Alright, let's get down to it.
If you missed the game recap from last night it can be found here
St. John's SB Nation's site, Rumble in the Garden, had their own gamer of course, it can be found right here
But let's look at the No. 8 Wildcats and how well or poorly they played
Note: Player's are graded on a scale of 1-10 and given a letter grade as follows
F (below 6.5)
JayVaughn Pinkston, 37 minutes, 6-for-14 from the field, 3-for-5 from FT, 15 points/10 rebounds/4 turnovers/2 steals, (Grade: 8.5/10 | B):
Positives: The positives are pretty obvious. He recorded a double-double, though it took almost every minute of the basketball game. He was aggressive in and around the paint and used his wide frame to draw contact and bully players in the post. He drew some mismatches, one that sticks out being sealing Rysheed Jordan and knocking him to the ground on the way to an easy two. His stock will continue to rise when he has offensive games like this.
Negatives: The biggest is probably the four turnovers, that's what really held his grade back. For a player like Pinkston who's stock could jump exponentially in the next year and a half until he graduates and is looking for playing time at the next level, those foolish turnovers are inexcusable, whether he was doubled or not. When you are consistently the best player on the floor you get doubled, you have to work through the pressure, it's not an excuse, it's Division I basketball. The Johnnies played tough defense, especially on the interior, but some of the cough-ups were just bad possessions on his part. Positives outweigh the negatives.
Daniel Ochefu, 15 minutes, 3-for-4 from the field, 4-for-4 from FT, 10 points/7 rebounds/4 fouls/2 blocks/1 turnover, (Grade: 9.0/10 | A-):
Positives: There are so many positives it's ridiculous. Take note that Ochefu, after we reported that a source told VU Hoops that he could have the team's highest NBA upside, did this line of work in 15 minutes. Imagine if he played a starter's role in this game. Ochefu missed one shot and was perfect from the free throw line, a player that struggles from there shooting under 60 percent from the line. He was three boards from a double double and set the tone of the game defensively with two early blocks on two of the best shot blockers in the NCAA, Chris Obekpa and Jakarr Sampson. His four fouls do hold his grade back, but in all fairness, it's not much he could do, all four fouls were from slashes by D'Angelo Harrison. He played his role perfectly.
Negatives: His negatives are the four fouls, that sticks out the most. Other than that, he held Sampson and Obekpa at bay while he was in the game. They combined for 48 minutes and 14 points. Not great numbers.
James Bell, 22 minutes, 1-for-9 from the field, 2-for-2 FT, 0-for-3 3PT, 4 points/10 rebounds/5 fouls/3 turnovers, (Grade: 7.2/10 | C-):
Positives: There aren't many. If we are counting positives for Bell, it'll be his 10 rebounds that he got in 22 minutes. Some of the rebounds came easy for Bell but he did work for a lot of them. He played some great defense while he was in.
Negatives: Bell did play tough defense and is arguably the best perimeter defender the team has, strongest guard they have too, but fouling out four times in six games can't keep happening. I talked to Coach Wright following the game with Providence and he said that Bell's frequency in fouling out is because "he's a tough defender, it's not like him but we can't find a way to change the habit." He basically said that he'll keep fouling out until something changes, either he plays D or he doesn't. He was horribly inefficient, a trait for him but this game was bad. Didn't make a shot from deep and had three turnovers. He's dangerously close, in my opinion, to losing some time to Josh Hart. Snooze button.
Darrun Hilliard, 31 minutes, 1-for-10 from the field, 7-for-8 FT, 1-for-5 3PT, 10 points/4 rebounds/4 fouls/2 blocks/2 turnovers/3 assists, (Grade: 7.5 | C):
Positives: Not many here either. The 10 points helped Villanova and he played great defense in rotation along the wing and picking up on the perimeter. He was the only wing player that didn't noticeably get broken down off the dribble. He had as many blocks as Ochefu, not as emphatic, but one was a nice stuff over Phil Greene IV. His three assists were tied for a team-high. Found his way to the line at a high clip.
