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Villanova Basketball Game Preview: Ohio Bobcats

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The Wildcats look to bounce back from a rough loss when they return to Philly for their first Wells Fargo game of the season.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Ohio v Michigan Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Villanova Wildcats aren’t quite done with the Buckeye state. Nova will host the Ohio Bobcats tomorrow in their first of seven games at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly this season. Tip-off is scheduled for Noon ET, so we have just enough time to break down this matchup.

The Undefeated ‘Cats

Kenpom.com may have Villanova as 19 point favorites, but it’s the Bobcats that come into this game undefeated. They’ve rattled off three consecutive wins, the latest coming on the road against perennial NCAA Tournament team Iona. So not only has Ohio built up some serious confidence heading into Saturday, their coach brings some swagger as well.

Villanova is one of the biggest names on Ohio’s schedule this season, so expect them to treat this like their Super Bowl. The Wildcats better be ready to come out throwing punches, because the Bobcats should be VERY amped-up for this one.

Three and D

Despite their low offensive efficiency numbers (mainly due to averaging over 14 turnovers per game), it’s the Bobcats shooting efficiency that’s been winning them games. Ohio has an eFG% of 61.7% (7th best in the country) and a 3P% of 44.7% (16th best in the country). They have a very Villanova style offense of slowing things down, working for the best shot, and launching over 45% of their shots from deep. Villanova will have to be on point with their perimeter defense in order to slow down their hot shooting opponents.

On the other side of the ball, Ohio makes its mark by pressuring their opponents and forcing turnovers at a rate of 16 per game. That pressure also keeps their opponents from shooting well beyond the arc, but leaves them vulnerable in the paint where Villanova should hold a massive advantage in both height and athleticism. Villanova will have to hold onto the ball and feed the paint if they’re going to be successful on Saturday.

Myrtle Beach Primer

This is technically an unbracketed game in the Myrtle Beach Invitational. Both teams will head down to South Carolina next week where they’ll be on opposite sides of the bracket. This game will have no effect on the rest of the tournament, but it does give Villanova the full 31 game regular season schedule. No matter what happens this weekend, it’s entirely possible that these two teams could play again a week later to conclude the early season tournament.

After a tough loss to Ohio State, there’s little chance that the Wildcats are overlooking this game. However, that also doesn’t by any means guarantee a win. Villanova will have to come out and execute their offense, something they couldn’t do on Wednesday. The Wildcats should win this one, but after losses to USC and Ohio State already this season no opponent can be taken lightly.