3 games. 3 victories. And although these are severely overmatched opponents, Villanova is doing exactly what they should be doing and ending these games by halftime.
And now things get tougher in Atlantis. Can’t wait!
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) - Nova wins by 30.7%
Offense: Game - 75.4%, Season - 62.2%, Last Year - 57.7%
At one point in the first half (about halfway through if memory serves), Villanova’s eFG% was over 100%. I kid you not. The long-range assault that they unleashed on poor Lafayette was incredible to watch.
I’m not going to jump ship on my shooting concerns just yet (39% as a team so far is good, but not other-worldly like last night felt), but I will give credit where credit is due. The ball movement on this team is absolutely incredible at the moment and it is generating some wide open and in-rhythm shots.
Let’s see how that holds up next week against what could potentially be at least one very good defense.
Defense: Game - 44.7%, Season - 46.2%, Last Year - 48.1%
So far, so good. I’m pleasantly surprised by some individual performances as well. Eric Paschall (H/T to Will) looks much improved with his perimeter D and Phil Booth (knee holding up!) adds another option to check the opponent’s top-tier guys in the backcourt.
Turnover Percentage (TO%) - Villanova wins by 5.4%
Offense: Game - 18.6%, Season - 15.9%, Last Year - 17.0%
It was maybe tough to notice given the 50-point lead, so let’s call a spade a spade. 14 turnovers is not good. BUT, 9 of those came from Omari Spellman (forcing it a little) and Jermaine Samuels (as severe a case of the yips as I can remember).
Defense: Game - 24%, Season - 21.0%, Last Year - 20.1%
Jalen Brunson takes home the KenPom Game MVP on this one with an All-American line of 22 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals - that last one leading the way on a night that yielded the ‘Cats 10 as a team.
I’m not going to pretend like this team is a defensive juggernaut (yet) given the competition, but I’m still buying them as having the talent to develop into one by the time March rolls around.
Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%) - Villanova wins by 10%
Offense: Game - 24%, Season - 32.4%, Last Year - 30.2%
I love it when this stat doesn’t really matter.
Defense: Game - 14%, Season - 15.2%, Last Year - 27.8%
Villanova is now ranked 7th in the country in this stat. Omari Spellman and Eric Paschall are showing to be quite the 1-2 punch here.
Free Throw Rate (FTRate) - Nicholls wins by 1.5%
Offense: Game - 31.5%, Season - 29.9%, Last Year - 41.8%
Long-range bombing takes its toll here, but I’m still not convinced the guards are attacking the rim enough off the bounce. So far it is really just a healthy dose of Spellman/Paschall at the rim.
EVERYONE is finding the open shooter, which is obviously option 1. So not much to complain about (yet).
Defense: Game - 14%, Season - 23.6%, Last Year - 22.1%
Much better last night than against Nicholls. Lafayette didn’t have the ability to really drive off the bounce in the same way that Nicholls did - or the opponents in Atlantis will.
Looking Ahead: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (‘Nova 98% projected winner, 83-63)
Offensive Projections: eFG% - Nova, TO% - Nova, OR% - WKU, FTRate - WKU
The Hilltoppers are good from deep (38%) but awful from the floor (40%). And their split of attempts is decidedly average. What to make of that? I don’t know!
The loss of Mitchell Robinson looms large for them, but despite some height deficiency they are doing a great job of getting to the free throw line.
Defensive Projections: eFG% - Nova, TO% - WKU, OR% - Nova, FTRate - Nova
I’m not going to make these guys out to be better than they are, but they have been okay turning opponents over and keeping them off the line. I don’t think Villanova should have any problem scoring the ball - but they are in that weird Atlantis ballroom. A long-range assault may not be the best strategy given the odd sightlines.