Villanova went in to Allstate Arena and poured it on the Blue Demons, winning 86-59 in a game that was a laugher shortly after halftime. Josh Hart scored his 1,000th point in a Wildcats uniform and pretty much everybody did their job. The result was a predictable blowout victory.
Any concerns of Villanova having their heads turned by the #1 ranking can clearly be squashed. These guys are on a mission, and with Xavier's loss to Creighton, now hold a commanding 2-game lead in the Big East as they seek their third straight conference title.
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) - Villanova wins by 8.1%
Offense: Game - 56%, Season - 53.5%, Last Year - 55.3%
A solid yet unspectacular performance by the offense. The 2P% was excellent, and the 3P% was solid. I commented during the game that I was having a hard time getting invested in it. A lot of that had to do with DePaul, so I'm probably discrediting 'Nova to a certain extent. Josh Hart (6-11, 3-6) Kris Jenkins (4-9, 3-6), Daniel Ochefu (4-6) and Darryl Reynolds (5-6) were the catalysts and made it so that I didn't really notice that Ryan Arcidiacono (1-5) didn't do much scoring. Jalen Brunson (4-8, 1-4) was solid as well.
Defense: Game - 47.9%, Season - 44.3%, Last Year - 45.5%
I'm sort of stunned to see DePaul with an eFG% as high as that. Villanova's defense as very good (more on that in the TO% section below), but give some credit to DePaul. They made some tough shots from the perimeter. Villanova never really let them get anything inside and they did a particularly excellent job on Billy Garrett Jr. (2-6, 1-1)and Myke Henry (3-12, 1-4). Having watched DePaul, they're better than I thought. Just nowhere close to where they should be given some of the talent they have.
Turnover Percentage (TO%) - Nova wins by 14.5%
Offense: Game - 13.4%, Season - 16.9%, Last Year - 16.3%
Let's keep it short and sweet. Single-digit turnovers is always a tip of the cap. The only sore spot was a 3-spot from Kris Jenkins - at least one of those was forced trying to start a fast break - and given Arch's shooting struggles, his 2 turnovers may have been a product of forcing an impact. All good though!
Defense: Game - 27.9%, Season - 21.1%, Last Year - 21.6%
I thought this was the story of the game, at least on the defensive end. Villanova broke out the 1-2-2 press quite often and though they barely trapped (and thus didn'tt force a lot of turnovers directly from it) they burned clock and forced DePaul to rush their offense. The Blue Demons were sloppy and the 'Cats were happy to take advantage. It was a great gameplan by Wright, and great execution from the players.
Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%) - Nova wins by 9%
Offense: Game - 36.6%, Season - 31%, Last Year - 32.5%
Daniel Ochefu (4) and Darryl Reynolds (2 - both of which were dunks that were jump-off-the-couch worthy for me) pulled down over half of the 'Cats total. It's a good trend for the team to have this kind of success and it's definitely a help that Reynolds continues to impress. Here were are halfway through the Big East season and both offensive and defensive rebounding are not the embarrassment (statistically speaking) that they were earlier in the year.
Defense: Game - 27.6%, Season - 19.3%, Last Year - 31.2%
Once again we saw a very conscious effort to hit the boards by just about everyone. Reynolds, Jenkins and Arch in particular did a great job. No stats other than the eye to back this up, but it also felt like the 'Cats were looking to push the pace a bit off of rebounds as well. To be fair, it was mostly in the first half and didn't result in a lot of success so Wright calmed it down. But interesting to see nonetheless.
Free Throw Rate (FTRate) - Nova wins by 8.5%
Offense: Game - 43.1%, Season - 33.3%, Last Year - 41.8%
DePaul is not a good defensive team. They foul a lot. They are 303rd in the country in FTRate. So don't be surprised at the Wildcats getting 25 attempts at the line. It was in the scouting report to attack relentlessly and every single player other than Mikal Bridges and the #BenchMob got the charity stripe at least once. Given the slower pace this season and their high FT%, this is an area of success that hopefully continues.
Defense: Game - 34.6%, Season - 30.5%, Last Year - 30.4%
Another area that I'm a bit shocked to see Villanova let up on given how well they played on defense. But I remember looking at the halftime box score and seeing DePaul with 9 FT attempts and being disgusted. Some sloppy D early on let the Blue Demons back in to the game and a similar sloppy stretch late on gave them some more attempts. A blip more than anything to be concerned about in the long run.
Looking Forward - St. John's Red Storm (Villanova 99% projected winner, 82-56)
Offensive Projected Winners: eFG% - Nova, TO% - Nova, OR% - Nova, FTRate - St. John's
Villanova is not only better offensively in every category other than FTRate (an area which the 'Cats are rapidly improving) but they are worlds better in the two areas you might consider most important (eFG% and TO%). The Johnnies are young and inexperienced and despite a rough first half in their last meeting, the 'Cats should have no problem scoring in bunches.
Defensive Projected Winners: eFG% - Nova, TO% - Nova, OR% - Nova, FTRate - Nova
A clean sweep for 'Nova, although it should be noted that the Johnnies are actually pretty swell at turning their opponents over. Chris Mullin has broken out the full court press recently to some sustained success, and with Yankuba Sima back on the court they've got the rim protector they were sorely missing against the 'Cats last time.