Negatives: This was one of the first games this season that Hilliard was a liability on the offensive side of the ball. He kept his dribble in some stickier situations where he was being guarded but still lost two turnovers. Hilliard has a tendency to not know when he needs to step in and find his shot or attack the rim instead of shooting from the outside. It might be sticking to the game plan, but there needs to be a time when you take smarter shots if others aren't falling.
Ryan Arcidiacono, 35 minutes, 3-for-5 from the field, 4-for-4 FT, 3-for-4 3PT, 13 points/2 rebounds/3 fouls/3 assists/2 turnovers/1 steal (Grade: 8.5/10 | B):
Positives: Arch's best offensive game this season as far as I'm concerned. One point below his season-high in a very important road test for the Wildcats. Helped the ball movement from the point position all game, especially when attacking the rim or in transition. Great game by Arch on offense.
Negatives: Before you get angry that Arch got a B, ask yourself one thing: who scored the most points for St. John's and how did they do it? Answers: Harrison and by attacking the rim, and he attacked by easily beating Arch off the dribble in the high post or at the top of the arc. Jordan also beat Arch off the dribble multiple times, Max Hooper drained his only three after breaking loose from Arch and the team not following by picking up the assignment. A lot of these games where team's stay close or their guards have season-high scoring outputs is because Arch can't play great on-ball defense. His coaching staff knows it, and they've been looking for ways to make him stronger there but it's not working or it's ineffective. His offense and the team win, makes up for his poor defense.
Josh Hart, 27 minutes, 3-for-7 from the field, 8-for-13 FT, 0-for-2 3PT, 14 points/5 rebounds/2 fouls/2 steals/1 block, (Grade: 9.7/10 | A+):
Positives: Hart did seemingly everything right. Great on offense from the bench, fantastic on defense with two steals and a block, didn't play too many minutes, shot efficiently. Making it hard for him not to be in the argument for the best freshman in the Big East this season.
Negatives: He missed every three he took. Nothing else, it's barely a negative looking at his entire body of work.
Kris Jenkins, 9 minutes, 2-for-4 from the field, 1-for-2 3PT, 5 points/3 rebounds/0 fouls/0 assists/0 steals, (Grade: 8.0/10 | B-):
Positives: Jenkins hit a huge three to cap Villanova's 8-0 run at the end of the game that gave them their biggest lead of the contest and secured the win.
Negatives: Not many, took a few contested shots, but filled his role in 9 minutes.
Tony Chennault, 12 minutes, 0-for-1 from the field, 1-for-2 FT, 1 point/1 foul/0 rebounds/0 assists/0 steals, (Grade: 7.3/10 | C):
Dylan Ennis, 12 minutes, 2-for-2 FT, 2 points/1 turnover/1 assist/1 rebounds/0 steals, (Grade: 7.3/10 | C):
Positives: Eh times two
Negatives: A tad bit confused why Ennis played so little and was almost the 8th man off the bench. Very similar feel to the Butler game.
Head Coach Jay Wright (Grade: 8.1/10 | B-):
Positives: The team won. If you can take any positives from this sloppy mess of a game it's that Villanova won, other than that, there's not a load that was positive from Jay in this game. There weren't any tangible 2nd half adjustments, St. John's actually came out a lot stronger in the second set. Harrison scored a majority of his points in this set.
Negatives: One thing that sticks out is time and rotation management, it was extremely poor this game. Bell played more minutes than Ochefu and fouled out without really making an impact. The only big man on your team that arguably had his best game of the season played 15 minutes. One of your best shooters from the bench only played 12 minutes. Pinkston almost played the entire game. There were no defensive adjustments at the half, if there were then it was how they guarded the perimeter, but I think that was more of St. John's not making shots than Villanova forcing bad shots. The team shot close to season lows from the field and from deep. Not sure where Jay's head was in this one, but it makes you think: how long can Villanova keep "escaping" Big East teams instead of dominating them if they are supposed to be "this" good.