Rushed Reactions: #2 Villanova 92, #3 Miami 69

Posted by Will Tucker on March 24th, 2016

Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCEastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCSouthregion and @RTCWestregion.

Ryan Arcidiacono and Villanova had it going tonight. The Wildcats are headed to the Elite Eight. (Photo: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)

Ryan Arcidiacono and Villanova had it going tonight — the Wildcats are headed to the Elite Eight. (Photo: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)

Three key takeaways:

  1. Villanova’s blistering three-point shooting continued to carry them. Ryan Arcidiacono drilled a three less than two minutes into the game, Jalen Brunson sank another a minute later, and it was off to the races. Nova shot a mind-boggling 10 of 15 from beyond the arc for the game (75%), and Miami coach Jim Larrañaga was absolutely right when he said afterwards that it felt like they shot 30 of them. What came as a surprise was the fact that Miami kept pace, hitting 10 of 17, themselves. But the outcome remained the same for the hot-shooting Wildcats.
  2. Once deprived of free throws, Miami’s offense suffocated. The Canes entered the Sweet Sixteen having made 42 free throws through two games — more than their opponents had attempted. But against a stifling and densely packed zone defense that Villanova coach Jay Wright switched to early on, Miami struggled to get to the rim and consequently struggled to get to the free throw line. Villanova flipped the script tonight, hitting 18 of 19 free-throw attempts while the Canes only made nine of their 13 chances at the stripe.
  3. Daniel Ochefu proved he can shoulder the load down low while his guards fire away from deep. Miami began doubling Ochefu after he scored inside with ease on back-to-back possessions in the first half, but seemed to later abandon that strategy to avoid a blowout courtesy of three-point land. It was an encouraging sign against Miami’s physical interior, and perhaps a warm-up for an even bigger test against the Kansas frontcourt.

Star of the Game: Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova. I entered the game expecting to slot big guy Daniel Ochefu here, but Arcidiacono made it impossible to justify a contrarian approach. He put up an efficient 21 points – 13 of which helped set the tone in the first half, before Kris Jenkins got hot — and only turned it over once against Angel Rodriguez. Through three games, he boasts an assist-to-turnover rate of 4.0.

Quotable. “Defensively in the second half we really stepped up. If you look at the numbers, it’s kind of crazy to think that was good defense.” – Jay Wright, Villanova head coach.

Sights & Sounds:

  • The sight of legendary Villanova coach Rollie Massimino on the Yum! Center Jumbotron elicited a nice round of applause from the Yum! Center crowd midway through the second half — by which point Kansas and Maryland fans had filled the empty patches of the lower bowl.
  • A late game Dance Cam interlude featuring Katy Perry’s “Shake It Off” brought one husky middle-aged Villanova fan to his feet in a rapturous display of hip-shaking prowess. It tore down some of the barriers between the four fan bases and gave the South Regional the hero everyone deserves.
  • Miami’s dance squad deserves some major nostalgia props for striving to resurrect the flannel-shirt-tied-at-the-waist look during their halftime performance.

What’s Next? Villanova takes on the winner of Kansas-Maryland on Saturday. Miami heads home to turn their attention to next season.

Will Tucker (124 Posts)

Kentucky native living and working in Washington, D.C. Fan of tacos, maps, and the 30-second shot clock. Not a fan of comments sections, bad sportswriting.

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