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Film Room: Breaking down No. 3 Villanova's loss to Seton Hall

Today's lesson: defensive switching, stopping the bigs, guarding the potential buzzer beater, the perimeter and the problem with help D

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When I saw Seton Hall court side at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in November against Oklahoma, they had the makings of games like these. Sterling Gibbs handed Villanova the loss at the buzzer with a beautiful step back jumper.

Here's the gamer

And go to South Orange Juice for more info and updates (if you even want them) about the game.

Let's begin


Commentary from the readers:

From Coach "JimDribbleless"

That was horrible. We played right into their hands. I sensed this might happen as I said that Seton Hall was better with Sina at the point. Some points.

  • We were up by 2 and Seton Hall had the ball with 38 seconds left. I had said no 3's and Seton Hall's coach drew up a 3 for Seton Hall. All we had to do was play straight up defense and we would have had the last shot or gone to overtime. I had said earlier this year that the way we play 3's at the end of the game would come back to bite us.
  • Willard had us coached perfectly. Playing way off Chennault and Pinkston and slowing the game down and milking the clock while we shot fast.
  • The shooting of the 3's by us was HORRIBLE. The Garden is hard to shoot at with the rims 4-19 is not going to cut it.
  • I love Bell and he has been great this year but 0-8 does not cut it in your Senior Year at the end of the season.
  • Pinkston- I cannot understand the psychology of him saying he does not like playing in the Garden. It becomes a foregone conclusion when you feel that way. He has NEVER shot well there. I saw this coming from him today as he mentally thinks he cannot shoot there.
  • The good was how Hart and Jenkins played. I would have kept Jenkins in there more he did not get enough time.

Please do not chalk this up to a bad shooting game. I like Jay as a coached but he got totally outcoached today. Seton Hall controlled the tempo from the beginning. You get in the tournament you are going to have shooting games like today. I saw fear in the Cats most of the game not confidence. Now you have a week to try to regroup but I think the swagger may have taken a hit.

From "VNova86"

  • If you are in a position to get a 1 Seed you don't dare come out flat. Nobody should say that "if we hit two more foul shots we win" since the reason we missed the foul shots is because we flat out didn't come ready to play. Somebody needs to step up and lead this team. Clearly, Seton Hall went out to play with a "we have nothing to lose" attitude, but shame on Nova for letting them just beat them - regardless of the fact that it was only by one point. They outplayed us. We played scared. A 28-3 team needs to come out and dominate. The bigger issue is that while this loss should wake up this team, we could just as easily come out and get beat by a 14 or 15 seed next weekend. No killer instinct.

From "southtown24"

  • We are the only #1 seed in a conference tourney and #1 seed hopeful in the NCAA tournament to go into the first round conference tourney game and get smacked by a low-level team like Seton Hall. I am sorry, that was a major major disaster out there today.
  • We will see if this team can even recover.

Lastly for Villanova:

  • The Wildcats are 7-1 in close games (games decided by five points or less) this season, Seton Hall is their only close loss. Since 2008, Villanova has been 38-26 in such games since 2008
  • Villanova set season lows in assists (9) and three-pointers (4) on Thursday
  • The Pirates have lost 12 games this season decided by five points or less

Note: Player's are graded on a scale of 1-10 and given a letter grade as follows...

A+ 9.7 - 10
A 9.3 - 9.6
A- 9.0 - 9.2
B+ 8.7 - 8.9
B 8.3 - 8.6
B- 8.0 - 8.2
C+ 7.7 - 7.9
C 7.3 - 7.6
C- 7.0 - 7.2
D+ 6.7 - 6.9
D 6.5 - 6.6
F Below 6.5


JayVaughn Pinkston: Grade (C/ 7.3/10)

+ : Was effective rebounding the ball, especially finding extra opportunities for teammates to score by grabbing two offensive rebounds

- : Free throw shooting was hideous. Was also outclassed by the combo of Patrik Auda and Gene Teague on the low block. He was taken off the dribble 25 feet from the cup by Auda. His flop was almost worse than a Marcus Smart sampling. Almost.

Daniel Ochefu: Grade (D+/ 6.9/10)

+ : He didn't play much (21 minutes) but Ochefu pretty much filled his role offensively. He was also a beast on the offensive glass, 3 of his 4 rebounds were there.

- : Ochefu was also outclassed by Auda/Teague. Though he's known as a great interior defender, he couldn't do anything about Teague's footwork and counter-moves as well as Auda crossing him up a few times. Was constantly stuck on a mismatch faceguarding Gibbs, usually didn't end well. He also missed a dunk...

James Bell: Grade (C-/7.2/10)

+ : Bell was great in the passing lanes (2 steals) and strong on the boards (8 rebounds) and even threw four assists

- : But Bell didn't score one point. 0-for-8 from the field. If Bell had even contributed half of his season average Villanova could have had a better chance on the offensive end of winning this game.

