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The Sun’s Arizin: Villanova Basketball’s “Big Game” Jermaine Samuels

The super senior is having one hell of a post-season.

Villanova Mug Arizin Links

Happy Game Day Nova Nation! If you’ve been paying attention even a little bit to Villanova this post season, one player has stood out as consistently playing at a level above what we’ve seen the rest of the season. That player is Jermaine Samuels.

In five games this post-season, Samuels is averaging 13 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal per game. He’s been named KenPom’s player of the game twice during this stretch (UConn and Ohio State), the most of any Villanova player. To put it bluntly, he’s been a crucial piece to Villanova’s success.

When a player elevates their game, often we look at scoring. Samuels has certainly been impressive there, totaling 65 points over the last five games. But believe it or not, that doesn’t even break into the Top 20 5 game scoring totals of his career. Heck, it only ranks 5th this season. So if it’s not the scoring that makes us all say he’s playing better, what is it?

I think it starts with the aggressiveness. Samuels has been far more deliberate and decisive when attacking the paint this post-season, something fans have been clamoring for all season. But it’s not just on offense where that assertiveness is showing up. In fact, the reason he’s winning MVPs and the reason he “feels” like he’s playing at another level is the rebounding.

In the last five games, Samuels has totaled more rebounds than any other five game stretch in his career. And it’s not that he had one big game, it’s been consistent:

  • St. John’s: 8
  • UConn: 12
  • Creighton: 8
  • Delaware: 9
  • Ohio State: 8

At this time of year when the biggest criticism people seem to be pointing at for Nova is their lack of size and depth, Samuels is coming up big on the boards. In fact, just in the NCAA Tournament Samuels overtook Eric Dixon for most total rebounds on the season.

In today’s game Villanova will need not just Samuels but everyone to step up against a Michigan team that’s good on the offensive glass, and even better on defense. And so, the question I pose to you Nova Nation is who will lead Villanova in rebounding against Michigan?

Poll

Who will be Villanova’s leading rebounder against Michigan?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Jermaine Samuels
    (303 votes)
  • 21%
    Eric Dixon
    (111 votes)
  • 6%
    Justin Moore
    (32 votes)
  • 3%
    Collin Gillespie
    (18 votes)
  • 3%
    Brandon Slater
    (19 votes)
  • 4%
    Caleb Daniels
    (24 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (1 vote)
508 votes total Vote Now

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