Villanova vs. Marquette 1/8/2017
After a slight hiccup against Butler, Villanova was back to their winning ways with a 93-81 victory over Marquette, a game that was nowhere near as close as the final score indicates. Due to that final 18-2 run by Marquette, some of the defensive numbers are a bit more skewed than normal, but nonetheless, this was a fantastic effort on both sides of the ball.
- The assists were back– The ball movement has always been there, but the assist totals have really piled up since Villanova made a ridiculous 32-49 shots, including 14-23 from 3 point land. Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges and Donte DiVincenzo had at least 4 assists and Josh and Donte had 7 & 6 respectively. The only downside to this game was that those 4 also combined for 8 of Villanova’s 13 turnovers, both numbers are a bit too high.
- The 2-3 was more effective – It hasn’t been a very strong weapon recently, but it played very well today. The issue we still have with the 2-3 is when the ball is reversed very quickly. The two guys at the top are not getting into passing lanes and letting the ball reverse quickly. When the ball is on the right side and swings to the left elbow extended, what happens is that the player (Paschall, Hart, Jenkins) on the baseline on that side needs to guard the ball until the player at the top can recover, then the baseline guy recovers. However, when the baseline player closes out, he closes out straight on as opposed to slightly to the side. When he comes straight on, the pass goes to the next player in the corner for a wide open 3. This has happened with Paschall a few times and while he still needs to stop the ball, it’d be better if he shaded toward where the offensive player will likely pass the ball as the offensive player is thinking pass first. Once that issue gets resolved, the 2-3 should be a weapon like it was during last year’s run.
- Transition vs. Half Court offense – Some interesting numbers: For the season, Villanova is 65/78 (83.3%) at shots at the rim on fast breaks & 25/67 (37.3%) on 3 pointers from transition. Accounting for some other baskets, that’s an effective FG% (which accounts for a fact that a 3 pointer provides 50% more points than a 2 pointer) of 67.2%. For our half court offense, Villanova is 143/192 (74.5%) for shots at the rim and 130/331 (39.3%) for 3 pointers for an eFG% of 57.6%. The game against Marquette was no exception as Villanova went 7/8 on fast break points for an eFG% of 100%, including 2/2 from 3, while during non-transition offense, Villanova went 12/13 on shots at the rim and 12/21 for 3 pointers, for an eFG% of 75.6%. What does all that mean? Well, it could mean that maybe we should run more, or maybe it means that we only run in certain situations to improve our chances of getting a bucket as opposed to forcing the action.
- Bridges stuffing the stat sheet yet again – Bridges seems to have quite a few of these types of games. 15 points on 4 shots is ridiculous. I realize that Mikal is a super smart player and is super unselfish, but he really needs to shoot more. He’s only taken 95 shots (and 27 FT’s) all season, for around 6 shots a game, which of the main 7 guys, is 6th least as only Donte takes few shots, however, of all of our perimeter players, Bridges has the highest True Shooting % and eFG% on the team. Maybe Mikal needs to tighten up his handle a bit as he makes smart decisions with the ball and only takes it to the hoop when he has a big opening, but Mikal needs to take more than 4 shots a game for Villanova to repeat.
- FT defense is terrible – Kind of a light hearted way to end the article, but opponents are shooting 75.6% from the FT line against Villanova. While it only accounts for 13% of the total points that Villanova let’s up, it’s still a very high number, as the average is 69.7%. Those 5 points a game definitely account for some of the fact that Villanova is now 30th in defensive adjusted efficiency, while the ‘Cats are now #1 on offensive efficiency.