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Deeper Dive: 'Nova Over Western Mich.

Broc Libra takes a deeper look at Villanova's win over Western Michigan on Thursday ...

Villanova vs. Western Michigan 11/17/2016

In the first game of the Gildan Charleston Classic, Villanova slugged their way to a 76-65 win over a gritty Western Michigan team, a team with 2 very good upperclassmen and a bunch of underclassmen.  WMU played very well, not going for Villanova’s pump fakes and dropping down below the ball when our guards took the ball to the hoop. 

Reporting from Charleston, SC, here are 5 takeaways from the game

  1. Where did the ball movement go? – Similar to the last few games, the ball movement hasn’t been there. That being said, there are a few reasons behind this, and one that I believe is that anybody on our team can take the ball to the hoop. Last year, we had a pretty set offense, in that the ball went to the wing, we looked in the post, the ball swung to the opposite wing to a cross screen and roll.  Now, the ball seems to move a bit slower, but there are more opportunities to get to the hoop by more players, so Darryl needs to read the defense and choose the right place to set the screen, while also making sure he gets out of the way if someone goes to the hoop.
  2. While ball movement is slowing, the style is still the same – Similar to the last couple of years, Villanova is shooting a lot of 3’s and making a high percentage of 2’s. Through 3 games, Villanova has taken 89 2’s, making almost 60% of them and 81 3’s, making over 38% of them. Through 3 games last year, Villanova had taken 100 3’s. 
  3. Villanova is better with Darryl Reynolds in the game – Darryl has an ORtg of 149.7 and a DRtg of 90.7. While his DRtg isn’t the best on the team (it’s actually 6th) his offensive/defense spread is the second best on the team, behind Mikal Bridges. Now, that’s not to say that Darryl isn’t playing as he’s played the 2nd most minutes of the team, but there has been a noticeable drop off when he is not in the game. This also isn’t saying that Eric Paschall hasn’t been playing well because he’s been playing tremendously, but we’re a better team when Reynolds is on the floor.
  4. Great perimeter defense, iffy 2 point defense – So far through 3 games, opponents are shooting 24% from 3 against Villanova.  That’s fantastic defense.  However, through the first 3 games, opponents are shooting almost 54% from 2. Now, there’s a big reason for that from Purdue having 2 bigs who shot had to work hard but shot very well, to WMU shooting a great percentage from the mid-range. Expect both numbers to revert to more normal numbers, but the 3 point defense is promising. 
  5. Steal the ball, keep the ball – Through 3 games, Villanova has 27 steals and have only had the ball stolen 11 times, both are top 40 rates in the country.  Now, all of this scrambling has led to teams moving the ball quite a bit and teams have 52 assists against Villanova, which is 330th in the country. This number is a bit concerning to start as many teams who get a lot of steals like West Virginia don’t allow these easy buckets, so the defense is still a work in progress. Even though the steals and low turnovers are positive, if the steal doesn’t occur, the ‘Cats need to get back on D.

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