Villanova Wildcats preview in the Progressive Legends Classic

Ennis 1

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, after mass amounts of emails and fan mail, I am here to inform you that Mr. Potato Head is back and better than ever. Today, we will be taking a look into the upcoming games for the Villanova Wildcats that will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York as a part of the Progressive Legends Classic.

It has been a good start on paper for Villanova, who starts the season out at 3-0. They defeated the Lehigh Mountain Hawks in their season opener in an odd de facto home game as it took place in a neutral site that is actually located closer to Lehigh than Villanova. In that game, Lehigh gave the Wildcats all they could handle, as they only led 32-30 at the half and could not quite put the Mountain Hawks away until the final minutes. ‘Nova got a strong performance from new starting shooting guard Dylan Ennis, who takes over for graduated captain James Bell. Ennis provided a stat line of 19 points, five assists and five rebounds. However, the team shot terribly overall as many open shots would not fall. They shot 38% from the field, 24.2% from deep on 33 shots and only 62.5% from the line.

There was a similar feel to the game they snuck out on Thursday against the gritty Bucknell Bison. The team got another strong performance from Ennis, who made some clutch three pointers and foul shots down the stretch, but the rest of the team gave a poor shooting performance. Villanova shot 38.9% from the field, 22.7% from deep on 22 shots and 69.4% from the line.

So what does all of this mean to a team that relies heavily on perimeter scoring with their three and four guard sets? It means trouble against a great defensive team  like the VCU Rams, who they play Monday. Averaging only 34 rebounds a game, which is good for 234th in the country, and 14 assists per game, good for 126th in the country, the Wildcats could be looking down the barrel of their first loss of the season. Led by senior guard Briante Weber, VCU is averaging 92.7 points per game, which is 9th in the country. They get most of their points off of turnovers in the backcourt, rebounding for second chance opportunities and scoring the 3 ball.

It will also be a tough test as VCU is familiar to the friendly confines of the Barclays Center, as they play in the Atlantic 10 tournament in the Brooklyn arena. For Villanova to win this game, they will need to finally knock down the open shot, use their veteran guard play to break that lethal Havoc style press defense that Shaka Smart is known to run, and work the ball inside with both drives from their guards and post play from JayVaughn Pinkston and Daniel Ochefu.

After the game, which is Monday night at 7 on ESPN 2, we will look into Villanova’s next game, which will come on Tuesday against either the Michigan Wolverines or the Oregon Ducks.

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