Excerpt from a post from Dick Jerardi on the Daily News' college basketball blog, Philly Hoops Insider, available at www.phillyhoopsinsider.com:
COREY STOKES IS playing the best ball of his Villanova career. The senior has scored in double figures in every game but one (eight points vs. Marist). He has missed just one free throw all season and leads the NCAA in accuracy (96.8 percent). And when he misses from the arc, it is a surprise.
"Throughout my career, I always thought every shot was going in," Stokes said after the Wildcats crushed Monmouth on Wednesday night. "You have to think like that as a shooter."
After the Monmouth game, Jay Wright had an interesting take on how his team is different from last season's group.
"Scottie [Reynolds] wasn't just a 2,000-point scorer," Wright said. "That's enough in itself, but he was the personality of the program. He was the leader off the court. He was bigger than life in our program. Even when we were on the road, everybody would be on him. They'd all be yelling about him being adopted and it took the pressure off of everybody else. Now, for the first time, it's on [the current seniors]."
That would be Stokes, Corey Fisher and Antonio Pena, sophomores on the Final Four team, the key components to this team.
"I like where we are," Wright said. "I like where our team is."
Up next: Temple vs. Villanova.
Conference affiliations often dictate when City Series games are played. The Atlantic 10 never plays any conference games until January so Temple's Big 5 schedule is backloaded because two of the games are against A-10 teams (Saint Joe's and La Salle).
Conversely, Villanova does not have much room for anything but Big East games when the calendar hits January. So, Temple will be playing its first City Series game on Dec. 30. Villanova will be playing its last. And, like last season, it will be the city game of the year. The Wildcats are 3-0 in the Big 5, just like last season and nearly every other recent season. Perfect Big 5 seasons have been the norm. But not last season. Temple played a near-perfect game, beat Villanova, 75-65, and went on to have a perfect City Series record.