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Quick hits: Three takeaways from Villanova vs. Seton Hall

Let's just talk this out

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

I saw what happened. Y'all saw what happened.

Make whatever generalizations possible after this loss to a team that will likely be nationally ranked on Monday, but multiple things, like always, stick out in a loss like this for Villanova. The Wildcats were: too reliant on the deep shot, couldn't make foul shots, didn't consistently defend the perimeter well when trapping Sterling Gibbs, and didn't feed the post enough, specifically in overtime.

Villanova should still be ranked team when the poll drops today, they still have Sweet 16 potential as a club, and this isn't going to be the only conference loss in a stronger Big East this season. Villanova, Butler, Seton Hall, St. John's and Georgetown are all in the top-30 for RPI. Big East teams, to this point, are 75-6 at home.

This is going to happen on the road, but the more serious notion isn't about how the 'Cats played against Seton Hall. It'll be how they'll rebound against St. John's, a squad that holds, arguably, the conference's best pure scorer in D'Angelo Harrison.

Here's some quick takeaways from the game:

Sterling Gibbs was good, Khadeen Carrington might've been better

Villanova took a page out of last season's book, getting beat by superior perimeter standouts off the dribble. Last season, there were a bevy of guards that punished the Wildcats off the dribble, but this season, their defensive intensity has improved with another year of Josh Hart, Darrun Hilliard, an improved Dylan Ennis and the addition of Phil Booth Jr, though Tony Chennault is missed.

The problem, specifically in the overtime period, was that when Villanova went to trap multiple times in a 35 second period, they tried to get the ball in a secondary or unimportant ball handler's hands. In each case it was Carrington, and in most cases he made them pay finishing with 17 points, nine of which came from the foul line, a bevy of others on dribble drive penetration or in transition. Seton Hall scored 11 points in transition to Nova's 0.

Example 1:


Late in the shot clock, high screen and roll action from the Pirates leaving Carrington wide on the wing which means someone, here Ennis, would have to react late because the guard, Hart, didn't fight over the screen. Jay Wright's system gets players to switch which creates a mismatch for them against Seton Hall because of their great guard play and depth at both positions.

So here, either JayVaughn Pinkston follows the ball or Ennis has to step up and deny the ball early.


That ended in a spin move and Carrington hitting the go-ahead bucket to end the game outside of some Jaren Sina free throws.

Ryan Arcidiacono was pretty bad in OT

Before the confusion, Arch should probably still be a starter for Villanova, without him, the ball movement that the Wildcats use to create a bunch of their offense, that swinging motion, wouldn't get started without him. His minutes might need to be reduced a step depending on the game situation, but that's a conversation for a different day.

In 37 minutes, he went 1-for-9, had four assists and three turnovers to go with two points, four missed triples and he missed his only free throw. The main problem was his lack of vision in overtime. Two of his three turnovers were in the final minute and thirty seconds of the game on back-to-back possessions.



And then finishing this play here:


The following play, which was honestly too late at that point anyway, was Arch dribbling into a corner being closed off by Carrington and throwing it to Pinkston while jumping in the air for a foul. At bare minimum, if Arch isn't going to have a good game, he needs to still positively swing the ball on the floor. The Wildcats general looked disjointed in the extra period.

The good? He single-handedly carved through traffic and got Darrun Hilliard his wide open look at the end of regulation. Had Hilliard made that shot, Arch might have been a hero. Otherwise, Gibbs handled him on the perimeter on dribble drives, usually keeping him on his hip out of pick and roll action or using a crossover and hitting a midrange jumper or a floater.

Post presence at an all-time low

Daniel Ochefu might have had the single-best game of any Wildcat all season with the stat line he put up on the road at the Rock. He was the only reason Villanova was in the game when no one else, besides Hilliard for a quick stretch, could step up.

But with the game tied and another period to win the game, Villanova didn't give Ochefu one post touch in the extra period. Now unless there was one that was missed, Ochefu didn't have a chance to offensively impact the game in the last period and he was the team's offense the entire game. The inside-outside game would work much better than Villanova chucking threes after a certain point in the game.

And it's now classified as such since this is the seventh time in 14 contests they've shot 30 percent from deep or lower, three times in the last four contests, six of the seven times taking more than 20 triples, and three of those times taking more than 22 threes. When Pinkston and Ochefu get more touches, it opens up more wide open shots for Villanova and they've been able to capitalize on those in the other games this season.

But the main question after a loss like this to Seton Hall is simple: how does a top-ranked squad with Sweet Sixteen potential react on their second true road challenge facing another pure scoring guard (D'Angelo Harrison), tough rebounding big (Chris Obekpa) and another tough overall defensive squad?

That's the only important thing to think about after that loss.