Confident ’Nova expects long NCAA tourney run

Cam Long is George Mason’s best player, leading the Patriots in scoring (15.3 points) and minutes (33.0).

Since Jay Wright arrived on the Main Line, he has had nothing but success at Villanova.

The highly-motivated head coach has guided the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament for the seventh year in a row. It can be very easy to forget all that when dissecting how the regular season and Big East tournament ended.

While some people were surprised that Villanova (21-11) earned a No. 9 seed after losing its final five games, Wright doesn’t expect anything less than winning in the NCAAs.

In order to that, they’ll have to get past a red-hot George Mason (26-6) squad, which won 16 of its last 17 games. They are led by 6-foot-4 senior guard Cam Long, who led the Patriots with 15.3 points per game.

“This is a tough matchup for us, but I know us as a coaching staff and our players, especially our three seniors. They’re hungry for more,” Wright said. “I’m going to ride those three guys right now.”

Those three guys consist of guards Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes, along with forward Antonio Pena.

“I’m really anxious about playing,” Stokes said. “We want to keep playing. As a senior now, I don’t want to go home. I expect us to keep playing.”

Villanova dropped a gut-wrenching 70-69 game to South Florida on the first day of the Big East tournament. Following that loss, it was natural for the team to be questioned.

“It’s done and over with,” said Fisher, who leads the Wildcats in scoring at 15.4 points per game. “We came home, got healthy and have had great practices. Nothing we can do about it now, except start fresh. We never lost our confidence.”


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