How Good Was Villanova?

 

Nova Champions
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

 

After championships are decided in major sports, the first response is to compare the champion with the previous champions in that sport. That is often foolhearty because things change over the years.

However, you can compare teams against their era and this Villanova team not only stacks up well, but is probably one of the top two or three championship teams over the past 10 years.

How do we know that? Just look at the domination. The Wildcats average margin of victory in its nine postseason games was 17.7. The only team in that run that was ranked outside of the RPI top-60 was first-round opponent, Radford. Their record against the other No. 1 seeds in throughout the season was 3-0 with an 18.7 margin of victory.

Villanova was No. 1 and No. 11 in adjusted offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency respectively for an overall KenPom rank of No. 1.

In two of the Wildcats four losses, junior guard Phil Booth didn’t play and in their first loss, it took Butler shooting 60 percent from three just to beat them.

Villanova had pros in juniors Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges and Erick Paschall along with freshman Omari Spellman and sophomore Donte DiVencenzo, the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

It is foolish to think that just because Brunson was the only five-star recruit that this team is somehow less than. Speaking of which, he played maybe his worst game of the season in the national championship game and the Wildcats still won by 17.

The way they run offense and the way they all can shoot as well as being more than capable on defense leads me to believe this is one of the best teams of this era and is certainly the best since Kentucky won the title in 2012.

 

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BRACKETOLOGY: March 11, 2018 PM (Welcome Penn, Davidson, Kentucky, Georgia St, Cincinnati)

This is the final bracket.

Last Four In: Florida St, Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas

Last Four Out: Arizona St, USC, Middle Tennessee, Saint Mary’s

Next Four Out: Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Marquette

SOUTH

1.Virginia(ACC)16.LIU-Brooklyn(NEC)/North Carolina Central(MEAC) Charlotte

8.Butler9.Texas A&M

5.Texas Tech12.Marshall(C-USA) Dallas

4.Houston13.South Dakota St(Summit)

6.Rhode Island11.Baylor/Oklahoma Detroit

3.Michigan St14.Wright St(Horizon)

7.Kansas St10.St. Bonaventure Nashville

2.Tennessee15.Iona(MAAC)

WEST

1.Xavier16.Radford(BSouth) Pittsburgh

8.Virginia Tech9.Missouri

5.Wichita St12.New Mexico St(WAC) San Diego

4.Arizona(P12)13.UNC-Greensboro(SoCon)

6.Miami(FL)11.Davidson(A10) Boise

3.Michigan(B10)14.Bucknell(Patriot)

7.Nevada10.Creighton Charlotte

2.North Carolina15.Penn(Ivy)

MIDWEST

1.Kansas(B12)16.Georgia St(SBelt) Wichita

8.Providence9.NC State

5.Ohio St12.San Diego St(MWest) Boise

4.Kentucky(SEC)13.College of Charleston(CAA)

6.Arkansas11.Texas/Florida St Wichita

3.Purdue14.Montana(BSky)

7.TCU10.UCLA Nashville

2.Duke15.UMBC(AEast)

EAST

1.Villanova(BEast)16.Cal St Fullerton(BWest)/Texas Southern(SWAC) Pittsburgh

8.Alabama9.Seton Hall

5.Gonzaga(WCC)12.Buffalo(MAC) San Diego

4.West Virginia13.Murray St(OVC)

6.Clemson11.Loyola-Chicago(MVC) Dallas

3.Auburn14.Lipscomb(ASun)

7.Florida10.Oklahoma St Detroit

2.Cincinnati(AAC)15.Stephen F. Austin(Southland)

BRACKETOLOGY: Sunday March 11, 2018 AM (Welcome UMBC, NC-Central, Texas Southern, Kansas, San Diego St, Villanova, Buffalo, Montana, Virginia, Marshall, Stephen F. Austin, Arizona, New Mexico St, CS Fullerton)

This bracket is good for games through 3/10

Last Four In: Arizona St, Florida St, Oklahoma, Baylor

Last Four Out: USC, Middle Tennessee, Saint Mary’s, Louisville

Next Two Out: Notre Dame, Syracuse

SOUTH

1.Virginia(ACC)16.LIU-Brooklyn(NEC)/North Carolina Central(MEAC) Charlotte

8.Butler9.Texas A&M

5.Texas Tech12.Marshall(C-USA) Dallas

4.Houston13.South Dakota St(Summit)

6.Rhode Island11.Baylor/Florida St Detroit

3.Michigan St14.Wright St(Horizon)

7.Kansas St10.St. Bonaventure Nashville

2.Tennessee15.Iona(MAAC)

WEST

1.Xavier16.Radford(BSouth) Pittsburgh

8.Virginia Tech9.Missouri

5.Wichita St12.New Mexico St(WAC) San Diego

4.Arizona(P12)13.UNC-Greensboro(SoCon)

6.Miami(FL)11.Oklahoma/Arizona St Boise

3.Michigan(B10)14.Bucknell(Patriot)

7.Nevada10.Creighton Charlotte

2.North Carolina15.Harvard

MIDWEST

1.Kansas(B12)16.Georgia St Wichita

8.Providence9.NC State

5.Ohio St12.San Diego St(MWest) Boise

4.Gonzaga(WCC)13.College of Charleston(CAA)

6.Arkansas11.Texas Wichita

3.Purdue14.Montana(BSky)

7.TCU10.UCLA Nashville

2.Duke15.UMBC(AEast)

EAST

1.Villanova(BEast)16.Cal St Fullerton(BWest)/Texas Southern(SWAC) Pittsburgh

8.Alabama9.Seton Hall

5.Kentucky12.Buffalo(MAC) San Diego

4.West Virginia13.Murray St(OVC)

6.Clemson11.Loyola-Chicago(MVC) Dallas

3.Auburn14.Lipscomb(ASun)

7.Florida10.Oklahoma St Detroit

2.Cincinnati15.Stephen F. Austin(Southland)

Cincinnati 70 Memphis 60 AAC Semi-Finals

The No. 1 Cincinnati Bearcats (29-4) raced out of halftime to defeat the No. 5 Memphis Tigers (21-13) 70-60 in the first semi-final of the American Athletic Conference Championship.

