Villanova battles Seton Hall on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Semifinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden (TV: FS1, Radio: 610 (WTEL AM) or VUSports Live Chat).
The Wildcats beat the Pirates twice in the regular season - winning 76-46 at the Pavilion in January and 92-70 in Jersey. The Cats have been able to produce balanced scoring and a solid rebounding effort in both previous meetings. Interestingly, the Villanova Class of 2017 enters the game 6-2 all-time in Big East Tournament games with both losses coming against the Pirates and all six wins coming against other opponents.
Kenpom predicts a 74-63 win for Villanova with an 84% chance of ‘Nova advancing to the Championship game for the third year in a row. Villanova leads the all-time series, 70-40. The Cats have gone 2-1, 1-1, 2-1 and 2-0 (to date) over the last four seasons against Seton Hall.
Keys for Villanova in this game will be 1) trying to keep the rebounding battle even, 2) gaining a significant scoring advantage at the FT line, 3) turnover margin, 4) Villanova’s two-point FG defense, and 5) trying to keep Seton Hall at arms length to avoid giving them and their rooting section confidence.
Taking a look at the Four Factors for each team:
a few things stand out:
• Seton Hall is turnover prone - however, the Cats are not great at turning teams over
• The Hall can really get on the offensive glass - it is vital for ‘Nova to prevent the Pirates from getting a ton of second-chance points
• The Pirates send their opponents to the FT line a bunch - this is an opportunity for VU to capitalize on the strength of their FT shooting
other stats of interest:
• Seton Hall can struggle at times down the stretch because the primary three Pirate scorers are not lights-out free-throw shooters (as a team 64.6% FT)
• The Pirates prefer the two-point shot to the three-ball and Villanova has not defended the two-point shot as well as the three this season
Seton Hall player thumbnails:
Khadeen Carrington (6-4, 195, Jr., 33.3 MPG, 17.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 2.3 TPG, 37.3% 3PFG, 43.0% FG, 71.3% FT, 109.0 ORtg) Carrington can score the ball in bunches both in half-court and in transition. He is very skilled off the dribble and can shoot the deep ball as well. He is the toughest perimeter match-up for the Cats in this game. He has been shooting his free-throws better over the last month.
Angel Delgado (6-10, 240, Jr., 33.0 MPG, 15.7 PPG, 13.1 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.8 TPG, 55.1% FG, 55.1% FT, 107.9 ORtg) One of the elite rebounders in the country. Delgado eats up space in the paint and has the hands to vacuum up rebounds at will. An uncanny offensive rebounder. He does his scoring in the paint. Limiting Delgado will be the toughest match-up for Villanova. Delgado has trouble at the free-throw line and at times can let his emotions get the best of him.
Desi Rodriquez (6-6, 215, Jr., 31.6 MPG, 16.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 2.1 TPG, 37.4% 3PFG, 44.9% FG, 66.9% FT, 105.9 ORtg) Versatile, athletic, rugged. Rodriquez is picking up where he left off last season in terms of shooting and scoring efficiency. He has improved as a passer and ball-handler. He can have problems at the free-throw line and wth turnovers but his effort is always top notch.
Madison Jones (6-2, 160, Sr., 29.1 MPG, 5.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.9 TPG, 1.7 SPG, 31.7% 3PFG, 39.7% FG, 67.3% FT, 95.1 ORtg) The Senior, Wake Forest transfer has done a been logging a good share of minutes for the Hall. Hasn’t been shooting the ball well in league play. Mistake-prone.
Ismael Sanogo (6-8, 215, Jr., 22.9 MPG, 3.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 44.1% FG, 47.2% FT, 90.4 ORtg) A very good, defender, rebounder and shot-blocker. Sanogo has limited offensive skills. Expect Villanova to cheat off him to provide dribble-penetration help on players like Carrington, Rodriquez, and Powell. Turns it over with frequency.
Myles Powell (6-2, 205, Fr., 23.6 MPG, 10.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 31.9% 3PFG, 39.0% FG, 79.6% FT, 110.8 ORtg) The Frosh from Trenton is not afraid to let shots fly - even in crunch time of big games. He has a lot of confidence in his shooting and scoring ability. Powell can get hot from deep and also is a good dribble-drive threat. He is still developing as a distributor off the bounce - so he should always be guarded as if he is looking to score it. Not much of a threat to shoot it from mid-range - he will shoot from straight-away, mid-range but otherwise it is “a three or get to the rim” for Powell.
Michael Nzei (6-8, 205, So., 18.1 MPG, 4.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 68.6% FG, 57.9% FT, 114.4 ORtg) Nzei is a very good offensive rebounder and can also block shots. He finishes better around the cup and has a more efficient offensive game than Sanogo. He focuses on taking high quality shots and otherwise deferring to the Pirates scorers.
Injuries: Phil Booth and Tim Delaney are expected to be out for Villanova. Mikal Bridges is a game-time decision as he recovers from a stomach flu that limited him to one minute of action against St. John’s on Thursday.