Saturday, February 22, 2014

Villanova outlasts St. John's, wins 57-54

Generally speaking, when your opponent shoots 32% from the field and 27% from the perimeter, and your team makes nine of its 22 three point attempts, the team that shot 40% from beyond the arc on that many attempts should win by a big margin. That probably should have been the case in Villanova's game today against St. John's, but the Wildcats turned the ball over 15 times (JayVaughn Pinkston, Daniel Ochefu, and Darrun Hilliard combined for 12 of them) compared to nine times for the Red Storm.

I don't see this result as too distressing for Villanova, because St. John's is red hot right now, and they're one of the few teams Villanova has played against this season that is superior to them defensively. For Villanova, Darrun Hilliard had 18 points on six of eight shooting and Ryan Arcidiacono had 12 points, three rebounds, and three assists to only one turnover. Ochefu led the way in rebounds with 11,  followed by Pinkston with nine.

Now might be a good time to address a disturbing trend. The last two games, Villanova's opponents have played much closer than they should have because of poor free throw shooting, especially by players who should  be making them, like Ryan Arcidiacono, who was three of six from the line today. This sub-par free throw shooting has been a season long trend for Arcidiacono, who is shooting 72% from the stripe this season after shooting 82.4% as a freshman. That drop off means that Arcidiacono has scored ten fewer points this season that he would have scored if he simply maintained his free throw percentage from last season. This is something to watch as the season winds to a close, because teams need to make free throws down the stretch in games to do well in the NCAA tournament.

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