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Villanova Basketball’s passing is the key to their success

The Wildcats ability to move the ball has made them one of the most efficient offenses in the country.

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Happy Monday Nova Nation! Your Villanova Wildcats are now 8-2 on the season and headed for their biggest challenge yet when #2 Kansas comes to town this weekend. While Kansas is considered the favorite, it’s not by much. Part of that is because Kansas hasn’t fared to well when they visit Philadelphia, but the much larger reason is that Villanova has been one of the best offenses in the country.

The Wildcats are doing a lot of things well on offense right now. They’re one of the best shooting teams in the country both inside the arc (56.2%, 13th) and outside (38.1%, 34th). That combo makes for a Top 10 eFG% of 56.6%. They’re Top 100 in both turn over and offensive rebounding percentages, and while they don’t get to the line that often they’re shooting 76.8% when they do.

But what’s keying a lot of this excellent shooting is ball movement. Villanova assists on 58.4% of their passes, which puts them Top 50 in the country. Dribble penetration and interior passing has created interior spacing, and the Wildcats are assisting on nearly 40% of their shots inside the arc. It’s even more important for creating open threes, as the Wildcats are assisting on over 95% of their made threes.

The main engine in Villanova’s passing game is junior leader Collin Gillespie, who accounts for more than 30% of the teams assists and has more than double the dishes of any other player on the team. But all of the Wildcats are really buying into the passing game, and through ten games there are seven players averaging at least one assist per contest.

And it’s not just that the Wildcats are moving the ball, it’s that they’re passes are becoming more and more efficient. The only two Wildcats seeing significant minutes that have more turnovers than assists are predictably the freshmen Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Justin Moore. Their passing will continue to improve with experience. And of course then there are Cole Swider and Saddiq Bey, the players with the best turnover rates on the team. While they’re usually the ones taking the shots, it’s good to see how they’re both learning when to pass on their own shot to get their teammate an even better one.

While the defense continues to be an area that needs improvement, the Wildcats have clearly been improving their ball movement which in turn should improve turnovers. They’re still a young team, but they’re improving quickly. It’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to take advantage of their opportunity against Kansas, but they’ve certainly shown that they’re capable of pulling the upset.

In other “news”, recapping the victory over Delaware, Matt Szczur signs with the Phillies minor league team, and Seton Hall could be without their top two scorers for a while. Enjoy!

Villanova Men’s Basketball

CBT Podcast: Texas Tech is back, Michigan is not, the college hoops all-decade team | NBC Sports
Jalen Brunson makes the All-Decade Team.

College Basketball Power Rankings - Kansas claims top spot, but for how long? | ESPN
Kansas claims the No. 1 spot in ESPN's updated Power Rankings, but the schedule gets tough heading into Big 12 play. Villanova is close to entering the Power Rankings, especially with their shot at Kansas this weekend.

From Nick Foles Leading Eagles To Super Bowl To Gritty’s Debut, Here Are Most Memorable Philadelphia Sports Moments Of Past Decade | CBS Philly
Here are the most memorable Philadelphia sports moments of the decade.

College Teams Tout Stars. They Need Early Matchups to Brag About, Too. | The New York Times
“I actually like it,” Villanova Coach Jay Wright said. “The games you play against teams that you’re supposed to win — those games stress me out more than any other game on the schedule..”


Duke jumps into pursuit of Trevor Keels after breakout performance | Rivals
Top-35 junior Trevor Keels has his breakout moment as his recruitment has bled into a national affair.

Villanova defeats Delaware

Villanova 78, Delaware 70: Stats, highlights and reaction from the Wildcats’ win | The Inquirer
It wasn't pretty but Villanova's win against Delaware will help them in Big East play.

No. 20 Villanova holds off Delaware | NBC Sports Philadelphia
Saddiq Bey and Villanova did enough to beat Delaware, 78-70, on Saturday.

Hens: 'We were right there' against Villanova | Delaware Online
Delaware's Nate Darling said his team "just couldn't get over the hump" when trying to come back against the #20 Wildcats.

