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The Sun’s Arizin: Silver Linings

It’s mostly bad... but it’s not all bad.

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Villanova Mug Arizin Links

Happy Monday Nova Nation! Villanova fans should be feeling pretty great about their team after a big upset over a higher ranked team on Sunday. Yup, the Women’s basketball team is looking pretty good after taking down #23 Oregon State.

The men’s team... not so much.

Now there are plenty of things from yesterday’s game that no one from Jay to the players to the fan base is going to be happy about. But considering that the comments section and twitter seem to have those handled, I’m going to instead focus on some of the positives we can take away from an otherwise brutal loss.

It’s No Longer 2015

As little as seven years ago, the national media would have been making a big deal about how Villanova just isn’t as good as its competition, or that they can’t play with the better programs in the country after going 0-3 in Top 10 matchups to start the season. But this isn’t 2015, and Jay Wright and the Wildcats have built up a lot of clout since then.

Instead, the talking heads are marveling at how good Baylor must be to have been able to do something like this to Villanova. It’s not that there are no criticisms of the Wildcats, but they’re more about how they may not have the resume of a number one seed rather than that they don’t belong among the elites of the sport.

The Wildcats have street credit, they have respect, and the media has confidence that if someone’s going to be able to put something like Sunday behind them and move on to get better, it’s going to be Villanova.

The Defense Isn’t The Problem

What may get lost in Saturday’s defeat is that Baylor wasn’t the only team that put forth a great defensive effort. Villanova held a Top 10 offense to under 60 points for the first time this season, including season lows in FG% and Assists. Baylor shot under 40% from the field and just 25% from deep, along with coughing the ball up 11 times.

The Wildcats have now gone five consecutive games without allowing an opponent to reach the 60 point mark. That’s also six in the last seven games, and seven times through ten games this season. It’s been a while since Jay Wright has had a team that gelled so well on defense so early in a season. The last time the Wildcats even held six of their first ten opponents under 60 was the 2016 season, and that team ended the season as one of Jay Wright’s three best defenses ever. I’m not saying this defense is on that level yet, but it’s a good sign for sure.

The Computer Numbers Like Villanova

Following Sunday’s performance, Baylor is the only team that’s Top 5 in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency. However, the Wildcats are no slouches either. Despite a truly offensive offensive performance, they still rank #6 in offensive efficiency. And the defensive we just spoke highly of jumped up to #21 after being ranked #33 in defensive efficiency following the Syracuse game.

That puts Nova in the “Magic Range” for KenPom.com rankings: Top 25 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. With the lone exception of 2014 UConn, every National Champion for the last 20 seasons has finished the season in that range. There’s still plenty of season to go, but Villanova has put themselves in the right position heading into the start of conference play.

Yes, the team that played on Sunday had some glaring flaws, and there’s plenty to be worked on for the rest of the season. But don’t be fooled by a historically bad game, this team still has a lot going well for it and now they have the time and opportunity to improve.

In other news, Villanova Women’s Basketball nabs a huge upset, Villanova Football was unable to advance in the playoffs, and the Big Ragu is poised for his return with the Bucks. Enjoy!

Baylor defeats Villanova

No. 2 Baylor Stymies Wildcats 57-36 | Villanova University
Villanova struggled to produce points in a loss at Baylor Sunday afternoon.

Baylor vs. Villanova score, takeaways: No. 2 Bears dominate Wildcats, set to take over top spot in polls | CBSSports.com
The Bears are ready to take over the No. 1 spot in the major polls after easily handling the No. 6 Wildcats

Baylor had too much size and athleticism for Villanova | The Inquirer
The 36 points scored by the Wildcats were the fewest of Jay Wright's tenure and tied for the fewest in the shot-clock era which began in the 1985-86 season. The Cats shot just 22.2%

Wildcats Set New Low In 57-36 Baylor Loss | villanovan.com
With 11:38 remaining in the second half, Villanova senior guard Collin Gillespie slammed the ball to the court. The Wildcats, down 13 to the reigning national champion Baylor Bears, had

No. 1 worthy, no doubt: Baylor’s defense suffocates Villanova in Waco | Dallas Morning News
WACO — Little suspense remained in this tussle between the Nos. 2 and 6 teams in the country when, with 9:05 left, Baylor’s 6-10 forward Flo Thamba...

