Firing on All Cylinders, Villanova Looks Scary Good

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 12th, 2015

After his team picked up its 30th win of the season in convincing fashion in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament, Villanova head coach Jay Wright said something that should scare any future opponent this March. “This team is not one of our better defensive teams. It’s good, but we can be a lot better,” he said. What’s ironic is that he said this after his team had held an overmatched Marquette club to just 49 points on 0.77 points per possession (Villanova scored 84). “Not as good as I’d like it to be, really,” Wright said again. Well then… ho hum.


JayVaughn Pinkston and Friends Just Keep Chugging Along (USA Today Images)

JayVaughn Pinkston and Friends Just Keep Chugging Along (USA Today Images)

After routing Marquette by 35 points, it is safe to say that Wright’s club is playing as good of basketball as any team in the country, and that includes Kentucky. Defense is only half the story. Ranked third nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency, the Wildcats were able to put that on full display this afternoon. More numbers: Villanova assisted on 22 of 30 field goals and tied a Big East Tournament record with 17 three-pointers. The balance on this team is incredible and Wright has every player buying what he is selling: teamwork, toughness, and high basketball IQ. Chemistry is underappreciated by some people in this sport but Villanova has it in spades. When Ryan Arcidiacono, who averages what appears to be a pedestrian 10.7 PPG and 3.6 APG this season, is chosen as the Co-Big East Player of the Year, you’re doing something right. Individual statistics don’t nearly tell the whole story with this team and nobody embodies that more than the Wildcats’ junior point guard.

Villanova will advance to the semifinals tomorrow night where it will face fourth-seeded Providence, but it’s awfully hard to not look ahead and think about this team’s prospects in the NCAA Tournament. In all likelihood, Villanova will be a No. 1 seed if it goes all the way at MSG this weekend. That means avoiding a date with Kentucky until, at the earliest, the Final Four. Should Villanova get there, these Wildcats are fully capable of rising to the challenge. “I think Villanova is a team that can win a national championship,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski after the game. While a lot of people might dismiss that sentiment as coachspeak (and maybe it is), who would argue with Wojo? Even in a year when Kentucky sits on the top line as the prohibitive favorite, it is not outside the realm of possibility that another team, like Villanova, could topple the folks from Lexington. Villanova has some weaknesses — namely, rebounding and a high reliance on the three-point shot — but it is certainly looking the part of a serious contender. The Wildcats from the Main Line won their only national title at Kentucky’s Rupp Arena in 1985. Maybe destiny has a Wildcats vs. Wildcats matchup in the cards for all the marbles? It will be fun to watch it all evolve, but do yourself a favor and don’t dismiss these other Wildcats from the Big East.

Brian Otskey (269 Posts)

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