Wildcats Prevail Over Blue Hens |
Villanova held off an upset effort by Delaware this afternoon, extending its win streak to four games after putting the Blue Hens away, 78-70 in the Fourth Annual Never Forget

Samuels, No. 20 Villanova hold off Delaware 78-70 | Sports |
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Playing with a young team, Villanova coach Jay Wright has discovered that even winning can be a learning experience for the No. 20 Wildcats.

Jermaine Samuels, No. 20 Villanova beat Delaware for 4th straight win | The Morning Call
Jermaine Samuels scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half and Villanova won its season-high fourth straight game by getting double-digit performances by five players to hold off Delaware 78-70 on Saturday in the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center.

Wildcats Hold Off Delaware 78-70 at Never Forget Tribute Classic | Villanova University Athletics
Villanova built a first half lead Saturday and then held off Delaware to post a 78-70 win

Delaware vs. Villanova - Game Recap | ESPN
Get a recap of the Delaware Blue Hens vs. Villanova Wildcats basketball game.

Big East

Myles Powell injury update: Seton Hall star sustains 'pretty bad concussion' in blowout loss to Rutgers |
Powell sat out the second half and did not return to the bench and the Pirates fell to the Scarlet Knights 68-48

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim throws shade at Georgetown's James Akinjo after he enters transfer portal |
It's safe to say Akinjo should not bother trying to transfer Syracuse

Galen Alexander, Myron Gardner to transfer from Georgetown | ESPN
Georgetown is down to seven scholarship players with Galen Alexander and Myron Gardner transferring.

Villanova Basketball Alumni

Quinnipiac Basketball Coming To AC For MAAC Gives Back | 97.3 ESPN Radio
Quinnipiac Men's Head Basketball Coach Baker Dunleavy discusses MAAC Gives Back Program as histeam will be visiting AC's Richmond School this Thursday.

NBA Wildcats

NBA trade deadline: 6 trade targets for the Sixers | NBC Sports Philadelphia
We've reached Dec. 15, a significant date in the NBA calendar. Paul Hudrick and Noah Levick look at six players who might be trade targets for the Sixers. Josh Hart tops the list.

College Basketball NBA Alumni Rankings | MikeDropSports
Villanova's NBA alumni make the Top 10.

Phoenix Suns' Bridges, explained by Otis Redding’s Merry Christmas Baby | Valley of the Suns
Mikal Bridges is here to move you and the Phoenix Suns this holiday season with some sweetly subtle music on the basketball court.

Jaylen Hands leads Long Island Nets blowout win over Lakeland Magic, 102-74 | NetsDaily
The Long Island Nets win their second straight game Sunday, blowing out the Lakeland Magic, 102-74. Cremo had 5 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in his debut.

NFL Wildcats

Phillipsburg reveals 11 that will open Athletic Hall of Fame |
Villanova Football's Mickey Frinzi will be among the inductees.

MLB Wildcats

Phillies Sign Outfielder Matt Szczur to Minor-League Deal | That Ball's Outta Here
The Phillies have signed a South Jersey native, Villanova University alumnus, and former teammate of trade target 3B Kris Bryant to a minor-league deal.

Villanova Athletics

Allentown senior Liam Murphy completes cross country season at 41st annual Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships |
SAN DIEGO — Liam Murphy improved in everything he did this fall, just his second season as a cross country runner.

College Basketball

What we might see in the first NET rankings for the 2019-20 season |
The first NET rankings of the 2019-20 season debut on Monday, Dec. 16. Here's a refresher of everything you need to know about the NET rankings and a preview for what to expect on Monday.

London Calling: How Kentucky and Michigan inked a new kind of deal | The Athletic
The Wildcats and Wolverines will meet at London's O2 Arena on Dec. 5, 2020.

USC basketball program receives notice of allegations from NCAA tied to FBI corruption investigation |
Kansas, NC State, Oklahoma State and now USC have received a notice of allegations from the NCAA after the FBI probe.