Okay, so I was wrong. Happy to admit it. Nicholls Colonels are who KenPom thought they were. That doesn’t take away from the joy I got from watching Villanova Wildcats completely obliterate them.
Some of you will say these types of cupcake games are boring. Personally I like watching Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree scored the 111th point of the night on a vicious dunk and screaming into the heavens.
But more seriously, I think the confidence from this game will go a long way to kickstarting this team as they head into the tougher portion of the non-conference schedule.
And I’d kick myself if I didn’t mention how fun it was to watch Jay’s rotations as we ran up and down the court. Embrace it Coach. You know it feels right.
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) - Nova wins by 22.2%
Offense: Game - 66.4%, Season - 56.4%, Last Year - 57.7%
What a difference a game makes? The ball movement was excellent again and Nicholls did the ‘Cats a huge solid by attempting to play at that pace. Villanova showed some laziness at times breaking the press which led to turnovers, but it led to a ton of easy buckets as well.
43% from downtown is also very good, and it was encouraging to see the ‘Nova players hitting those in-rhythm and open looks at a good clip. Maybe it was just the ease at which Nicholls allowed us into the paint, but it felt like the deep ball wasn’t Plan A either.
Free-throw shooting though...that has some warts on it right now.
Defense: Game - 44.2%, Season - 46.8%, Last Year - 48.1%
I really don’t know what to take away from our defensive effort. I don’t remember a team having the freedom to jack shots like that with really no offensive set at all. Pretty surreal to watch.
Blocks record? Hell yeah. Let’s just go with that.
Turnover Percentage (TO%) - Villanova wins by 4.4%
Offense: Game - 15.1%, Season - 14.5%, Last Year - 17.0%
I’m going to go glass half-full here on the 13 turnovers, mostly down to the pace and score of the game. Like some of you, not really thrilled when our guys get lazy and get stripped or make dumb passes. But I’ve played in games like that and it’s incredibly hard to keep your focus when you are up 25+ for the better part of the game.
Defense: Game - 19.5%, Season - 18.9%, Last Year - 20.1%
As I touched on above, it is tough to take too much away from this game given the pace and style that Nicholls brought. Mikal Bridges (5 steals) was fantastic and this was without deploying him in a press.
And because it bears repeating and I didn’t fit it in anywhere else, I present to you Bridges’ final line:
23 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, 5 steals in 27 minutes. Yowza.
(And yes, he won KenPom’s game MVP)
Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%) - Villanova wins by 15.5%
Offense: Game - 29.5%, Season - 34.2%, Last Year - 30.2%
Well when you play offense like that, this doesn’t really matter now, does it?
Although I am very much here for the Omari Spellman-Eric Paschall-DaDa Cosby-Roundtree triumverate. Those guys clean glass quite well.
Defense: Game - 14%, Season - 15.2%, Last Year - 27.8%
Caveat the lack of height on Nicholls, so we need to see how this holds up (Atlantis should tell us a lot), but I continue to buy this as a strong rebounding team.
Free Throw Rate (FTRate) - Nicholls wins by 1.5%
Offense: Game - 31.5%, Season - 32.1%, Last Year - 41.8%
Two games, two rates lower than last season. Mentioned it above, but is it time to be legitimately concerned about the FT%? Starting to think that’s a clear trade-off with putting all these rangy athletes on the court. Paschall in particular needs to pick it up here because with the form he’s in, he’ll be going to the line often.
Defense: Game - 32.8%, Season - 28%, Last Year - 22.1%
Not great, Bob! Nicholls is gonna Nicholls though. That pace. I can’t get over it. Not sure how you don’t foul guys that are constantly out of control.
Looking Ahead: Lafayette Leopards (‘Nova 99% projected winner, 88-62)
Offensive Projections: eFG% - Nova, TO% - Nova, OR% - Nova, FTRate - Nova
Just like in years past, Lafayette can shoot it. They’re over 41% from downtown on the young season and over 50% from the field. But they’ve also lost both of their games to teams you and I would categorize as not good.
Defensive Projections: eFG% - Nova, TO% - Nova, OR% - Nova, FTRate - Lafayette
The Leopards have done a good job of not fouling, but that doesn’t really matter when you can’t turn your opponent over and they’re scorching the nets.