Villanova ended up dismantling Marquette 83-68 on Wednesday night after a late first-half scare that saw the Golden Eagles climb back in to the game. Upon further review, it truly was a blip on the radar and down to some extremely hot shooting for the Golden Eagles.
In each of KenPom's Four Factors, Villanova won three of the four categories and just barely lost eFG% - a mark in which they performed well. It's not hard to see why the Wildcats were able to cruise to victory.
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) - Marquette wins by 0.1%
Offense: Game - 51.8%, Season - 54.3%, Last Year - 55.3%
Other than the last 10 minutes of the first half for Villanova, this was actually a very solid offensive showing. What's strange is that they shot the ball well from distance (38%) but were struggling to convert inside the arc (48%) at their normal clip. Daniel Ochefu was the chief culprit, finishing 2-8 from the floor and taking some ugly hacks at the rim from close range before an injury limited his impact late. Josh Hart (4-12, 0-5) wasn't great either. Pretty much everybody else had a really nice outing and it was good to see the offense as a whole bounce back from a putrid outing at Butler.
Defense: Game - 51.9%, Season - 43.9%, Last Year - 45.5%
While the game ended up being played right at Villanova's preferred pace, Marquette has a reasonably decent offense and so it's not a surprise to see them turn in a decent night shooting the ball. Luke Fischer, Henry Ellenson, Sandy Cohen and Traci Carter all turned in very good games that were able to offset a very out of control Haanif Cheatham. The Golden Eagles are young and talented, and this was as a good a blueprint as Villanova will find on their struggles. Big guys who attack the glass relentlessly (who coincidentally are great on the pick and roll). In the second half Villanova was able to adjust and force them in to longer jumpshots to put a stranglehold on the game.
Turnover Percentage (TO%) - Villanova wins by 5.8%
Offense: Game - 15.1%, Season - 15.7%, Last Year - 16.3%
Wouldn't you know it, Villanova CAN protect the ball! After a multi-game stretch of careless play, the 'Cats committed just 10 turnovers against Marquette and they were verrrrrrrry spread out. Ryan Arcidiacono and Jalen Brunson both had a pair, while every other player recorded just one. Very nice squad, keep it up.
Defense: Game - 20.9%, Season - 21.3%, Last Year - 21.6%
Prior the game we knew Marquette was ripe for the picking in this area. Marquette has turned it over about 20% of the time on the year, and the 'Cats took full advantage. Villanova was able to force young guards Carter and Cheatham into three turnovers a piece and exactly the guy you thought was at the center of it -- Arch! Mikal Bridges surprisinglydidn't record a steal or a block (in frankly, limited playing time in a game that was begging for his presence for 30+ minutes).
Offensive Rebound (OR%) - Villanova wins by 5.4%
Offense: Game - 22.5%, Season - 30.9%, Last Year - 32.5%
Not great, Bob. Chef was a beast on the boards in this one, pulling down 6 offensive caroms out of 13 total but he didn't get much help. To the naked eye, there appeared to be a very strong effort from guys like Hart, Bridges and Phil Booth to attack misses, which led to several runouts for Marquette. This isn't as concerning as the defense's ability to protect the glass, so we'll just say good Chef, keep it up.
Defense: Game - 17.1%, Season - 31.2%, Last Year - 31.2%
I'm hesitant to jump for joy over this metric because Fischer and Ellenson seemed to get a lot of what they wanted inside so there's work to be done managing a huge frontline like that. But kudos to Villanova who did a great job of keeping those two off the offensive boards when the guards were throwing up bricks for most of the game. Fischer got blanked, and Ellenson had just two of the six that the Golden Eagles were able to pull in. It's a massive step in the right direction and proof that when they're focused and boxing out, they can win the rebounding battle against a big frontcourt (Villanova outrebounded Marquette 32-31).
Free Throw Rate (FTRate) - Villanova wins by 23.5%
Offense: Game - 53.6%, Season - 31.9%, Last Year - 41.8%
Wooooo baby! That's what I'm talking about! The Wildcats clearly had a gameplan to do this, as it was readily apparent they were willing to attack the interior whether off the dribble or off a perimeter pump fake. It was a no-fear gameplan and turned the Golden Eagles aggressiveness and immaturity against them. Shout out to Darryl Reynolds for going 4-4 as well! Ironically, the one guy who probably should have had a field day here (Chef) didn't get to the line at all.
Defense: Game - 32.1%, Season - 31.6%, Last Year - 30.4%
Even though they weren't up to snuff as far as their season average, Villanova did adjust as the game went on to avoid needless fouls inside. Cheatham was playing with a reckless abandon and found a lot of success early getting Villanova to foul him. As the second half unfolded though, Villanova merely stood its ground and let the freshmen force some ill-advised shots. This continues to be a very strong area for the 'Cats.
Looking Ahead - Georgetown Hoyas (Villanova 78% projected winner, 72-65)
Offensive Projected Winners: eFG% - Nova, TO% - Nova, OR% - Nova, FTRate - Hoyas
Georgetown is actually among the nation's best in getting to the charity stripe and they've got the personnel and offensive system to make full use of the free shots. It's not that they're terribly bigger than Villanova across the board, but JT3's offense is predicated on off-ball movement to the goal and Villanova will need to be wary of foul trouble as they deal with a shortened bench and possibly limited Chef.
Defensive Projected Winners: eFG% - Nova, TO% - Nova, OR% - Hoyas, FTRate - Nova
On the defensive side of the ball, the Hoyas are Top 125in eFG% which is definitely a big plus, but if Villanova's offense doesn't resort in to chuck and duck mode, they should be able to find success on Saturday given Georgetown's struggles to defend the perimeter this season. On another important note - the 'Cats should continue to attack the glass hard. Georgetown is 322nd in the country in FTRate which is downright inexcusable. Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins could be in for big days in their return to D.C.