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Daniel Ochefu: “I got us winning 86-82”

‘16’s big man holds his ground

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Champion-Villanova White House Visit Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

From quarantine in his sister’s house in Delaware, where he is busy using his new free time to start up a media company, Town Business Media Group, Daniel Ochefu took a few minutes out of his day to make clear that 2016 isn’t just going to beat 2018 on the digital court tonight.

“I’m going to predict that 2016 wins both in the donations, and in the simulation,” Ochefu said.

When not compared to his 2018 team, Ochefu is somewhat of a 2018 evangelist. It is all Villanova Basketball, after all. But when it comes to the comparison between the two teams, he does think 2018’s inspection of their own greatness has gotten somewhat out of hand.

“I feel like the way they talk about it, they talk like they would just smoke us,” Ochefu said. “They gotta calm that noise right there, you know what I’m saying? I feel like, give us a seven-game series, if we don’t win in six, then we get to game seven. And then we battle it out. I’m still taking us over them.”

And while this might have more of an effect in a hypothetical real-world match-up than a video game simulation, Ochefu believes experience would overcome youth.

“What they have to understand is, as talented and great as they are, we were just as talented and great,” Ochefu said. “And also, we have more experience. In Villanova Basketball in particular, that experience matters a lot.”

He also argued that his squad had the defensive edge, and that 2018’s historic offense wouldn’t have gotten the all the shots they usually did against the 2016 Villanova defense.

“Everybody says, ‘oh Omari, he can shoot threes,’ and pshh, nobody, I mean Jay Wright’s not letting Omari Spellman hit three out of four threes on us,” Ochefu said. And everybody says, ‘oh but Jalen Brunson is gonna kill Archie,’ or whatever. I mean, calm that noise right there.”

Ochefu also took a minute to think - he admitted, for the first time - about how he would play Spellman as the opposing big in this matchup. He did admit it’s not always possible to fully shut a player like that down when he’s really on his game.

“Honestly, nothing would really change from how we play defense,” he said. “Because Omari is kind of just like a taller guard. And all of our guards, we already know if we’re playing Omari, how they were gonna be defending him on the perimeter. Unless it was one of them days where he was just cashing that thing, but with our coaching staff and defensive schemes we wouldn’t even allow Omari to spray off on us like that.”

Ochefu did take a moment, however, to make a claim about the trouble he would provide Spellman in the paint.

“He’s gonna have to pass it or dribble and come dunk on me,” Ochefu said. “And I think it was only one or two people who dunked on me all four years.”

Beyond the matchups and players in the game, an interesting reason Ochefu gave to argue that his team would come out of top was that his class was the “redemption class.” They had to build the program back up from a low point in a way guys on the 2018 team never did.

“They didn’t go through any growing pains,” Ochefu explained. “They didn’t lose to Columbia at the crib freshman year, by 20. The fact that we went through the trials and tribulations, you gotta think - when Booth and Mikal were coming in as freshmen we were number one in the country! They did an amazing job maintaining it, taking us to the next level. But we’re gonna win that game.”