it has anything to do with our players.”

    Lavin’s memory is basically correct, though he sells himself a little short.

    He also has one conference tournament win at St. John’s, a 65-63 second round win over No. 13 seed Rutgers in his first season as head coach. The Johnnies bowed out to Syracuse in the quarterfinals.

  • Final 2014 Bowl Projections

    Christopher Wilson at Dr. Saturday 7 mths ago

    I do not envy the selection committee. They got no help from the games this weekend, as TCU, Baylor and Ohio State all won, with the Buckeyes looking great without J.T. Barrett at quarterback. Projections and explanations below, with a bolded name and # signifying an accepted bid:

    New Years Six Games

    Rose (January 1 in Pasadena, CA) [Semifinal]: #2 Oregon vs. #3 Florida State

    Sugar (January 1 in New Orleans, LA) [Semifinal]: #1 Alabama vs. #4 TCU

    Cotton (January 1 in Arlington, TX): Ole Miss (at-large) vs. Baylor (at-large)

    Fiesta (December 31 in Glendale, AZ): Arizona (at-large) vs. Boise State (Group of 5 rep)

    Orange (December 31 in Miami, FL): Georgia Tech (ACC) vs. Michigan State (highest ranked non-champ from Big Ten or SEC)

    Peach (December 31 in Atlanta, GA): Ohio State (at-large) vs. Mississippi State (at-large)

    · Florida State is probably going to be third.

    · Ole Miss takes the spot projected to go to Wisconsin.

    · Staying with Alabama over Oregon as number one, but don’t be surprised if the Ducks jump. The important thing for both is that the Tide will be relatively close to home in New Orleans while Oregon stays out west in Pasadena.

    The Rest

  • Bowl Projections: Week 14 Edition

    Christopher Wilson at Dr. Saturday 7 mths ago

    One more weekend to go, and we can agree that:

    1) Alabama, Oregon and Florida State are all in with wins.

    And that’s it! There was a ton of movement with the J.T. Barrett injury, Mississippi State’s loss and TCU jumping up to third in the latest rankings, so let’s go below where I will attempt to explain how Ohio State or Wisconsin could end up in the Outback Bowl. As with previous editions, we’re going to assume favorites win every game. Will this happen? Absolutely not, but it’s a better system than trying to pick individual results.

    Bullet points with a few more explanations after the list. A * and italics denote the team is filling in for a conference that didn’t meet all of its obligations. A # and bold name designate an accepted bid:

    New Years Six Games

    Rose (January 1 in Pasadena, CA) [Semifinal]: #2 Oregon vs. #3 Florida State

    Sugar (January 1 in New Orleans, LA) [Semifinal]: #1 Alabama vs. #4 TCU

    Cotton (January 1 in Arlington, TX): Baylor (at-large) vs. Ohio State (at-large)

    Fiesta (December 31 in Glendale, AZ): Arizona (at-large) vs. Boise State (Group of 5 rep)

    Orange (December 31 in Miami, FL): Georgia Tech (ACC) vs. Michigan State (highest ranked SEC/Big Ten non-champion)

  • Bowl Projections: Week 13 Edition

    Christopher Wilson at Dr. Saturday 8 mths ago

    First off, let us offer congratulations to the following teams that clinched bowl eligibility since last week's projections: Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, Stanford, Washington, Houston, Middle Tennessee, San Diego State, Western Kentucky, Ohio and Texas State. There might not be spots for all of them when the music stops, but at least they gave themselves a chance.

    The biggest shift from last weekend comes from Ole Miss’ defeat at the hands of Arkansas. A few of the ramifications:

    · As mentioned above, Arkansas is now bowl eligible. What a ridiculous pair of games for the Hogs.

    · Ole Miss is eliminated from SEC West contention.

    · Michigan State is almost certainly guaranteed a spot in the New Years Six with a win versus Penn State this weekend.

    As with previous editions, we’re going to assume favorites win every game. Will this happen? Absolutely not, but it’s a better system than trying to pick individual results.

    Bullet points with a few more explanations after the list. A * and italics denote the team is filling in for a conference that didn’t meet all of its obligations. A # and bold name designate an accepted bid:

    New Years Six Games

    The Rest

  • Bowl Projections: Week 12 Edition

    Christopher Wilson at Dr. Saturday 8 mths ago

    For the sake of being completely honest at the jump, these projections are considerably more difficult to put together than they were last year. The BCS system wasn’t great at crowning a champion everyone agreed on but it was easy to predict with its ordered system of picks that meant you could tell who would get stuck with UConn. That’s gone, replaced by the top six games all being chosen by a committee with rules on who gets in but not in which games they necessarily have to play. With no previous editions to lean on, it’s tough to tell how things are going to be arranged, but we will try.

    As with previous editions, we’re going to assume favorites win every game. Will this happen? Absolutely not, but at least it’s a consistent tool to use in what will surely be a bonkers final three weeks of the season.

    Bullet points with some attempts at explanations and some eligibility projections after the list. A * denotes the team is filling in for a conference that didn’t meet all of its obligations. A # and bold name designate an accepted bid:

    New Years Six Games

    Sugar (January 1 in New Orleans, LA) [Semifinal]: #1 Alabama vs. #4 Baylor

    Cotton (January 1 in Arlington, TX): Ohio State vs. TCU

  • 2014 season preview: Five games to watch in week 14

    Christopher Wilson at Dr. Saturday 11 mths ago

    The college football offseason is long and arduous, but its end is almost in sight. We’re going to take a look at five games you have to look forward to for every weekend of the season. (This is also a handy guide to decide how to RSVP for any autumn weddings.)

    All times are Eastern and all games are played on Saturday unless otherwise noted.

    These games take place the Thanksgiving weekend of November 29.

    There are so many awesome games this week, we’re going to approach it speed-round style. It’s a holiday weekend; try to catch a few minutes of each.

    Auburn at Alabama (TBD)

    Could easily be for the SEC West title again. It might seem wise to predict this will not match the theater of last year, but between Kick Six in 2013 and Cam Newton’s comeback in 2010, I wouldn’t bet against fireworks.

    LSU at Texas A&M (7:30 p.m., Thursday)

    Eschew your family and whatever the NFL game is for a good old-fashioned SEC West battle. Les Miles’ team has won the last two, as the Bayou Bengals stand as the only SEC puzzle Johnny Manziel and Kevin Sumlin couldn’t solve (0-2 with more picks than touchdowns in his Aggie career). Will Manziel’s heir at QB1 and Sumlin fare any better this time around?

  • 2014 season preview: Five games to watch in week 13

    Christopher Wilson at Dr. Saturday 11 mths ago

    The college football offseason is long and arduous, but its end is almost in sight. We’re going to take a look at five games you have to look forward to for every weekend of the season. (This is also a handy guide to decide how to RSVP for any autumn weddings.)

    All times are Eastern and all games are played on Saturday unless otherwise noted.

    These games take place the weekend of November 22.

    (If you have to take a weekend off this season, this is probably the Saturday. With so many rivalries in Week Fourteen, there are a lot of FBS vs. FCS games and as you’re about to see, the pickings were a little slim when putting this together.)

    USC at UCLA (TBD)

    Wisconsin at Iowa (TBD)

    North Carolina at Duke (7:30 p.m., Thursday)

    Northern Illinois at Ohio (8:00 p.m., Tuesday)

    Bowling Green at Toledo (8:00 p.m., Wednesday)

    Other games to consider:

    Louisville at Notre Dame (3:30 p.m.)

    Oregon State at Washington (TBD)

    Oklahoma State at Baylor (TBD)

    Minnesota at Nebraska (TBD)