Welcome to the latest (and long overdue) edition of Inside the Enemy Ship! This time, we have recurring guest on the site and Villanova super-fan Steve Fortino with us to answer a few questions about the upcoming game between the Seton Hall Pirates and the #1 Villanova Wildcats!
BBA: What do you think of the team’s 17-1 record? Does it accurately reflect the team?
Fortino: I do think their record reflects the quality of the team. The team destroyed Xavier which was a top 20 team and beat Creighton which is a top 20 team. Many people don’t realize this but when Nova plays the other Philly teams, the competition is fierce and emotions run high so those games push the team as well.
BBA: Were you worried that DePaul was almost able to pull off the upset on Nova’s home court?
Fortino: Every team has an off game. The mark of a good team is can you win when you don’t play well. I think the DePaul game was a good example of that.
BBA: How far do you now expect Nova to go into the NCAA Tournament? Do you see repeating as National Champions as a legitimate possibility?
Fortino: As you know anything can happen in college basketball, especially during the tournament. Nova has been highly ranked before and lost in the 2nd round. My expectation is for them to get to the final four again. Repeating as National Champions is certainly a possibility but they need to improve defensively and of course hope that Josh Hart stays healthy.
BBA: After last season’s Big East Tournament Championship, how do Villanova and their fans feel about Seton Hall and theirs? Is Seton Hall their biggest rival in the Big East?
Fortino: Seton Hall has been a thorn in the side of Villanova basketball for the past few years and I think that has helped the rivalry. Sorry to say, I will always see G-Town as our biggest rival but that’s because since the beginning of the Big East, G-Town was always that team to beat.
BBA: Which player should the Seton Hall Pirates be the most worried about meeting on the court? Why?
Fortino: Josh Hart – Because he is the best player in country. The kid can shoot, defend and rebound. He will make a great pro basketball player.
BBA: Is the team missing Ryan Arcidiacono?
Fortino: I think Josh Hart has filled the void of Ryan. Ryan was a great leader but Josh Hart is the one player that needs to be on the court all the time.
BBA: Who do you consider the biggest challenge to Nova in the Big East this season?
Fortino: Butler may be the team to beat this year
BBA: Which teams from the Big East will ultimately end up making the NCAA tournament?
Fortino: Villanova, Butler, Creighton, Xavier are definites. I think Seton Hall and Marquette will battle for the 5th spot.
BBA: Final Score Prediction?
Fortino: Villanova – 85 / Seton Hall – 71
Thanks again to Mr. Fortino for taking time to talk with us! Tip-off is tonight at 6:30, and for those not lucky enough to be at the Pavilion in Philadelphia, it can be watched on FS1! As always, Hazard Zet Forward!