Two Villanova stars didn't start the Wildcats' NCAA tournament opener against Robert Morris on Thursday. Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher were benched for the beginning of the game by coach Jay Wright for disciplinary reasons.
A team spokesman said Wright benched the pair as a "minor teaching point," something he also did to forward Taylor King in Villanova's regular season finale against West Virginia. Reynolds entered the game after the first television timeout and Fisher came in as a substitute a little later.
Reynolds is Villanova's senior captain and leading scorer. The specific reason for his benching is not yet clear, but it comes after a tumultuous year at Villanova that has seen players involved in a number of embarrassing incidents (drug arrests, public urination citations).
It doesn't appear that Reynolds or Fisher broke a team rule, which makes Wright's teachable moment especially harsh. Yes, Reynolds was only benched for the first four minutes of the game against a No. 15 seed, it's still a bold move nonetheless. Wright knows his team well so doubtlessly believes this benching will help team chemistry, but most coaches would rather spot an opponent 12 points rather than run the risk of messing with his team's psyche before a single-elimination tournament.