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%) - St. John's wins by 5.6%
Offense: Game - 48.1%, Season - 53.3%, Last Year - 55.3%
Just a woof of a first half, and though I didn't see most of the game I'll take everyone's word for it that the 'Cats were actually taking good shots that just weren't falling. Nights like that happen, but Villanova's ability to adjust and attack the interior has been the difference this season. Daniel Ochefu was the clear star and Mikal Bridges and Ryan Arcidiacono were solid as well.
Defense: Game - 53.7%, Season - 44.6%, Last Year - 45.5%
Again, without seeing a lot of this game it's hard to comment, but St. John's only getting to 63 points while posting a solid eFG% speaks to the quality of the Villanova defense (more on that below). Again, the peanut gallery (love you guys!) suggested some chuck-and-duck success from the Johnnies so this may have just been a run of bad luck for the 'Cats for a night. We've heard that before, so it's great to see them win a game where the ball wasn't bouncing their way.
Turnover Percentage (TO%) - Nova wins by 3.6%
Offense: Game - 22.4%, Season - 17.2%, Last Year - 16.3%
Twice this season now St. John's has rattled the Wildcats in to a uncharacteristic amount of turnovers. Credit to them, because their helter skelter defense was clearly causing 'Nova into some bad decisions. Upon further review, Jalen Brunson's 7 turnovers in 25 minutes is likely one of the worst games he'll ever play in the blue and white.
Defense: Game - 26%, Season - 21.4%, Last Year - 21.6%
Villanova's season metric in this area is approaching last season's, which most of us probably wouldn't have bet on prior to the season. Wright deployed the 1-2-2 press to great effect and it forced the young St. John's offense into a hurried state which resulted in some poor shot selection. Ochefu (3) and Bridges (2) both got multiple steals.
Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%) - Nova wins by 14.8%
Offense: Game - 44.8%, Season - 31.4%, Last Year - 32.5%
One of the benefits of missing a ton of long shots is that you create a ton of long rebounds and second chances. On the whole Villanova was dominant on the boards and really dominant in this area. Josh Hart didn't do much offensively, but his 4 offensive rebounds led the way while Ochefu and Bridges chipped in with 3 apiece.
Defense: Game - 30%, Season - 29.2%, Last Year - 31.2%
St. John's launched a ton of early and wild jumpers and like 'Nova, they took advantage to an extent. This wasn't a big problem for the Wildcats though since the Johnnies inability to get anything to go in at the rim meant they were forced in to a hope and pray strategy from the perimeter.
Free Throw Rate (FTRate) - Nova wins by 35.2%
Offense: Game - 51.9%, Season - 34%, Last Year - 41.8%
That is not a typo. and it's a credit to the coaches and team to adjusting on a night when the shots weren't falling. Jay Wright was asked at halftime if his team would stop shooting. He said no, but that they would need to attack the interior of an over-aggressive Johnnies defense more. Check.
Defense: Game - 16.7%, Season - 30%, Last Year - 30.4%
I saw plenty of tweets suggest Chris Mullin was none too happy with the refereeing and looking at the box it's hard to blame him. However, when your team launches 25 of 54 shots from the perimeter, you are going to suffer in this area. We know this all too well.
Looking Forward - Temple Owls (Villanova 77% projected winner, 67-60)
Offensive Projected Winners: eFG% - Nova, TO% - Temple, OR% - Nova, FTRate - Nova
I won't surmise on the Owls too much because I haven't seen them play a single game this year. They have talent (some of it is very young) and Fran Dunphy usually has a pretty well-coached, if somewhat unspectacular, team. Thus, the biggest thing that stands out is that the Owls don't turn the ball over. With a TO% of 13.9%, they're 3rd in that nation. Against Villanova's defense, that will be a storyline to watch.
Defensive Projected Winners: eFG% - Nova, TO% - Nova, OR% - Nova, FTRate - Nova
Don't read in to that clean sweep too much - Temple is a strong defensive team. They hold opponents below average from the field, and don't put teams on the line much. Their weak points are extremely vulnerable though. They don't force turnovers, which is an area where Villanova can be had (lately) and they don't defend the offensive glass. That last part is interesting too, because the Owls boast plenty of size.