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The Sun’s Arizin: Villanova Basketball’s Next Man Up

No matter who starts this game, Villanova will have to rely on role players to step up against St. John’s.

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Happy Game Day Nova Nation! We’re all on ankle watch today as Gillespie, Moore, and St. John’s Posh Alexander are all considered game time decisions after suffering ankle injuries last week. Moore’s had about a week to recover, while Gillespie and Alexander are each just days removed from their injuries. All eyes will be tuned in to see who’s in the starting lineup tonight when the ball tips in Madison Square Garden at 8:30PM ET on FS1.

But even if Villanova is without their star guards, nothing changes from a mentality standpoint for the Wildcats. Nova has always gone by the philosophy of “Next Man Up”, and tonight I expect that to be fully on display.

We started seeing it in the last game without Justin Moore. Caleb Daniels slid into the starting role while Chris Arcidiacono saw a significant increase in minutes. Without Gillespie and Moore, Arch is Villanova’s next best ball distributor by the numbers. Outside of the two starters, he’s the only other player on the team with a Turnover Rate under 15 (14.8) and an Assist Rate over 12 (13.4). Daniels is much more of a scoring threat, having the team’s second highest turnover rate (17.9) and worst assist rate (7.9). Longino, aside from being a freshman, also has by far the highest Turnover Rate (35.6). Antoine doesn’t turn the ball over, but he also has the team’s second worst assist rate after Daniels (8.8).

Actually, I wouldn’t be shocked if we see the offense in this game run almost exclusively through Dixon and Samuels in the paint. After Arcidiacono, those two actually have the best ball distribution numbers in terms of efficiency. It also helps take away St. John’s defensive strength of pressuring the perimeter.

No matter how they attack in the half court though, the key in this game will be inbounding and handling the full court pressure. It’s not something Nova’s been known for, and certainly not without arguably their two best ball handlers. Throw the numbers out the window, someone who normally comes off the bench is going to have to play a much bigger part tonight for Villanova to secure the victory.


Which Villanova bench player has the biggest impact against St. John’s?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Bryan Antoine
    (125 votes)
  • 9%
    Chris Arcidiacono
    (59 votes)
  • 57%
    Caleb Daniels
    (372 votes)
  • 9%
    Jordan Longino
    (64 votes)
  • 3%
    Someone Else
    (22 votes)
642 votes total Vote Now

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