Saturday, April 2, 2016, 1 PM EST: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Villanova Wildcats
- First Round: 86-56 vs. 15 UNC Asheville
- Second Round: 87-68 vs. 7 Iowa
- Sweet 16: 92-69 vs. 3 Miami (FL)
- Elite 8: 64-59 vs. 1 Kansas
Josh Hart, G, Junior - 15.3p/6.7r/1.9a/35.3% 3P
Kris Jenkins, F, Junior - 13.5p/3.8r/2.2a/37.9% 3P
Ryan Arcidiacono, G, Senior - 12.3p/2.9r/2.3a/38.2% 3P
Jalen Brunson, G, Freshman - 9.8p/2.6a/38.7% 3P
Jay Wright has coached the Villanova Wildcats to another great season. This year, Villanova went 16-2 in conference play and 33-5 overall before losing to Seton Hall in the Big East tournament final. The Wildcats have one of the most potent offenses in college basketball and steamrolled through their first three tournament games. Four of their top-five scorers are dead-eye shooters and all hit more than 35% of their threes. Their three-point offense percentage-wise is average, but they make — and take — shots in volume, 8.6 threes made per game.
Collectively, they have a defense that can neutralize a lot of offenses. Opponents shoot just 40.5% from the field overall and 44.6% on two-point shots. Moreover, their 265 steals are 20th in the nation and 2nd among tournament teams (Syracuse, 292). Between Arcidiacono and Hart, the Wildcats get almost three steals per game, along with 28 points. Those two, along with Jenkins, are going to produce and have been consistent all year — except for when they played the Sooners back in December.
Ultimately, Jalen Brunson and his ability to shoot will be a leading factor if the Villanova is going to win. In their wins, Brunson averages 10.1 points and shoots about 41% from three. It’s much different in games they lose. Although they’ve lost just five games this year, Brunson’s scoring average drops to 7.2. Not only that, his three-point percentage tanks to 29% and his field goal percentage diminishes to 32.5%, all while his minutes remain about the same.
Previous Matchup: December 7, 2015, Oklahoma 78 - 55 Villanova
It’s a daunting task to beat the Sooners, but it can be done. There have been teams who are worse than the Wildcats that took down Oklahoma. I believe this game is going to be a bona fide shootout, and Buddy Hield is going to get buckets no matter what. Villanova’s best bet is to chase Hield off the three-point line as much as possible and make him beat you inside; avoid helping off Cousins and Woodard too often, as they shoot high percentages from downtown.
The offense must not stagnate. Villanova’s ball movement is spectacular, but against Oklahoma in December, it was terrible. The Wildcats tallied just eight assists that day. Contrarily, they had 12 games this year with 20+ assists which is good for eighth in the nation, and second among tournament teams (UNC, 13). Oklahoma’s defense is average, so excessive ball movement will lead to open shots.
Once Villanova gets those open shots, they need to finish them. Their offense against the Sooners was terrible the last time they met (13% from three), and the Wildcats can’t afford another game like that.
View the Oklahoma Sooners’ Final Four Preview here.