Darrun Hilliard: Grade (C+/7.9/10)

+ : Hilliard did what he had to do late in the game to pull Villanova closer to Seton Hall in the middle of the second half. He was active in the passing lanes, did well faceguarding his matchups and made a tough shot with the game on the line late. He gets the plus for his late game shot.

- : The main problem is probably that Hilliard didn't get going early, he shot 38 percent from the field and wasn't aggressive enough putting the ball on the ground and getting to the hoop. He didn't have any free throw attempts against Seton Hall

Ryan Arcidiacono: Grade (C-/7.2/10)

+ : Arch played the most of any starter and didn't contribute much offensively. He missed six of nine shots taken and missed four of five from deep. Arch just wasn't there against SHU, played a game similar to how he would in non-conference play.

- : More turnovers than assists. He didn't even have an assists against SHU. Also a lot of low-IQ shots. There was one possession he got a high ball screen and took two steps and launched with two players directly in his grill. Not the best performance.

Kris Jenkins: Grade (B-/8.2/10)

+ : Jenkins played his role as well as he could for 13 minutes on the floor. He made a majority of his shots, didn't completely get exposed defensively.

- : Jenkins did have a few struggles stopping Teague and Auda like the rest of the Wildcats, also got caught in some screens that led to bad mismatches for his teammates.

Josh Hart: Grade (A/9.6/10)

+ : Hart had one of his best games as a Wildcat and a fantastic showing for his first postseason contest in a Villanova uniform. He was the main source of offense for a Villanova team that was down by as much as 15 points to the Pirates in the first half and he drew two big fouls from behind the perimeter due to his shooting motion. 18 points, 8 rebounds and only missed two of nine attempted free throws

- : Hart didn't do much wrong against the Pirates, can't really think of much besides a turnover.

Tony Chennault: Grade (Incomplete)

: Hard to grade someone who played four minutes

- : But he did get one of his only shots of the game sent to Times Square

Dylan Ennis: Grade (D+/6.9/10)

+ : Ennis was active defensively with a steal and a couple of blocks

- : other than that though he wasn't useful on the floor


Defending the Perimeter

Let's start with the usual, the Wildcats had a tough time defending the perimeter as the Pirates went 8-for-19 from deep aka 42%.

Example 1:


For some reason, Arch got caught fronting Teague while Sina was just running around the arc and had an easy one while Arch reacted late to the jump shot. This was early in the game and they were already giving up wide open attempts from deep.

Example 2:


Not even eight minutes later, Sina is wide open again after a dribble drive from Gibbs that attracts four Wildcats to the paint. This defensive structure where Villanova collapses the paint to force a turnover has turned out bad and plagued the Wildcats multiple times this season.

Remember this from the first Creighton game?:


Or this? :


Or even this from overtime against Providence?:


This isn't really a coincidence anymore. Villanova has a tendency to rely heavily on help defense when a better ball handler or more important player gets a touch in the post. It's one thing if one player collapses to the ball and leaves his defensive assignment, but ALL five players can't do it at one time. It makes it too easy for the shooter aka in these examples: Sina, Bryce Cotton, Ethan Wragge and more.

Example 3:

Alright. This one is a two-pronged problem and a testament to how well Seton Hall was running their sets offensively.


Brandon Mobley is wide open after Gibbs used a screen and roll that put Teague matching up low with Bell and Hart scrambling to close out on his man. This was simple pick-and-roll, it's weird that Mobley was THAT wide open after a simple screen.

The other part of this set is that if he wanted to pass up on the shot and feed Teague in the post, it immediately becomes a high IQ move. Bell v. Teague is a mismatch, advantage: Seton Hall. For as much help D as they use it's beyond me that Ochefu didn't make one step towards the ball.

Example 4:


This play is very hard to defend first off and secondly, some of the shots that Seton Hall was hitting was just out of this world. Up to this point, Fuquan Edwin was 2-for-14 from the field all game and missed every shot from deep. But if you don't mark your lane assignment in transition then they can leak out to the perimeter and then you have Hart trying to recover defensively.

Stopping the Bigs/Guarding the Post

At the final stage of this season, March Madness, there has to be a strong assumption that Villanova will eventually (depending on how far they make it) play another or pair of gifted post players. So the Wildcats should probably learn how to guard a good post player sometime soon.

Example 1:


First of all, though Auda was very good at playing the "point-forward" role for SHU this season from the four position, he SHOULD NOT be taking anyone off the dribble 27 feet from the basket. That's just ridiculous.

On top of that, Teague has a mismatch in the post as he's now waiting for the pass while he's matched up against Bell.

