41 points. That’s the margin of victory from the latest rendition of The Holy War. It’s the biggest win in the history of the series, and Villanova also set the school record for three-pointers in a game in the process.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a huge Big 5 guy, and this ‘rivalry’ with St. Joe’s (PA) is painfully mismatched at this point, but goodness even I couldn’t help but smile, laugh, and yell at the carnage.
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) - Nova wins by 28.6%
Offense: Game - 65.3%, Season - 59.1%, Last Year - 57.7%
Hard to say the team was three-happy when they hit a school-record 19 or them and shot 54% from downtown. Maybe I was wrong about the shooting. It’s still early and the competition hasn’t been that great, but the ball movement continues to be insane. 24 assists on 33 field goals!
Shouts to Omari Spellman for canning 4-5 as well. That should do worlds for his confidence on the offensive end (which in fairness, never seemed to be in doubt).
Defense: Game - 36.7%, Season - 46.2%, Last Year - 46.1%
Man, when this defense locks in. The Hawks were playing shorthanded so maybe that late first half/early second half beatdown was always going to happen. It just got mean at a certain point.
Turnover Percentage (TO%) - Villanova loses by 0.9%
Offense: Game - 14.4%, Season - 16%, Last Year - 17.0%
Another really well played game, and this time in a hostile environment (at least for the early parts). It got rather sloppy at the end which can be excused in a blowout. I still have some concerns with Eric Paschall’s offensive footwork. He’s too good to continue to travel this often.
Defense: Game - 13.5%, Season - 20.8%, Last Year - 20.1%
The Hawks can feel good about having one less TO than ‘Nova, not that it mattered. I was a little surprised that Villanova didn’t force more, but St. Joe’s was jacking a lot of quick shots. Those count as turnovers, right?
Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%) - Villanova wins by 13%
Offense: Game - 31.8%, Season - 30.8%, Last Year - 30.2%
And it wasn’t even O-Boogie doing the damage! The Big Ragu led the way with 4 caroms.
Defense: Game - 18.8%, Season - 22.3%, Last Year - 27.8%
Given the amount of hero ball going on for the Hawks, this isn’t all that impressive of a stat for me. They didn’t send a lot of guys to the glass, but the team - particularly Spellman, Mikal Bridges and Phil Booth - did a fantastic job of tracking down long rebounds.
Free Throw Rate (FTRate) - Nicholls wins by 1.5%
Offense: Game - 18.4%, Season - 30.4%, Last Year - 41.8%
Death by long ball is fun, but I have a feeling we will see a more attack-minded team at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday given Gonzaga’s defense.
Defense: Game - 12.5%, Season - 18.3%, Last Year - 22.1%
Your weekly round of applause for one of the most well-coached defensive teams when it comes to not fouling. It’s incredible that barely anybody goes to the line against Jay Wright and his stallions.
Looking Ahead: Gonzaga Bulldogs (‘Nova 66% projected winner, 76-71)
Offensive Projections: eFG% - Zags, TO% - Nova, OR% - Zags, FTRate - Zags
Villanova’s about to get their first big boy test of the season. Jay Wright and Mark Few coach very similar teams. They’re both talented, well-coached, and efficient on offense.
The biggest difference is that the Zags are quite big. Killian Tillie, Johnathan Williams and Rui Hachimura should provide quite a test for the ‘Nova frontline. I think I give the ‘Cats the advantage in the backcourt and on the wings, however.
Defensive Projections: eFG% - Nova, TO% - Nova, OR% - Nova, FTRate - Nova
And this is where the big advantage should be. Gonzaga is a very good defensive team in their own right, but Villanova’s ability to generate turnovers and keep opponents off the free throw line is markedly better. I know I’m a broken record with the get out and run stuff, but Gonzaga’s size can really be negated with this strategy.