Villanova vs. American 12/21/2016
In the final OOC game at the Pavilion, Villanova had a very easy time with the American Eagles, just like the last time we played them (during the 2011-2012 season) as Villanova used a massive 2nd half run that looked more like a practice than a game, to win 90-48. While the first half mirrored the first half when Villanova played UNC-Asheville in the first round of the tournament, complete with a buzzer beater to end the half, the 2nd half was just an offensive and defensive explosion as Villanova worked on certain aspects of their defense including a 2/3 zone, press for a steal, the 1-2-2 ¾ court press and of course, man-to-man defense.
Here are 5 takeaways from the game:
1. Mikal Bridges is shooting 80% from 2 point land –That’s insane. While the thought is that he should take more shots (and I agree) he is taking the right shots. Mikal is 29/32 from shots at the rim, including both of his baskets last night. However, Villanova doesn’t take a lot of 2’s because they play off of the 3 pointer to open up driving lanes.
2. Villanova doesn’t assist on a lot of 2 pointers – Looking at the numbers so far, Villanova has assisted on 70 of the 161 shots made at the rim, and the beneficiaries seem to be our bigs as Paschall has been assisted on 14 of his 21 makes and Reynolds has been assisted on 17 of his 24 makes at the rim. The other guys are:
- Hart – 18 of his 43 makes at the rim were assisted
- Jenkins is 1 of 8
- Brunson is 6 of 23
- Donte is 5 of 10
- Bridges is 8 of 29
This shows that after Villanova makes a bunch of 3’s in the first half, the driving lanes part like the Red Sea and guys take the ball to the hoop on their own. If they get stuck, Paschall and Reynolds are available for a pass. Donte’s numbers are a bit high because he’s had 2-3 alley-oops.
3. Paschall had himself another game – Full well knowing the opponent, Paschall has had himself a nice 5 game stretch in which he’s averaging 9.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and is shooting 58% from the field in only 20 minutes of play. If you double that, his per 40 minute game average is 18.8 points and 10.4 rebounds, which would be 2nd on the team. That, combined with that great Fansided article about Paschall and the “death lineup” is really showing his true value. He’s been playing great.
4. Shooting the ball – Especially in the first half, but for the game, Villanova shot 59% from the field, 38% from 3 and 80% from the FT line, but did anyone else feel like they left tons of points on the table? Those numbers are insane, but it really felt like there were a lot of points left on the table. If I feel like that for the rest of the season and we score 90 a game, I’ll take that every day.
5. #1 –As of 12/22, Villanova is back to being #1 on Kenpom, especially after two uninspiring efforts from Duke over Tennessee St and Elon. Villanova also has the #1 offense, with an efficiency of 121.6. Last year’s efficiency was number 3 in Kenpom and was 121.7. While the defense has gotten a bit worse (89.7 last year, 91.7 this year) one big thing is that the ‘Cats aren’t fouling at all this year. Opponents have the 2nd lowest FT rate at 18.8%, just behind Purdue, at 18.2%. #3 is UCF at 20.4%. Teams aren’t getting easy opportunities against us and while Villanova hasn’t been in a situation to foul late in the game, other undefeated teams like UCLA, Creighton and Baylor are all in the top 15, but are closer to 22-24%. Last year, Villanova’s foul rate was 48th in the nation at 30% and the number 1 team was Utah at 23%.