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The Sun’s Arizin: Villanova Basketball Achieves Balance

Villanova’s offense is peaking at just the right time.

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Villanova Mug Arizin Links

Happy Monday Nova Natiion! After a much needed week of rest and relaxation (and a whole ton of college basketball), the Arizin is back to celebrate your Villanova Wildcats advancing to the Sweet 16! And on top of that, the women’s team is playing tonight at Michigan to do the same! Be sure to tune in!

But in the meantime, let’s turn our attention back to the men’s squad and talk a little bit about their offense. The Wildcats have run the gambit this post-season offensively. They’ve had some muck it up and grind it out games, and they’ve had some games where it just seemed like every shot was going in. But more important than that, this team has shown something in the post-season that they’ve been striving for all year: balance.

Would it shock you to find out that no Villanova player has scored in double figures in each of their last five games? That’s the Big East Tournament and the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Would you be just as surprised to learn that all six “starters” have had at least one game in those five with double digit scoring, and that five of them have had at least two? It’s the reason why Villanova can make a deep run in this tournament. You get to pick who you want to try to stop, and Villanova is fine with that. Because all you’re really doing by shutting down a guy or two is deciding which of the other four or five will have the opportunity to beat you.

The perfect example of this came just yesterday, late against Ohio State. The Buckeyes had mounted a huge run to close the gap with the Wildcats, but Villanova stayed poised on defense and ran their offense. Ohio State decided they weren’t going to let Collin Gillespie penetrate and back his man down to the paint. They overloaded his side of the court, determined not to let the All-American be the one to send them home. That was fine, because it left Eric Dixon wide open.

Villanova will need to maintain this balance as they continue their push for another Final Four. But honestly, I’m not all that worried. In the past few days we’ve seen this team look as good as they have all season. There’s still room to grow, but Jay Wright has his team focused and locked in on beating their next opponent. It’s beautiful.

In other news...

Villanova defeats Ohio State

Toohey: Big-body Dixon’s perimeter game giving Villanova a big boost | timesherald.com
Eric Dixon didn’t hesitate. As soon as he caught the pass from Collin Gillespie with time winding down and Villanova clinging to a five-point lead, the 6-foot-8, 255-pound redshirt sophomore cocked his left arm and let fly.

Photos of Villanova's victory over Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament | The Inquirer
Villanova defeated Ohio State in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament on March 20, 2022 at PPG Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. They advance in the the Sweet Sixteen.

Villanova Advances at the Dance! Wildcats Back at Sweet 16 | NBC10 Philadelphia
Villanova University is back in the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row. NBC10 reporter Steven Fisher was in Delaware County where nervous fans watched the...

Chris Holtmann, E.J. Liddell And Malaki Branham Discuss Ohio State’s 71-61 Loss To Villanova | Yardbarker
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann, junior forward E.J. Liddell and freshman guard Malaki Branham met with the media on Sunday evening following the Buckeyes’ 71-61 loss to Villanova in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Villanova coach Jay Wright recaps win over Ohio State, previews Michigan matchup | CBS Sports HQ - The Global Herald
CBS Sports HQ published this video item, entitled "Villanova coach Jay Wright recaps win over Ohio State, previews Michigan matchup | CBS Sports HQ" - below

Villanova beats Ohio State in March Madness to make Sweet 16 | New York Post
Collin Gillespie scored 20 points, Eric Dixon hit a big 3-pointer late and second-seeded Villanova fended off seventh-seeded Ohio State.

Villanova Takes Down Battling Ohio State Squad, Advances to Sweet 16 - Pittsburgh Sports Now
On Sunday, second-seeded Villanova led wire to wire, fighting off a ferocious comeback effort from Ohio State to advance to come out with the win and advance to the Sweet 16.

Collin Gillispie leads Villanova over Ohio State in second round game | Courier Times
Villanova led wire to wire over the Big 10 team, and will now face Michigan in the Sweet 16 on Thursday. Gillespie had 20 points and four assists.

NCAA Tournament Notebook: Villanova’s Jermaine Samuels saves best for last in win over Ohio State Buckeyes – timesherald
Jermaine Samuels wasn’t involved in every play down the stretch Sunday for Villanova, it just seemed that way.

Villanova Advances To Sweet 16 With 71-61 Over Ohio State | Sports Illustrated
The Buckeyes fail to make it out of the opening weekend for the fourth time under Chris Holtmann.

