Stranger things have happened
The chances that Villanova will win their second NCAA title are fairly small, but they are more realistic than they have been in recent NCAA Tournaments, and about as good as good as their chances were in 2009. Now, for any team to win, they have to play well, because a single poor game means that a team could very likely be eliminated. Villanova has been fortunate enough to have pretty good luck for most of this season, but they would need to have a six game run at their very best form in order to win it all, while hoping that a few opponents do not, which is a tall task. Since there are more than 50 teams in the field that Villanova is objectively better than, Villanova does not need to be perfect for the early rounds of the tournament to advance, but their opponents will all be good enough that they cannot afford to be too far away from par in matchups beyond the first round.
Here are some numbers that Villanova is required to better in order to win a national championship.
During the Big East regular season, when Villanova won 16 games and lost only two, the Wildcats shot 39% from three point range, and in games where they shot better than that from the perimeter, they lost only once, which was the second Creighton game. Not every team in the tournament is as gifted offensively as Creighton, especially from the outside, so I am pretty confident that the 'Cats should be able to handle most teams if they shoot around 40% from the perimeter.
Another way that 40 is significant is that it's is the number that Villanova must hold its opponents under from outside. Villanova is 20-0 in games this season where their opponent has shot below 40% from three, and only 8-4 when their opponent shoots better than that.
Only one of Villanova's losses came when they shot better than 75% from the line, and in their two non-Creighton losses, they shot a combined 29-47 from the line, which is less than 62%.
Villanova has grabbed more than ten offensive rebounds in a game on 11 occasions this season, and in those games, they are undefeated. Offensive rebounding is one of the most overlooked facets of the game, and while Villanova is simply an okay offensive rebounding team, to win, they must be exceptional.
In the 20 games that Villanova has forced 12 or more turnovers, they are undefeated.
Like I said early in the post, it is quite improbable for Villanova to do all of these things over a six game stretch, but to win a championship, they will have to.
I'm ready for the tournament to start already. Let's Go 'Cats! Beat the field!