Jay Wright Continues To Excel at Villanova Despite Being In a Tough Conference

February 18, 2011 – 10:40 am by timgunter

In today’s era of college basketball, the majority of teams rely upon underclassmen because the great players leap to the next level after having just one season, but Villanova is not one of those teams.  This year’s squad is led by senior guards, Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher, and senior forward, Antonio Pena.  In a conference as competitive as the Big East, the value the upperclassmen have to teams is priceless.  They have been there and done that and aren’t surprised by anything anymore.  On the contrary, underclassmen are mistake-prone and tend to buckle under pressure, so the more juniors and seniors you have on the floor the more success you will have.  After Wednesday’s defeat of Depaul, Villanova has now won 20 games for the seventh-consecutive season, which is a testament to Jay Wright and his ability to keep the Wildcats amongst the top programs in the country.

Jay Wright joined WFAN in New York with Mike Francesa to talk about how life is in the Big East, if it is possible for 11 Big East teams to make the NCAA Tournament, and if there are too many hard games in the Big East.

How life is in the Big East:

“Life in the Big East is wild man but it is fun, I will tell you what.  This league is as good as it has ever been top to bottom and it is the way it should be.  Every night is a great game and we are loving it.”

If it is possible for 11 Big East teams to make the NCAA Tournament:

“I think we can Mike.  I think over the years the committee has become a lot more transparent.  You see everything they do, they show you how they do it, they meet with the media, they show the media how they do it and I really do think they pick what they think are the best 68 teams, now.  The success that our teams have had out of conference speaks for itself.  The success that our teams have and against each other in conference.  What is really unique is that a lot of times in the Big East you really have marquee players that get a lot of attention on great teams and this is just a unique year.  I don’t think you really have a lot of the marquee players but you have got a lot of juniors and seniors that really make the teams better teams, Pitt is probably the greatest example of that.  Bradley Wannamaker, their senior point guard, and McGee and those guys, you would not say they were the really household names but they lead an outstanding team with juniors.  They are just better teams and built as teams as opposed to just a couple of future pros.”

If there are too many hard games in the Big East:

“I don’t.  I like the fact that whatever game you play is a big game and everybody knows how important it is and anybody can beat anybody.  I really like, I think it is great for the league.  Rarely do you see a game on TV, they are all on TV, rarely do you see one that isn’t a great crowd, is not meaningful, so I like that, but like you said, I think what you were saying about the teams like Pitt and St. John’s, I think Notre Dame is that way.  They have got upperclassmen, they are experienced and coming down the stretch as you said, you kind of got to rest your guys a little bit, but if you are resting juniors and seniors that can be really impactful.  If you have got sophomores and freshmen and you are resting them they still have a lot to learn.  The juniors and seniors kind of get it.  Those younger teams still need to practice and I don’t know if the rest is as good for them.  Each team has got its unique dynamics going down here to the stretch.”

Jay Wright on WFAN in NY with Mike Francesa

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