Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Supernova Explosion: As VU Astronomers Present Supernova to World, #6 Wildcats Bring Doomsday on DePaul, 99-72

To the Wildcat faithful-

Tonight's game story will open, with the following multiple-choice, Jeopardy! style:

Answer: 10 million years. 

What is the correct choice?

A.  How long did tonight's game seem to require for completion, for DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright and the Blue Demons? 

B.  How long it seemed to take Jay Wright, to insert walk-on Jason Wooten into the game (after Villanova held a 41-10 lead in the first half, and a 25-point lead for much of the second half?)

C. How long it seems to have been, since Villanova last lost a game at the Pavilion? 

D. How long it might be for a particular supernova to threaten Earth, according to Villanova University astronomy professor Edward Sion? 

The correct answer is D.  Here's why, according to's Nicolas Wethington, in "Could A Faraway Supernova Threaten Earth?"

Supernovae, just like any other explosions, are really cool. But, just like any other explosion, it's preferable to have them happen at a good distance. The star T Pyxidis, which lies over 3,000 light-years away from the Earth in the constellation Pyxis, was previously thought to be far enough away that if anything happened in the way of a supernova, we'd be pretty safe. According to Edward Sion, Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Villanova University, T Pyxidis may be in fact a "ticking time bomb," and potential threat to the Earth if it were to go supernova, which it may do sometime in the future, though very, very far in the future on our timescale: by Scion's calculations, at least 10 million years.

 (Above - The supernova known as T. Pyxidis, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1997 - the subject of the presentation by Villanova University astronomy professor Edward Sion today.  Credit: NASA, via

First, props to Professor Sion, who gave a presentation on this subject, to the American Astronomical Association today in Washington - and in so doing, garnered plenty of positive media attention - the story was featured on the Fox 29 Ten O'Clock News tonight, which was where I initially saw it...

That having been said, choices A), B), and C) are all plausibly correct questions to the answer of "10 million years."  Here's why: 

A.  How long did tonight's game seem to require for completion, for DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright and the Blue Demons?  

DePaul did not look like it even belonged on the same court as the Wildcats tonight.  The Blue Demons were never remotely in the game.  Villanova took a 41-10 lead, at the 4:48 mark in the first half, and cruised the rest of the way.

This might not seem like a big deal, given the Wildcats' #6 ranking.  But consider this fact: Villanova garnered a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament, and went to the Final Four last season.  In contrast, DePaul became the first team in Big East history to go winless against an 18-game conference slate in the regular season (although they did manage to win their first-ever Big East tournament game, upsetting ninth-seeded Cincinnati in the opening round).

So in light of those facts, one might have thought that last year's Villanova/DePaul game wasn't competitive.  Not the case.  The Wildcats required a 21-5 second-half run, and some last-minute heroics from Scottie Reynolds, to escape becoming DePaul's first (and only) victory last season, at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, winning by just two points.

And with many of this year's Wildcats having been either in uniform or on the bench for last year's close call, nobody was looking past DePaul this year.  And it showed.  The annihilation was thorough and complete. 

B.  How long it seemed to take Jay Wright, to insert walk-on Jason Wooten into the game (after Villanova held a 44-12 lead in the first half, and a 30-point lead for much of the second half?) 

The fact that Wooten entered the game tonight, with just 45 seconds to play, is appalling.  The bench players were on the floor for almost all of the second half, with Villanova up by an insurmountable margin.  And much of the 45 seconds that Wooten did see, consisted of the Wildcats' magnanimously running out the clock, instead of trying to score to clear the century mark.  He should have been on the floor with five minutes left, or at the very least, at the under-4-minute TV timeout. 

C. How long it seems to have been, since Villanova last lost a game at the Pavilion?  

Tonight marked the Wildcats' 34th consecutive victory at the Pavilion.  Their last loss there was ironically, exactly three years ago to the day, and it was to DePaul.  On January 7, 2007, DePaul won, 84-76, at the Pavilion.  But the Wildcats ensured that it didn't happen again tonight.  (Only the current seniors were on the roster at the time.)