Big East

Seton Hall’s toughness against Texas matches that of its coach. Can the Pirates keep Kevin Willard? | The Athletic
Kevin Willard, who led the Pirates to its second win over a top 10 opponent Thursday night, has built a hard-scrabble program in his image.

NBA Wildcats

Bucks' Donte DiVincenzo to make season debut vs. Pacers on Wednesday: Sources | The Athletic
DiVincenzo has been practicing with the Bucks' NBA G League affiliate Wisconsin Herd in preparation for his comeback.

Miami Heat: Kyle Lowry's Scoring Important For His Playmaking | All U Can Heat
The Miami Heat got a really good win on Saturday night over Chicago. It came on the back of Kyle Lowry's playmaking ability.

Check Out The Photo Mikal Bridges Tweeted Of Devin Booker | Fastbreak on FanNation
Mika Bridges sent out a tweet with a photo of Devin Booker after the Phoenix Suns defeated the Boston Celtics.

Start Or Bench: How Will Donte DiVincenzo Fit In With Milwaukee Bucks? | Forbes
Donte DiVincenzo will play a major role for the Milwaukee Bucks upon his return from injury. But will it be as a starter or off the bench?

What to expect upon Donte DiVincenzo's return to Milwaukee Bucks lineup | Behind the Buck Pass
Donte DiVincenzo will make his return to the Milwaukee Bucks lineup in a few days. There will be a lot of expected of him right away and going forward

Dallas Mavericks Jalen Brunson Luka Doncic Oklahoma City Thunder - TSN
Jalen Brunson had 18 points and nine rebounds while starting in place of injured star Luka Doncic, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 103-84 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night.

Villanova Women’s Basketball

VILLANOVA UPSETS NO. 23 OREGON STATE | Villanova University
VILLANOVA, PA. – The Villanova women's basketball team tallied a thrilling 56-52 home win over the No. 23 ranked Oregon State Beavers on Sunday afternoon at the

Little Things Add Up to a Big Win for Villanova Women’s Basketball | Philly College Sports
The Wildcats pulled off a big win against a big team from a big conference, and did so by doing those little things in a basketball game. Especially in the last few minutes as Villanova held off a late Oregon State rally to win 56 – 52 at the Finneran Pavilion.

Oregon State WBB: Beavers Fall To Villanova 56-52 | Building The Dam
A fourth quarter comeback falls just short on the road for Oregon State

Villanova Football

Villanova's Season Ends With 35-21 Quarterfinal Loss to SDSU | villanovan.com
Down two scores with two and a half minutes left and their season on the line, Villanova turned to their miracle man for an answer, sixth year running back Justin

South Dakota State beats Villanova, advances to FCS semis | AP News
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Isaiah Davis ran for three touchdowns, Chris Oladokun and Jaxon Janke combined for two scores and South Dakota State used a big second half to defeat fifth-seeded Villanova 35-21 on Saturday in the FCS quarterfinals.

Postseason Run Ends as Wildcats Fall to South Dakota State, 35-21 | Villanova University
VILLANOVA, Pa.—In the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs visiting South Dakota State (11-3) scored 21 unanswered points in the second half and advanced in the

Villanova Athletics

Villanova Softball Announces 2022 Schedule | Villanova University
VILLANOVA, Pa.—For the first time in its 46-year varsity history, the Villanova softball team will begin a season as the defending BIG EAST champions. Coming off

MacKinnon, Ricca Earn Postseason Honors | Villanova University
MacKinnon, Ricca earned separate honors this week