Villanova vs. Providence 1/21/2017
In the 2nd regular season game at the Wells Fargo Center, Villanova downed Providence 78-68 in a game that was a 19 point game with 3 minutes remaining. While there’s something to be said for taking your foot off the gas, Jay is very nervous in these situations as he keeps his starters in for the entire game, citing the Texas A&M comeback win in the tourney last year as a reason why he does this. That being said, I wouldn’t mind putting teams away and keeping them away as Marquette, St John’s and Providence, (3 of the last 5 games) while not having a great chance of winning, made the score look closer and who knows, we could pull a last year Creighton against Georgetown if the trend continues.
Here are 5 takeaways from the game
- Mikal Bridges was aggressive –And I liked it. A lot. Bridges took the third most 3’s in a game in his career and while he only made 1 of his 5 attempts, this opened up his 2 point game, as he took the most 2 pointers he’s ever taken in a game, and the most FG attempts he’s ever taken in a game. While he took 13 shots, his offensive efficiency didn’t suffer as he posted a 131 ORtg, 3rd highest on the team. Mikal took 4 shots in transition and went 3 for 4 (missed a transition 3) and went 3 for 9 in non-transition shots, an area where he can improve, but guarding him also allowed open lanes for our other guys. Bridges also filled the stat sheet with 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and 0 turnovers. If Bridges takes 13 shots every game with those numbers, we’re going to win a lot of games.
- It was the starters turn – Since the Butler game, the bench had been scoring a lot of points, and even starring as the bench scored at least 10 points in each of the past 5 games including a whopping 28 points against SJU (40% of the team’s points). But in this game, the starters dominated as they scored 76 of the team’s 78 points and the bench also played a combined 37 minutes, which is also a 5 game low. Paschall seems to have a stinker of a game every 3rd or 4th game and this pattern has occurred through most of the season and isn’t likely to change. At least these games aren’t due to effort and he didn’t have a ton of turnovers (only 1) he just couldn’t stay on the floor. Donte went 1 for 5 and again, put forth good effort, just didn’t get into the flow of the game.
- Two point defense was strong, 3 point defense, not so much – Villanova’s defense has been strong for two main reasons: Villanova’s defense has been strong for two main reasons: 1) We don’t foul and 2) Teams don’t shoot well from deep against us (under 30%, which is 9th in the country). That being said, our 2 point defense is fine, but not great, and our FT defense is terrible. (Saying that tongue and cheek). But against Providence, the numbers were reversed as the Friars shot 9 of 24 from 2 (18 total points) and 13-26 from 3 (39 total points). The remaining 11 points came from the line. Games like this show the danger of the 3 ball and why Jay employs this strategy as PC shot 22 of 50 (44%) but since they made 50% of their 3’s, it was only a 10 point game
- Jalen Brunson is so steady –Jalen had his 2nd straight game with 13 points and 6 assists. He now has 85 assists this year, to only 40 turnovers. His slightly over 2:1 Assist/TO ration isn’t quite Arch senior year good (2.77/1) but Jalen is also on pace, assuming 40 games (which is a big assumption) to have more total assists than Arch did last year. (Arch had 169 assists last year, Jalen is on pace for somewhere in the 170 range). Arch also never shot better than 44.5% from the field and his first 3 years, he shot under 40% from the field. I remember Arch’s wrist injury and all the crazy shots he took as a freshman. Arch’s scoring numbers aren’t meant to undercut him (not at all) but rather show that Jalen is putting up better scoring numbers and just as good as assist numbers as a sophomore, than Arch did as a senior. Very impressive stuff by the sophomore.
- Villanova continues to be deadly, yet selective, in transition – For the game, Villanova took 12 shots in transition and went 7 for 12 (6 of 7 at the rim, 1 of 3 on 2 pointers not at the rim, 1 of 2 on 3’s) for an effective FG% of 70.8%, compared with the remainder of our possessions which had an eFG% of 54.3%. In total, 25% of Villanova’s possessions were in transition, which is higher than their season average of 18%. While Villanova may not want to push the pace, the ‘Cats will always run when opportunities present themselves and while they will take an open 3 if available, over half of their shots in transition have been at the rim.