The way Villanova started the game was reminiscent of how Tennessee started the SECT against us. They just could not miss. It was raining threes. I am sure Kansas board is lit up blaming Self for bad perimeter defense, giving up a lot of open threes and having a smile on his face as they were losing. But the way Nova shots were falling, there was nothing KU could have done, And I am sure the smilie was a sarcastic smile about how the shots were falling.
Watching Nova last night excited me for next year. The announcers were talking about Nova during the first half and were describing their team. They said Nova had a true PG (Brunson) who could penetrate and kick out to the open man, but what seperated them the most, is the 2,3,4 on their team also could, all of them could also light it up from long range, the only knock on them that the announcers had was they don’t have a dominant big man.
Then I looked at next year. I got excited. We have Harris (a true PG that can do like Brunson), but we could also have Embery/Garland, Joe, and Phillips on the court at the same time. All can handle the ball, penetrate and kick, and because all are good on the perimeter, could spread the floor and open the lane, for our dominant big man. I dont know if they could be as good as Nova by tourney time next year, but I can see this team being very close to Nova by the time they’re SR’s.
Even if we had made the FF in a glorious run, I can imagine how the boards would have looked if we lost in the FF by giving up a record number of threes in the first half. It would have been all on CMA for a tuurrrible game plan. I noticed Self didn’t try a zone until Nova had already put up over 20 points in the first 10 minutes, which is what Butler did to us as well. It slowed them down briefly, and then they figured it out.
If a team is knocking down treys at multiple positions with regularity, there isn’t much you can do nowadays. The refs won’t allow you to aggressively disrupt their offense, which makes keeping talented guards out of the lane almost impossible in man. That necessitates help and yields open treys with ball swings. Zones will eventually give up open treys and boards off of misses.
The rules are designed to make the games more entertaining, but they do the opposite. Every new rule penalizes the defense for trying to make a play. In fact, bad calls on good defense simply because something bad happened to the offense have become epidemic. The benefit of the doubt for the O is far too biased. As such, defense is getting more passive, which rewards shot-clock churning ball movement and jump shooting. The rule overlords never have figured out that the most entertaining college basketball was played in the 90’s when they allowed physical play on the perimeter. It got boring when they started calling ticky-tack fouls thirty feet from the basket in which no advantage was achieved.
Nova made 18 threes yesterday. I went back and looked at the 1994 box scores. We only made 12 threes in the entire Final Four and 47 in the whole tournament, twice making 10 in one game. But boy, did we make the one we had to make.
One interesting note is that only two teams in the field averaged surrendering a lower trey rate than Michigan. The Wolverines are stingier than Texas Tech, the only team to slow Nova down at all from the perimeter. Kansas wasn’t very good at defending the trey this season. Is this a worse matchup for 'Nova? If Villanova cools down at all, this game could be closer than many are expecting. The matchup stats haven’t been very predictive in the tournament, though.