The Villanova Wildcats took care of business on Friday evening, earning an 83-57 win over the Le Moyne Dolphins and jumping out to 2-0 on the season.
We’ve got another 40 minutes of Villanova Basketball under our belts, so it’s time to overreact and discuss our takeaways ahead of a week where Villanova battles regional foes Penn and Maryland.
Friday’s game was more about confirmations as opposed to revelations but let’s take a look at the biggest headlines:
Yeah. Villanova is pretty deep
Depth has been one the first words used to describe the Wildcats ever since they brought in four transfers over the summer. We saw the Cats go 11 deep in both games this season.
However, something I wanted to point out was the fact that Eric Dixon didn’t score a point against Le Moyne, and there were still four Wildcats in double figures (Armstrong almost brought it five with nine points).
In recent seasons, if one of Villanova’s top players had 0 points – it’d usually spell trouble for Villanova regardless of the opponent. Instead, the Wildcats were in control for a 26-point victory.
Tuesday night saw Dixon and Burton lead the way in scoring and Friday had Moore, Hausen, and Bamba.
It’s amazing to have so many offensive weapons where any of the Wildcats'top 8 can lead the team in scoring on a given night and it wouldn’t be that surprising. Personally, I don’t think we’ve seen something like since the 2018 – we always didn’t need Brunson or Bridges to go off in order to win. I mean we all know what a certain 6th man did in the National Championship game.
Not to put those expectations on this team but the optionality and balance on the scoring front is one of the highlights of the season thus far.
The starting line up and minute allocation has been an intriguing conversation throughout the offseason and we’ve now seen two games with nearly identical configurations.
The starting lineup did not change in game 2. There were even early subs of Longino and Hart seeing the court before the first TV timeout.
Based on the first week – there’s a clear hierarchy in Kyle Neptune’s mind.
Starters (20+ MPG): Armstrong, Moore, Bamba, Burton, Dixon
Solid Bench Minutes: Hart, Longino, Hausen
Extended Reserve Minutes: Ware
Spot Reserve Minutes: Njoku, Arch
If you compare the two box scores – the bench minutes are almost identical between the two games.
We’ll see how things start to shake up once the level of competition rises. You would expect the minutes to shrink towards the bottom of the hierarchy, but there’s a clear path to an eventual 9-man rotation. It’ll be interesting how the Hart/Longino/Hausen group develops moving forward.
Less than ideal starts
I’ll avoid using the “s” word here but Villanova has seen their first two opponents hang around in the game a little longer than maybe most expected. It’s their first two games together for a group with many new faces in the rotation, and once the game matures the 'Cats have shown they’re able to go on lengthy runs which ultimately bury the game.
However, the margins will only be smaller going forward so any rust will need to be shaken off sooner in games to avoid any non-conference slip ups.
The Amarillo Assassin
Bonus section: Hausen lit up social media this summer with his scorching hot shooting. He’s backed up the offseason work with a 6-8 shooting night from deep on Friday and it now 8-13 (62%) on the season. The defense will have to improve to keep consistent minutes in the Big East, a point that Neptune mentioned in post-game, but wowwww if he can stay on the court and keep getting good looks – he’s got the ability to blow up games.