Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) - Villanova wins by 2.6%
Offense: Game - 42.2%, Season - 53.1%, Last Year - 55.3%
To put it bluntly, that was ugly. If memory serves, Villanova went in to the locker room at the half having shot 15% from the field in the first half. 15%! And this wasn't chuck and duck either. They missed the long ball, but they also missed everything else, short jumpers, bunnies and layups included. They deployed their press in the second half and sped St. John's up to get some easy finishes and save face. Let's move on.
Defense: Game - 39.6%, Season - 44.1%, Last Year - 45.5%
For as poor as Villanova was shooting, St. John's was even worse. Their fanbase groaned every time a player pulled up to shoot a jump shot instead of going at the rim, where the Wildcats were missing their usual last line of defense in Daniel Ochefu. Villanova's defense was actually pretty solid in this game and some of this poor shooting should be attributed to them, but the Red Storm are just a bad, bad team.
Turnover Percentage (TO%) - Villaova wins by 1%
Offense: Game - 25.6%, Season - 16.8%, Last Year - 16.3%
Not entirely positive, but I'm almost certain this was the worst game the Wildcats have played all year in terms of ball management. 20 turnovers against St. John's is worrisome. Sure, they pressed to decent effect but Jay Wright needs to go back to the drawing board on how to beat that. Better teams will look at this and see a weakness. Given the amount of capable ball handlers on the floor, it's downright puzzling.
Defense: Game - 26.6%, Season - 21.2%, Last Year - 21.6%
Again, the Villanova defense bailed out the inept offense. Once the 1-2-2 press was deployed in the second half, it was all over. St. John's is relatively careless with the ball to begin with, and Wright can partially be excused for trying to manage a thin bench and not run his guys in to the ground, but sometimes you just need to see a weakness and go for the throat. That was Sunday's second half.
Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%) - Villanova wins by 17.2%
Offense: Game - 35.1%, Season - 30.7%, Last Year - 32.5%
If there is one area that Villanova has markedly improved over the course of the season, it's rebounding. It was God-awful to begin the year and exposed in painful ways - which they're still prone to - but it must be said that they're trending in the right direction, both in getting second-chance points and limiting them on defense. Both teams didn't have their preferred center, but Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins and Darryl Reynolds all grabbed at least 3 offensive boards. Nothing to stick your nose up at there.
Defense: Game - 17.9%, Season - 30.5%, Last Year - 31.2%
Again, fantastic job. St. John's is bad. I can't say it enough. But the aforementioned trio utterly dominated them on the glass, falling just a few caroms short of matching the Red Storm's total for the game. It bodes well for Villanova in March if Darryl Reynolds continues this trend. He is what he is - much like Will Sheridan was (and he's a poor man's Bump on his best day right now) - but good teams have those guys that can come in, know their role, and execute it. Darryl is trending that way.
Free Throw Rate (FTRate) - Villanova wins by 22.4%
Offense: Game - 43.1%, Season - 33.8%, Last Year - 41.8%
This is one area of the game that didn't stick out to me live - other than the whistle-happy stripes - but on review Villanova did an excellent job of getting to the line. 25 FTA is akin to last year's team and it's necessary to have that in the bag when you're having a crap night shooting the ball. Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges led the way and those are two guys that should probably be getting to the line 5-6 times a game at a minimum.
Defense: Game - 20.7%, Season - 30.6%, Last Year - 30.4%
One last time - St. John's is bad! I mentioned it earlier, but it was pretty shocking to see the Red Storm guards and wings pull up for jumpers on the fast break. With Ochefu out, the Wildcats could have been exposed and St. John's let them off the hook. Mullin can't be happy. But in fairness to Villanova, they really just don't put teams on the line a ton. So it's not shocking to see only 12 trips for the Johnnies.
Looking Forward - Creighton Bluejays (Villanova 87% projected winner, 77-65)
Offensive Projected Winners: eFG% - Creighton, TO% - Creighton, OR% - Nova, FTRate - Creighton
Since the reformation of the Big East, you could reasonably argue that Creighton has had the best offense in the conference. The 'Let It Fly' factor has some weight there, but they run a similar system to Villanova that's predicated on guards that can penetrate and make good decisions. And get as many shooters on the floor as possible, even the big guys. It wasn't easy in Omaha, and it won't be easy at the Pavilion without Daniel Ochefu. Don't go in to panic mode, but Wednesday doesn't look like a cakewalk and the Bluejays are desperate for a marquee win to keep their NCAA hopes alive.
Defensive Projected Winners: eFG% - Nova, TO% - Nova, OR% - Creighton, FTRate - Nova
And for as good as the Bluejays are on offense, they're pretty putrid on defense. Villanova won a shootout-type of game in Omaha and they might need to do it again tomorrow. Creighton doesn't defend the 3-point line well and they don't force turnovers - those are the two weakest areas for Villanova as of late. Something's gotta give!