- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

[3] VILLANOVA (26-7) vs. [14] AMERICAN (24-7)

East Region first round

Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, 7:20 p.m. | TV: Chs. 9, 13 | Radio: AM-1050

Click here for e-mail alerts on NCAA tournament news.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Enter for a chance to win $1 million.

Villanova guard Reggie Redding vs. AU guard Garrison Carr: The Eagles need a big game from leading scorer and 3-point marksman Carr to keep their upset hopes alive into the second half. That won’t be easy with Redding, Villanova’s defensive stopper, locked on Carr. Like his diminutive backcourt partner Derrick Mercer, Carr will be giving up six inches to Redding, who has spent the season snuffing some of the Big East’s premier guards (Jonny Flynn, Kyle McAlarney, Jerel McNeal, A.J. Price and Jeremy Hazell).

Carr is averaging 17.8 points on the season while shooting 38.7 percent from behind the arc, but American’s perimeter assassin struggled mightily in the Eagles’ three games against major-conference competition this season, going 3-for-23 from 3-point range (13 percent) in blowout losses to Oklahoma, Georgetown and Maryland.

X-FACTOR

AU forward Brian Gilmore: The AU senior forward has played extremely well of late, averaging 18 points and shooting 64.5 percent from the field in American’s run through the Patriot League tournament. As the player primarily matched up on Villanova’s leading scorer and rebounder Dante Cunningham, the foul-prone Gilmore must stay on the floor and hold his own against Cunningham, a relentless competitor and the key to Villanova’s offense.

PREDICTION

The Eagles ambushed Tennessee in the opening round of last season’s NCAA tournament, scaring the Volunteers before collapsing late in a 72-57 loss. Villanova isn’t likely to make the same mistake of taking American lightly, because the Wildcats’ identity as an undersized teams has been intensity.

The good news for American is that Villanova doesn’t have a 7-foot mountain in the middle; American would have no answer for such a player. The bad news is that Silver Spring native Cunningham is a tireless worker in the middle of the Wildcats’ inside-out attack. It does not bode well for American that the Eagles played three similarly talented teams to Villanova this season and were mopped three times by an average of 23 points.

Villanova 73, American 42

[3] Villanova Wildcats

PROJECTED STARTERS

No. Player Pos Ht Wt Yr

1 Scottie Reynolds G 6-2 190 Jr.

15 Reggie Redding G 6-5 205 Jr.

22 Dwayne Anderson G/F 6-6 215 Sr.

20 Shane Clark F 6-7 205 Sr.

33 Dante Cunningham F 6-8 230 Sr.

TEAM LEADERS

Category Player Avg

Points Dante Cunningham 16.0

Rebounds Dante Cunningham 7.2

Assists Scottie Reynolds 3.6

[14] American Eagles

PROJECTED STARTERS

No. Player Pos Ht Wt Yr

5 Garrison Carr G 5-11 170 Sr.

3 Derrick Mercer G 5-9 180 Sr.

15 Frank Borden G 6-4 180 Sr.

14 Brian Gilmore F 6-8 220 Sr.

44 Jordan Nichols F 6-5 235 Sr.

TEAM LEADERS

Category Player Avg

Points Garrison Carr 17.8

Rebounds Brian Gilmore 5.4

Assists Derrick Mercer 4.4

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide