Villanova Rolls in First Round of NCAA Tournament
Villanova shoots a lot of three pointers. This season, 34 percent of Villanova shots were threes — the 24th highest rate in the country. Only two tournament teams, Michigan and Iona, shot more threes as a percentage of shots.
There’s one problem: The Wildcats are not a great three-point shooting team. They shot 34.4 percent on threes in the regular season; about half of college basketball teams shot better than them. The Wildcats had such a tremendous regular season this year — 29-5 coming into today — because they were so good at pretty much every other aspect of the game.
And, for most of the first half against UNC Asheville in the first round in the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats were cold. They were 4 of 12 from three at one point. The second-seeded Wildcats led by just two, 24-22, at one point.
But they got hot to end the half, closing on a 16-4 run that included four three pointers — including their final three shots. But the game seemed much closer than a 40-26. Villanova coach Jay Wright praised UNC Asheville’s defense on a halftime interview on TV; the Bulldogs are second-best in the nation at defending three-point field goals.
Clearly, the message at halftime was to adjust and go inside more. The Wildcats did most of their damage in the paint in the second half, pulling away for a 86-56 victory. They attempted 11 threes in the second half, making six, after shooting 18 in the first. The Wildcats shot 72 percent from the field in the second half.
Senior Daniel Ochefu led the Wildcats with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but seven members of the team scored more than 7 points. Another senior, Ryan Arcidiacono, was 4-for-6 from three.
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