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SCOUTING VILLANOVA: Villanova comes in at 11-3 overall and 2-1 in BIG EAST play after defeating Creighton on Tuesday. The Wildcats are ranked 16th in both the AP and Coaches’ Poll. Villanova is averaging 75.1 ppg, while allowing just 67.1 ppg. Collin Gillespie leads the Wildcats with 15.0 ppg. Saddiq Bey (14.0), Justin Moore (12.1), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (10.6) and Jermaine Samuels (10.2) are all in double figures. Robinson-Earl leads the team with 9.3 rpg, while Gillespie has a team-best 64 assists.
ABOUT THE MATCHUP: Saturday will be the 85th all-time meeting between the longtime BIG EAST rivals with the Hoyas holding a 44-40 series advantage. The two teams split the two games last season with each team winning at home.
Also making an important contribution was freshman forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who finished with seven points and a season-high 14 rebounds. In his first season in the Blue and White, Robinson-Earl stands fourth in the BIG EAST in rebounding at 9.6 caroms per contest. He also averages 10.4 points per game. But for head coach Jay Wright, those front porch numbers only tell a portion of the story when it comes to this 6-9 native of Overland Park, Kan. “Jeremiah does all the little things for us,” stated Jay Wright. “He’s intelligent, guards the pick and roll. He can guard little guards. He guards bigs. He screens, he shoots. He just does it all. Jeremiah’s a heck of a player. I’m happy to have him.”
BIG EAST NET Rankings (1/10/20)— BIG EAST BUCKETS (@BIGEAST_BUCKETS) January 10, 2020
All current @BIGEASTMBB teams ranked in Top 78!
#19 Seton Hall
#71 St. John's
#85 UConn (Next Season) pic.twitter.com/5EoFvJlw3I
Pummeling the Red Storm doesn’t change the high-wire act the Hoyas face with a seven-man rotation, a fact of life for Patrick Ewing’s team unless injury, foul trouble, or a blowout intercedes. There still isn’t a path to victory against even the most inconsistent teams in the Big East unless either guard Mac McClung or center Omer Yurtseven (or preferably both) play well, and everyone involved knows it...
“We have seven, eight guys,” Yurtseven said. “We have to all do our part throughout the game if we want to be successful. Those guys have to show up every day. If one guy is down, the other six — everyone has to contribute because we’re all needed. A big part of that role is me and Mac, and we have to show up every single game. We can’t have bad games.”
They’re currently 10th in the nation in offensive efficiency — that’s very good, but for a team that has set the bar as high as Villanova has, it’s actually lower than usual. They were fourth in 2015, third in 2016, third in 2017, and first in 2018. This is ‘Nova, though. Like always, they move the ball really well and take a ton of threes (43.0% of their total points have come via the three, a top ten ranking in the country). On straight shooting percentages, they’re making 35.2% from three, 53.7% inside the arc, and 72.8% from the line. Good, solid numbers, but a bit low by the incredibly high standards Jay Wright has set in recent seasons.
Villanova split its two-game road trip to Creighton and Marquette during this past week and it’s hard to be mad at that. The Wildcats are clearly a much improved defensive team and they have asserted themselves as a Top 3 team in the league moving forward. Their developments defensively are substantial as that has been the biggest reason for its 2-1 BE record. Villanova once again appears to be a legitimate contender to win the Big East even if it might not be the clear-cut favorite at the moment. As I have said in the past, Villanova is the most talented team in the conference and also features the best coach. That makes the Wildcats very dangerous.
A lot of statistical departments among these groups are really, really close, with the Hoyas having a slight edge over the Wildcats in the bulk of them. In my estimation, the key for Georgetown is to pound the offensive glass and secure boatloads of second-chance points. For Villanova, well, its foe here commits a whopping 15.0 turnovers every 40 minutes. The Wildcats should have a prime occasion to feast on the Hoyas as it pertains to transition buckets.
Latest Georgetown pod is up!@CasualHoya, @NationWideNolan and I talk X's & O's on the Hoyas 1-2 BIG EAST start— Bobby Bancroft (@BobbyBancroft) January 10, 2020
Upset at Villanova?
Rooting for Syracuse?
& my fav....Kevin Braswell talk that turns into early 2000's chatterhttps://t.co/hBSo57LRMr
The Wildcats struggled offensively during the first half as the team connected on just 8 of its 29 field goal attempts in the opening twenty minutes. Aided by improved shot quality, ‘Nova found much more success after the intermission, going 15-32 from the floor. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the night was Villanova’s defense, which slowed a typically potent Creighton offense by holding the Blue Jays to 41.5% shooting overall, and just 21.4% from deep. Coming into the contest, the Creighton had been averaging 78.3 points per game, a mark which they fell well short of on Tuesday...
Through the first eight games of the season, Villanova was pouring it in from behind the three point arc. As a team they were shooting 40.2% and averaging over 10 made threes a game. Some may say it’s because they were facing “lesser competition”, but I wouldn’t agree. Those games include Baylor and Ohio State, and all of the Big 5 teams Nova played during that stretch were doing their best to force the Wildcats off of the three point line and beat them inside. When your opponents are actively trying to take away the three and you’re still hitting 10 a game, that’s downright impressive.
Then came the last six games, which included four away from home and a matchup with (at the time) the best team in the country. It’s crazy not to think those are all factors in the current shooting slump, but a six game trend is also something that can’t be ignored... this is the first time that stretch has extended to six games. On top of that, the trend during that stretch has continued to point downward. So if it isn’t just that slumps happen, what other factors are causing the poor shooting?
How To Watch Georgetown vs. Villanova on Saturday https://t.co/f8Y2S0dpJe— VU Hoops (@VUhoops) January 10, 2020
What was once a competitive rivalry between Georgetown and Villanova is anything but competitive today, and nowhere is this disparity more evident than at the Wells Fargo Center, the “home away from home” for the defending Big East champions. From 1980 to 2013, Georgetown won 35 of the 58 games between the schools, but since the Big East realignment it has dropped 11 of 13. Its seven consecutive losses at the Wells Fargo Center are the most at any arena dating back to a 10 game losing streak at Maryland’s Cole Field House from 1954 to 1963. And perhaps most troubling, each of the seven loses has been by 10 or more points.
Wright built the Wildcats slowly, bringing in players to fit his style while changing the program’s culture. Even when Villanova became an elite program and could land higher-rated recruits, Wright still sought team-first players who fit his system. Wright’s success helped usher in an era of positionless basketball, where players can play multiple positions and nearly everyone on the roster can shoot from the perimeter. “In my generation, coach Jay Wright’s changed basketball. He’s the one that kind of invented small ball, where your 4 man can shoot 3s,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said at last year’s Final Four. “They always have four guys on the floor that shoot. He’s transformed basketball. The way they play, we’re all kind of doing the same thing.”