Auda's dribble-drive resulted in this


Teague is as wide open as someone can get on the low block. Strong side finish was too easy. The problem was JVP's horrible on-ball defense the entire drive which caused another Wildcat to play help-D (which they'd usually do anyway) and leaves an unmarked Teague just waiting as Hilliard watches instead of following the ball.

Total disaster.

Example 2:


Four players basically at the point of attack leaving two SHU players open on the wing. Before we break this down, this is also a habit Villanova has had a few times this season when a post -player has established himself. Take a look at another time they had 4 in the box.

Remember this? :


Too many guys in the box in overtime against Marquette and too many against Teague here. Teague basically out-muscles everyone and gets an easy lay-up off the glass. JVP and Ochefu never bodied him up outside the post to stop the catch. Teague is very easy to beat if you don't let him get post touches i.e do the work early on the defensive end and force him out of the post. Wasn't many times Villanova did that.

Example 3:


This is actually pretty bad. Why is Teague this wide open again?

Ochefu is pretty much sagging off his man and almost allowing him to make the catch in the post and Bell is cheating off Edwin on one of the first plays of the game, this could have ended a lot worse. Teague out-muscled Ochefu and made it look easy.

Slightly similar to the spacing that Villanova gave up against Marquette's Chris Otule as well. A pure clear out on the weak side of the post.


Example 4:


Again, Teague is in deep post position while the ball is already in the air. He ends up catching it a few feet closer to the basket and goes to work on the shorter Jenkins while Bell and others are already trying to help on the post. If SHU wanted they could have played the inside-outside game a lot better to keep the Wildcats modest about crashing to the paint.

If the Wildcats want to win some games in the real tournament, they need to learn how to defend the post. Do the work early and force the big man out of the paint. Auda and Teague combined for 32 points and 16 rebounds against Villanova. Not good.

Breaking Down Key Mismatches

At this point we've talked about a bunch of mismatches, but it was one key mismatch the entire game that drove me crazy and hopefully drove Jay Wright crazy as well. Let's take a look at one really bad example of Ochefu vs. Gibbs.

Part 1:


There should never be a situation where the near-seven footer on the team switches with a point guard and defends the opposition's point guard. This same mismatch happened about seven times in this game. Seton Hall came out on top four of those seven times.

In this instance, the original match was Gibbs vs. Bell, something that the advantage is pretty equal compared to the one given off of the pick and roll where Bell followed Teague to the high post. Arch split the middle trying to add help defense (again) and got caught leaving Sina in the corner.

The end result was close to this

Part II:


Dribble drive penetration on a slower Ochefu gets Gibbs to the middle of the post easily and Arch there to help leaving Sina wide open in the corner and Arch springing back to his spot very late.

If a player has burned a team twice, you absolutely CAN'T leave him wide open because you're trying to provide help, especially when there is already another player in the post. This play almost gave the Pirates the win before Hilliard's tough spin move on the other side of the court.

All of Sina's points on Thursday were triples.

Potentially Stopping A Buzzer Beater

Villanova really has a problem paying attention long enough in potential buzzer beater settings to play defense. I don't know which one it is, but they've played pretty bad defense or got caught with a move they couldn't defend in three different occasions in the past month.

First let's start with Gibbs. If you know anything about Gibbs from now on know this:

1) he has a deadly crossover arsenal, equipped with a Kemba Walker-esque step back jumper

Ask Arch, Gibbs gave him a dirty step back in the first half, it's one of his key, go-to moves:


2) he's as a solid a point guard you're going to see in the Big East. Very similar to Creighton's Austin Chatman. Not great, but can win games when it matters and does the little things to put his team in the right place at the right time.

Five of Gibbs' six assists came in the second half. Two came in the last three minutes of the game. One came with 23 seconds left and almost won the contest.

But Villanova struggled against two other teams guarding the potential buzzer beater play as well.


And Providence:


This has been a well documented problem in the last month. Let's look at the last play:


Gibbs got this wide open due to an interior screen from Auda which got him to the ball rather quickly. Gibbs was the Pirates' first offensive option on this play, Edwin was in the corner setting a preliminary screen.

But the glaring issue on this play is with the inbound pass. Why was no one guarding the inbounder? It makes it a lot easier if there's no one in your face to disrupt the pass. That was a poor defensive plan.


When you give a guard with the caliber of penetration skills that Gibbs has this much room to operate (basically an ISO from the top of the key), it's already a low percentage chance that this ends good for Villanova. There was less than four seconds on the clock when he caught the pass.

If it's any time you want to bring help D and rely on a defensive rotation it would be this specific scenario. Even if you rush a shot due to the clock winding down, it's almost a win-win to try and double or bring added pressure here. Instead it looks like the Wildcats just allowed Seton Hall to run their gameplan, a similar story to the entire day.

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