The Wildcats improved to 2-0 Big East, 13-1 overall; DePaul continues its struggles in Big East regular season play, falling to 0-3 Big East, 7-8 overall.  It was the Blue Demons' 23rd consecutive loss in the Big East regular season.

Reynolds scored a game-high 21 points on 8-13 shooting, and did so in just 25 minutes.  Maalik Wayns came off the bench to score 18 points, a career-high, on 8-12 shooting and added three steals, in just 20 minutes.  Over the last four games, Wayns has averaged 13.3 points and has become a dangerous scoring option. 

Corey Fisher had a superb performance in 27 minutes, the most of any Wildcat.  He finished with 15 points on 5-10 shooting, six rebounds, and four assists.  Reggie Redding, continuing to impress as he returns to the rotation, also reached double figures with 10 points, four rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.  

The bench played much of the game, with Dominic Cheek receiving 22 minutes and responding with nine points and half a dozen rebounds, while Maurice Sutton saw nine minutes.  One regular bench player, Isaiah Armwood, made his first career start tonight; he responded with a career-high five steals, all in the first half; he finished with half a dozen points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes. 

Mouph Returns 

The game was also noteworthy for the return of Mouphtaou Yarou.  The freshman center had missed the last 11 games due to his contraction of hepatitis.  He hadn't played since the Penn game, back on November 24.  (Once his condition was diagnosed, Mouph had been sent home from Puerto Rico prior to the tournament and did not play in any of Villanova's three games there over Thanksgiving weekend.)

Mouph was being brought back slowly, and logged 14 minutes tonight.  He did not start, but he entered the game at the 16:01 mark, receiving a considerable ovation from the packed Pavilion crowd.  (He wore long white sleeves, which I speculate was due to his need to stay warm while recuperating.)

Take a look at commenter Werner's observation on Mouph's sleeves (referenced in the comment below the post....)

they actually weren't long sleeves on was his usual t-shirt, plus shooting sleeves (with elbow pads) on both arms...maybe he's trying to start a new trend 

Give him some props for being out there tonight; he didn't appear to be at 100%, especially when sprinting up and down the court, as he seemed to be straining.  Nonetheless, he scored four points, with a pair of rebounds, a formally recorded blocked shot, and a couple of altered DePaul shots that he didn't get credit for.  Welcome back, Mouph!

Mouph's presence happened to coincide with a rebounding explosion; Villanova clobbered DePaul on the glass, 38-22.

The one stray 'Cat was Corey Stokes; the Bayonne Bomber was out of commission with a hamstring tweak.  However, he must have taken some wardrobe advice from Wright, as Stokes was finely attired in a Villanova-blue suit on the bench.

DePaul was led by Mac Koshwal, who led the Blue Demons in both points (17) and rebounds (11) - he got his double-double, while playing all but two minutes.  Will Walker also had a double-double, with 13 points and 11 assists.  Two of DePaul's walk-ons came off the bench to reach double figures as well: Nate Rogers had 14 points in 23 minutes, while Ryan Siggins had 11 points in 31 minutes.

Villanova returns to action against Marquette, on Saturday afternoon at 2 PM at the Pavilion, one week after foiling an upset bid by the Golden Eagles in Milwaukee. 

And take a look at the other fine Villanova blogs on the sidebar, for their respective takes...

Go Wildcats!



Werner said...

they actually weren't long sleeves on was his usual t-shirt, plus shooting sleeves (with elbow pads) on both arms...maybe he's trying to start a new trend

Villanova Viewpoint Publisher said...

Hello, Werner-

Thanks for the comment. As you can see, I've noted it in the post.

I appreciate the clarification. It sounds like you were at the game in person, as I was watching it on television (with former Wildcat standout John Celestand as the analyst).

Also, if you'd like to be on the Villanova Viewpoint mass e-mail list, just e-mail me at:

You'll get an occasional e-mail, letting you know what's new on the blog.

Go Wildcats!

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