Villanova Wildcats vs. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers Preview
When: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 7 p.m.
Where: The Pavilion
Opponent’s Record: 0-1 (Lost to West Virginia)
Mount St. Mary’s Previous Season Record: 18-14, Lost to LIU Brooklyn in NEC Championship Finals
Key Players for Mount St. Mary’s: #22 Rashad Whack (6-3, 195) Sr., G; , #3 Sam Prescott (6-3, 190) Sr., G; #13 Kristijian Krajina (6-10, 245) Sr., F
Scouting Report: With many veteran players, Mount St. Mary’s will turn to its seniors to lead the way. Mount St. Mary’s is coming off of a much improved 18 win season; ten wins higher than the season before. They will look to guards Rashad Whack and Sam Prescott to lead the way. Both are transfers who played for the first time for Mount St. Mary’s last season, after having to sit their sophomore seasons out due to eligibility rules. Whack and Prescott went one-two in scoring for the Mountaineer offense. Conversely, Prescott was the top rebounder and Whack was second best. Whack is a do-it-all type of player, getting it done offensively and defensively. Although last season he was not as efficient as he could have been, shooting below 40-percent, he will look to improve on that and reach his potential as a formidable scorer. He averaged 2.1 steals per game last season in a defense with a philosophy similar to VCU. Prescott had ten starts last year and flourished in a role off the bench. He is a big part of the offense and will be a high scoring option. Whack and Prescott will be looking to get back on track after being shut down by the West Virginia defense. Whack was ice cold from long range, shooting only 1 for 7. He finished with 6 points, while Prescott only scored 5. Combined, they shot 4 for 18. Forward Gregory Graves is not going to be a threat on offense, but he is a big help on the defensive front. He had a game high 9 rebounds. Point guard Julian Norfleet will facilitate the offense. Last year he underwent the transformation from a shooting guard to a point guard and has done an excellent job for the Mountaineers. Only he and Whack started every game last season. With all eyes on the duo, Norfleet stepped up for Mount St. Mary’s. Norfleet had a big game against West Virginia, where he was the only player for the Mountaineers to score in the double digits. He had 19 points and 7 assists in the loss. Anchoring the floor will be Kristijian Krajina, he was a productive big man last season for the Mountaineers, and should have a bigger role this season. He is able to help in the scoring effort, and like Norfleet can be lost in the shuffle as teams focus on the Whack-Prescott tandem.
Outlook: Villanova is coming off of a win, although it wasn’t the greatest showing, a win is still a win. They turned it up down the stretch when it mattered. Villanova should win this game, but a sloppy performance could jeopardize the chances of winning. Teams that come in as a huge underdog run off of momentum and emotion. This was shown in the season opener against Lafayette. You let a team hang around, they will give 110% when they realize they have a chance. The Lafayette bench was jumping and cheering up and down with every three they knocked down, while the Pavilion grew silent. Lafayette got tired in the end and their weakness in the paint was exposed. A neck and neck game with Mount St. Mary’s is not going to jive well. They have more talent in their lineup than Lafayette. Despite a mediocre first game, Rashad Whack and Sam Prescott are still the Mountaineers’ most talented players. They were cornerstones of the offense last year, one bad game is not going to deter their abilities or what they are capable of doing. As they try to find their groove, Ryan Arcidiacono will try to find his. The sophomore shot 0 for 6 from three point range, and only had 3 points against Lafayette. Expect to see a better game from him, as well as the rest of the team when it comes to three-point shooting. Darrun Hilliard (1 for 7) and JayVaughn Pinkston (0 for 3) were also cold from beyond the arc, but got the job done through other means. Villanova will not change their philosophy, “Shoot ’em up, sleep in the streets.” No matter how frustrating it was to see brick after brick, they are not going to shy away from the three ball. Hopefully this time, Villanova will shake off the rust and there will be a higher team shooting percentage. Mount St. Mary’s is a team that will look to their guards to do the damage, much like Lafayette. Shutting down Norfleet, Whack, and Prescott would be great, but taking out two of the three will still benefit the winning effort immensely.