Thursday, January 9, 2014

Seton Hall/Villanova: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

NEWARK, NJ -­ Wednesday night’s Villanova win over Seton Hall drove home an important, yet often overlooked point. Coaching is never easy. The visiting Wildcats posted what seemed to be an easy 83-­67 victory at the Prudential Center, but the truth is, nothing comes easy in coaching. 

On the surface, you would think Jay Wright’s one-loss Villanova club, entering the Rock with a glistening number eight ranking, would have little to worry about. After all, Seton Hall was coming off a home loss to Creighton, and given their injuries, was short on depth. At full strength, Villanova would be a challenge.

In Wright’s estimation, there was plenty to worry about. He could spend the time between morning shootaround and the 7 p.m. tipoff looking at tape one more time, exchanging thoughts with his assistants, burning nervous energy, worrying about Seton Hall’s willingness to shoot threes, how hard they play, and the manner they draw fouls on the offensive end.

Coaches worry and agonize, not taking a thing for granted. That is simply the nature of the profession. The game played out with the Wildcats wearing down the determined Pirates. Wright was satisfied, but you know his mind was already processing the game just finished and the next one, with St. John’s at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. It is all part of coaching, never resting on one‘s laurels and facing the seemingly never ending worrying that just comes with the sidelines territory.

Seton Hall huddles before heading out for the second half:
Brandon Mobley concentrates on the free throw line:
A relaxed Jay Wright after the game:
About an hour after the game, youth teams from Nutley (white) and Lyndhurst (blue) square off at the Rock. (Yours truly should have brought his gear and whistle)
Exiting the Rock on a balmy 19-degree evening:

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