Commentary

Villanova thrives off of backcourt play

Updated: January 24, 2011, 2:44 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

I was very impressed with Villanova's win at Syracuse. The Wildcats lost at Connecticut earlier in the week in a heartbreaker and you never know how a team is going to respond under that kind of adversity.

Jay Wright and his team, playing in a hostile environment with over 33,000 fans at the Carrier Dome, showed why they will be a tough matchup come tournament time.

In college basketball today, strong perimeter play is extremely important. When you look at the top teams in America, nobody has a deeper backcourt than Villanova. This club has scintillating backcourt play.

If you don't believe me, go talk to Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. The Wildcats put on a show, hitting 22 of 24 free throws and 11 trifectas despite the pressure at the Carrier Dome. Maalik Wayns had 17 points in the first half and when you factor him in with Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes and Dominic Cheek, you can see the depth and talent that this team has.

When you have players who can hit the three-pointer, especially against the 2-3 zone of Syracuse, plus guys converting from the foul line in crunch time, you have the potential for something special. These guys can penetrate and create, giving them a chance to win every time they hit the floor.

Villanova also gets contributions up front from Antonio Pena, Maurice Sutton, Isaiah Armwood and Mouphtaou Yarou.

Coach Wright has done an amazing job on the Main Line. He has become a big star in the coaching fraternity and he knows how to get the most out of his talent. At 17-2, with wins over Louisville, Temple, Cincinnati, Maryland and now Syracuse, there is good reason to be impressed.

Villanova will be a team to watch out for when March Madness arrives.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.