Yes, it’s true that Villanova had already clinched the Big East Title earlier in the week with their win against a Top 25 Ranked Creighton, so maybe we could write this game off as a rest game before the tournament begins?
Some of us will be able to justify the loss, having played without Collin Gillespie and losing Justin Moore so early on. Either way, it’s never fun to lose to Providence, so here are a few takeaways from the day.
Injuries Piling Up
Something that we’re all too well aware of, this isn’t as much a takeaway as it is a necessity to come to grips with as Wildcat fans. The worst has come to pass: Jay Wright will be without Collin Gillespie in the tournament, and Justin Moore may follow suit after review of his MRI. This hurts even more after seeing the performance that Moore put in against Creighton on Wednesday, carrying the ‘Cats to victory with a team-high 24 points. The hopes were high for Moore to step up and fill Gillespie’s role in the season’s most crucial moment, and so they fell all the farther when the sophomore had to be taken off the court in the first half.
Losing Gillespie and Moore hurts Villanova. Losing Gillespie and Moore right before the tournament is set to begin hurts Villanova a lot. Without the approximately 25 points per game that the two were averaging together, the Wildcats will need to rely on the likes of Jermaine Samuels, Jeremiah Robinson Earl, Caleb Daniels and the like to step up and carry the burden.
The Hot Hands Went Stone Cold
It seemed that for so long Villanova was associated with lights out shooting of the three-point ball. They had—and still have—five players on the court who could hurt you from deep if given the chance at any given time. But lately that team seems to be a different one than the team that fans are seeing. The three pointer was very clearly not on yesterday–not a single Wildcat player made more than one throughout the entire game as they finished 4–18 from deep on the day.
In games where Jay Wright’s trusty 3 point style of play just doesn’t seem to be working, Villanova has to find a way to score points somewhere else, and they just weren’t able to do that against the Friars.
There’s Something in the Arcidiacono Water
After a tough afternoon against a conference rival and a handful of negatives to take away from the game, let’s focus on one positive to end it all off: Chris Arcidiacono is…well…an Arcidiacono. With Gillespie and Moore both out, the young sophomore was called upon to play 25 minutes and run the offense, something that he has really yet to do at Villanova on the stage that he did last night. And although he didn’t shoot the ball exceptionally well, finishing with no points, the signs of a future leader were there to see.
After Arcidiacono’s arrival, Villanova’s offense seemed to flow much better, outscoring Providence by double digits from that point on. He fit well into the role that the system was calling for at the moment, and showed strong positives for a player who before coming on had played less minutes all season than he did in yesterday’s game (17 on the season before amassing 25 against the Friars). Perhaps we all suspected there was a good point guard in him because of his last name, but yesterday was a promising display of some truth to that suspicion.