Nothing cures the hangover of a loss like a dominating victory. As predicted, Villanova crushed Delaware by 30 points to give them their 9th win of the season. It was a complete victory, despite another slow start by the Cats. While there were a lot of good take-aways from this game, the biggest news was that Jenkins left late in the first half with a knee injury. We're still waiting for more details on if/how long he'll be out, but it's another blow to the increasingly shrinking depth Villanova has. But it was still a great win with Villanova leading in three of the Four Factors.
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) - Villanova wins by 15.2%
Offense: Game - 59.8%, Season- 53.6%, Last Year - 55.3%
It was another solid shooting night for the Cats. In the last three games, Villanova is averaging over 60% shooting from inside the arc and 13 made 3's. These quality shots are being created with excellent penetration and passing, resulting in an average of over 20 assists per game in the same 3 game span. Josh Hart lead the way with a double-double (18 points, 14 rebounds), and Ryan Arcidiacono (11 points) and Jalen Brunson (13 points) also scored in double digits. Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges scored 9 and 8 points respectively to lead the Villanova bench, which outscored Delaware's bench 25-0. The Jenkins injury is concerning considering how well the offense has played lately, and hopefully it won't be anything serious. With that being said, you have to love seeing this team putting it together and starting to hit a groove on offense.
Defense: Game - 44.6%, Season - 43.4%, Last Year - 45.5%
This number could have been even lower had it not been for an early flurry of 3's by Delaware. Still, I'll take any game where the Cats can hold their opponent to 30% shooting from inside the arc. It was a great combined effort by every player on the court, with Henry Lowe's steal to end the game a fitting exclamation point. Villanova's opponents are averaging 38.9% shooting from inside the arc, good for 7th in the national rankings. With this type of interior play, it will take a lucky night from behind the arc by an elite team (see Oklahoma and Virginia) to beat the Cats.
Turnover Percentage (TO%) - Villanova wins by 11.6%
Offense: Game - 17.6%, Season - 15.1%, Last Year - 16.3%
It was an uncharacteristically sloppy game from Ryan Arcidiacono (3 turnovers) leading the way. Josh Hart and Daniel Ochefu (2 each) are going to lose it a couple of times a game given their history, but Phil Booth's pair of turnovers can be excused given his aggressiveness on the offensive end shooting the ball (and his 7 assists) - something fans have been begging for. Given how well the team is shooting as a whole, 12 turnovers against a weak opponent isn't something to pick at. The 'Cats have taken care of the ball all season and should continue to do so.
Defense: Game - 29.2%, Year Avg. - 23.2% , Last Year - 21.6%
Somehow, the 19 turnovers that Villanova forced Delaware in to feels a bit low given how the game went. I was convinced the Hens lost the ball 20+ times. Villanova's ability to impose their will on weaker teams is a sight to behold but we're still waiting to see that 1-2-2 press cause some problems against stronger competition. The Wildcats don't need it to win, but we've seen how strong of a weapon it can be.
Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%) - Villanova wins by 5.6%
Offense: Game - 34.1%, Season - 33.2%, Last Year - 32.5%
Let's call it what it was - Josh Hart was a one-man wrecking crew in the win. His 7 offensive rebounds were far and away the best effort of the season for anyone on the team - and his 14 rebounds overall were a career best. Darryl Reynolds also took advantage of a weak Hens frontline to pull down 3 offensive boards of his own. Conspicuously absent - Chef! Given his limited minutes, that's fine. More an oddity than anything.
It's worth noting that Villanova has climbed in to the Top 100 in OR% as well (currently 92nd). Not sure I ever expected to see that this season.
Defense: Game - 28.5%, Year Avg. - 35% , Last Year - 31.2%
Also worth noting, they're 308th in the country in keeping opponents off the glass. That's horrible, to put it mildly. And even though Villanova beat their season average (and the D1 average) comfortably against Delaware, the Hens did grab 12 offensive boards on the night. The disturbing trend doesn't appear to be going away any time soon. Jalen Reynolds and James Farr must be licking their chops.
Free Throw Rate (FTRate) - Delaware wins by 4.7%
Offense: Game - 21.4%, Season - 25.9%, Last Year - 41.8%
While the rebounding concerns me (and I'd certainly like to see more free throws), so long as Villanova continues to create easy looks off dribble penetration I'm not going to throw my hands up. The drop-off in the post-JVP era is stark, as we've harped on countless times. It's a hole, but if Villanova continues to shoot 60+% from inside the arc and your opponents aren't going to foul you, what can you do?
(Take less 3s and more 2s, I know!)
Defense: Game - 26.1%, Year Avg. - 28.7% , Last Year - 30.4%
It's hard to be upset that the Hens prevented the Four Factors clean sweep here given how good Villanova has been all season at not putting opponents on the line. Currently 51st in the country, it will continue to be a strength of the Wildcats all season long.
Looking Ahead - Penn (Nova 98% projected winner)
Offensive projected winners: eFG% - Nova, TO% - Nova, OR% - Nova, FTRate - Penn
Villanova's offense vs. Penn's defense is really the matchup where things get ugly. The Wildcats high-paced offense may run the Quakers out of the gym early, especially if they are shooting well. Penn's offense isn't very good either, but they are passable in two areas (OR% and FTRate) where the Wildcats are lagging. Not enough to scare you, but it could explain a close game early on before everything falls in to place as expected.
Defensive projected winners: eFG% - Nova, TO% - Nova, OR% - Penn, FTRate - Penn
The Quakers are especially horrible at hitting the offensive glass, so maybe we'll see another plus effort from the Wildcats on this side of the ball. To my surprise anyways, Penn isn't all that bad at keeping opponents off the offensive glass. Maybe 'Nova can learn a thing or two! They also get to the charity stripe at a very low rate (but not as low as Villanova!). It would be a major shock if Villanova is the projected leader in that category all season long.