Cincinnati started the second half on a 21-2 run and out-scored the Tigers 41-18 overall in the half. Senior forward Kyle Washington said it was a position the Bearcats had been in before, but not one he’d like to be in again.

“We’ve been in that situation before, to tell you the truth,” Washington said. “We can’t put ourselves in that situation. We have to come out from the gate with a sense of urgency.”

Memphis went into the half with a 42-29 lead in large part because freshman guard Jamal Johnson went 4-4 from behind the arc. Cincinnati senior forward Gary Clark said his team didn’t follow the scouting report and let Johnson get comfortable.

“When you let a guy like that get comfortable then the rim gets bigger,” Clark said. “In the second half we just tried to adjust and not let him get comfortable looks.”

Sophomore guard Jarron Cumberland led the Bearcats with 18 points while Clark added 17 and 12 rebounds. The Tigers were led by Johnson’s 17 points with an additional 12 by junior forward Kyvon Davenport.

The Bearcats move on to face the winner of the game between No. 3 Houston vs. No. 2 Wichita St. There is speculation surrounding the future of Tigers’ head coach Tubby Smith so the postseason may be in the cards for them.

BRACKETOLOGY: March 10, 2018

This bracket is good for games through 3/9

Last Four In: Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas, Middle Tennessee

Last Four Out: Florida St, Louisville, Arizona St, Saint Mary’s

Next Two Out: Notre Dame, Syracuse

SOUTH

1.Virginia16.Hampton/LIU-Brooklyn(NEC) Charlotte

8.Missouri9.Providence

5.Texas Tech12.Buffalo Dallas

4.Wichita St13.College of Charleston(CAA)

6.Clemson11.Middle Tennessee/Baylor Nashville

3.Auburn14.Bucknell(Patriot)

7.Rhode Island10.Alabama Detroit

2.Michigan St15.Lipscomb(ASun)

WEST

1.Xavier16.Radford(BSouth) Pittsburgh

8.Butler9.Texas A&M

5.Ohio St12.New Mexico St Boise

4.Gonzaga(WCC)13.Vermont

6.Florida11.Texas/Oklahoma Boise

3.Tennessee14.Montana

7.TCU10.USC Detroit

2.Cincinnati15.Wright St(Horizon)

MIDWEST

1.Kansas16.UC-Irvine Wichita

8.Seton Hall9.NC State

5.Houston12.Western Kentucky San Diego

4.Arizona13.Louisiana Lafayette

6.Arkansas11.Oklahoma St Wichita

3.Michigan(B10)14.New Mexico

7.Kansas St10.UCLA Charlotte

2.Duke15.Iona(MAAC)

EAST

1.Villanova16.SE Louisiana/Arkansas Pine-Bluff Pittsburgh

8.Virginia Tech9.St. Bonaventure

5.Miami(FL)12.Murray St(OVC) San Diego

4.West Virginia3.South Dakota St(Summit)

6.Kentucky11.Loyola-Chicago(MVC) Nashville

3.Purdue14.UNC-Greensboro(SoCon)

7.Nevada10.Creighton Nashville

2.North Carolina15.Harvard

Houston 84 UCF 56 AAC Quarterfinals

The No. 3 Houston Cougars (25-6) overwhelmed the No. 6 UCF Knights (19-13) 84-56 in the last game of the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals on Friday night.

UCF had been a great defensive team all year, but allowed Houston to shoot 58 percent while forcing only eight turnovers. Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson said it was because his team’s familiarity with UCF.

“Because we played, we’re familiar with the teams, there’s certain matchups that we like and we try to go at certain matchups,” he said. “We talked about getting certain players in foul trouble before the game.”

The Cougars were led by junior guard Galen Robinson, Jr.’s 18 points and senior guard Rob Gray’s 17. Junior guard B.J. Taylor scored 20 for the Knights while freshman guard Ceasar Dejesus added 10.

Houston moves on to play No. 2 Wichita St on Saturday. UCF awaits word on a possible NIT bid.

Wichita St 89 Temple 81 AAC Quarterfinals

No. 2 Wichita St (25-6) held off a pesky No. 7 Temple (17-15) in a 89-81 win the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals.

The game was won at the free throw line as Wichita forced Temple into foul trouble and made seven more free throws (28) than Temple attempted (21)

Sophomore guard Landry Shamet led the Shockers with 24 points while senior forward Rashard Kelly added 16. Sophomore guard Quinton Rose scored 25 for Temple with 15 points a piece from senior guard Josh Brown and junior guard Shizz Alston, Jr.

Wichita awaits the winner of the last quarterfinal between No. 6 UCF and No. 3 Houston. Temple will most likely be headed to the NIT.