Buckeyes Fall to No. 2 Seed Villanova 71-61 | Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State Buckeyes

Wildcats Overcome Ohio State, Advance to Sweet 16 | Villanova University
Villanova knocked off No. 7 seed Ohio State Sunday

Villanova Men’s Basketball

March Madness: Kris Jenkins Went From 'Last Option' to Villanova Legend | Sportscasting
Kris Jenkins was Villanova's hero in the 2016 national championship. Here's what he thinks about his iconic March Madness moment now.

Sanford star had rough freshman year at Villanova, but still believes | Delaware News Journal
Nnanna Njoku is where he belongs, he said, even if that has not meant stepping onto the basketball court in many games this season for Villanova. Coach Jay Wright: “He’s going to be a very good player for us."

Ron Cook: Villanova's Jay Wright just might be the new best coach in college basketball | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The King is Dead. Long Live the King!

Villanova vs. Michigan Odds, Opening Spread, Predictions for March Madness Sweet 16 | Action Network
With the Sweet 16 taking shape, find opening March Madness odds for the next round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament here.

Villanova Women’s Basketball

No. 11 Villanova Takes on No. 3 Michigan in Second Round of the NCAA Tournament | Villanova University
Villanova is set to take on the Michigan Wolverines on Monday, March 21, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The 11 seeded Wildcats enter play with a 24-8

VILLANOVA EDGES BYU IN FIRST ROUND OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT | Villanova University
ANN ARBOR, MICH. -- In a first round NCAA Tournament game on Saturday afternoon, the 11-seeded Villanova Wildcats upset the six-seed BYU Cougars by a score of 61-57.

NBA Wildcats

Devin Booker on Mikal Bridges: "He's Defensive Player of the Year, no doubt" | TalkBasket.net
Mikal Bridges played team-high 50 minutes as the Suns earned a tough win against the Kings in overtime (127-124).

Suns news: The reason Mikal Bridges must be DPOY, per Monty Williams | Clutch Points
Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges was once again terrific on both ends of the floor on Sunday as they escaped the Sacramento Kings.

"We Were Just Two Kids From Westchester": Mitchell And Paschall Return Home With Bigger Goals In Mind | Utah Jazz
In a homecoming of sorts, Donovan Mitchell's mind won't exactly be on the celebrations and hoards of family packing Madison Square Garden on Sunday night. Instead, Utah's three-time all-star will be much more focused on the immediate task at hand, keeping the Jazz in the No. 4 spot — and expanding that advantage — when Utah begins its six-game road trip with a marquee showdown

Video: Mike Sielski chats with Ryan Arcidiacono about Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright | Philadelphia Inquirer
Inquirer sports columnist Mike Sielski interviewed former Villanova men's basketball player Ryan Arcidiacono about coach Jay Wright's temperament.

College Basketball

Sean Miller returning to Xavier | NBC Sports
BIG EAST News: Former Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller returned to Xavier, less than a year after the Wildcats fired him amid an ongoing NCAA investigation.

March Madness: First weekend upsets lead to diverse, unpredictable Sweet 16 | Sports Illustrated
A plethora of upsets in the first weekend displayed that there is not much separation of the best from the rest.

Villanova Athletics

Shaw’s overtime game-winner downs Iona | Villanova University
LEXINGTON, Va. – As time was winding down in the final period of the first overtime, goalie Sarah Shaw netted a look from mid-pool into the upper left 90 to give

Wildcats Fall to Delaware, 3-1, in Second Game of Sunday Doubleheader | Villanova University
VILLANOVA, Pa.—A one-run lead after the first inning was nearly enough for Villanova (10-16) in the second game of a doubleheader before visiting Delaware (16-8)

Klopfer and Kornieva Spark Wildcats in 5-2 Win Over Drexel | Villanova University
PHILADELPHIA, Pa.—Villanova (1-5) tallied its first dual-match victory of the season with a 5-2 win over Drexel (2-9) at the Vidas Courts on Sunday morning. A strong

Devin Booker on Mikal Bridges: "He's Defensive Player of the Year, no doubt" | TalkBasket.net
Mikal Bridges played team-high 50 minutes as the Suns earned a tough win against the Kings in overtime (127-124).

Suns news: The reason Mikal Bridges must be DPOY, per Monty Williams | Clutch Points
Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges was once again terrific on both ends of the floor on Sunday as they escaped the Sacramento Kings.

"We Were Just Two Kids From Westchester": Mitchell And Paschall Return Home With Bigger Goals In Mind | Utah Jazz
In a homecoming of sorts, Donovan Mitchell's mind won't exactly be on the celebrations and hoards of family packing Madison Square Garden on Sunday night. Instead, Utah's three-time all-star will be much more focused on the immediate task at hand, keeping the Jazz in the No. 4 spot — and expanding that advantage — when Utah begins its six-game road trip with a marquee showdown