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Villanova vs. Rider Grades: Ball Hard University, Josh Hart Freshman Dorms

Hart: "Oh damn a basketball?! That's all I wanted for Christmas!!"
Hart: "Oh damn a basketball?! That's all I wanted for Christmas!!"
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

We all saw what Josh Hart did.

Here's Saturday's gamer (highly suggest you read it)

Also, from here on out, I'll be switching the format of these grading systems. Let's get into it.

Player Grades

JayVaughn Pinkston, Forward, Grade (B | 8/10): 19 minutes, 3-for-6 FG, 1-1 3PT, 7-for-7 FT, 3 rebounds, 4 fouls, 14 points

-Positives: Pinkston was impressive in pre-game shoot around hitting almost every deep shot he attempted coming off screens set by coaches. His only perimeter attempt, he netted. He was strong around the rim (as usual) and found his way to the free throw line whenever he felt like it. Grown man status.

-Negatives: Pinkston wasn't very effective on the glass against Rider. He was getting boxed out by stronger opponents, not something you would usually see from a player of his caliber on the low block. His foul trouble was a problem and Jay Wright had to use a different front court player or swing the rotation at almost every whistle. Not his best performance, but not his worse either. Being perfect from the line saves him.

Daniel Ochefu, Center, Grade: (C- | 6.8/10): 24 minutes, 2-for-2 FG, 0-for-3 FT, six rebounds, four points, four fouls, one turnover, two blocks

-Positives: Chief impressed me in two places on Saturday: the offensive glass and the defensive rotation. Not even one minute in the game and Ochefu had a huge swat to swing the momentum and push transition the opposite direction. The reason Villanova was able to get double digit second chance points was mainly because of the big man. Five offensive rebounds. Though he was getting pushed around by Daniel Steward and a cutting Anthony Myles, he owned the glass when Nova had the ball.

-Negatives: Too many to count. Don't let the stats confuse you, he was lost defensively for most of the game too. Though he was a human shield to the court, Ochefu was getting attacked non-stop from guards. Most of Myles' shots around the basket should have been sent away. A lot of his fouls weren't even when players were attacking him around the basket, they were nonsense fouls, reach-ins. His free throws are starting to be a problem for the Wildcats. But they need him just like Louisville needed Gorgui Dieng. Their numbers are pretty similar. Both were sophomore centers posed as defensive specialists.

James Bell, Guard, Grade: (C+ | 7.5/10): 22 minutes, 3-for-9 FG, 2-for-5 3PT, O FT, two steals, eight points

-Positives: Bell started the game strong, netting six of the Wildcats first eight points. He was active defensively causing two steals and constantly disrupting the passing lanes making the Rider guards hesitate on shots and pass attempts. His defense is what saves his grade.

-Negatives: A usual James Bell performance as of late, inefficient, in foul trouble and not aggressive enough when it matters. Bell's foul trouble the last few games have been a problem for the Wildcats and in bigger games (Syracuse, Butler, etc) he needs to step it up. The fun of the Bahamas are over. The biggest game of the season is about to happen. The Wildcats won't win unless he plays average at a bare minimum.

Darrun Hilliard, Guard, Grade: (B+ | 8.5/10): 24 minutes, 4-for-8 FG, 1-for-3 3PT, 4-for-4 FT, two steals, two assists, two turnovers, 13 points, seven rebounds

-Positives: Another game, another consistent effort for Hilliard where others failed to step up. Efficient from the field, strong minutes, effective on defensive, length enabled two steals, active on the boards, what more could you want for him?

-Negatives: The only negative for Hilliard is the same problems he usually has, knowing when to step into better shots and turning the ball over and not getting back in transition after he does. The two TO's weren't huge, but it did stop him from grabbing an A. I also want him to stop settling for corner threes on the wing and become more active off the ball and find some better shots around the arc.

Ryan Arcidiacono, Guard, Grade: (C | 7/10): 27 minutes, 2-for-6 FG, 1-for-4 3PT, 4-for-4 FT, two steals, three assists, two turnovers, 9 points, three rebounds

-Positives: Arch arguably had the best first half of the season against Rider, totaling seven points and a majority of his assists in transition. When the Wildcats were in the bonus, he knocked down all of his free throws without hesitation.

-Negatives: Arch was getting beat off the dribble many times when playing defense. I can count at least two or three times he was crossed up by opposing guards. He was inefficient in the second half, not hitting one shot from anywhere on the floor. Arch still has his gunner mentality. He attempted one three in transition, missed it and then Rider turned it over when they running the floor and he stayed down the other end, cherry-picked and missed another wide open shot. These things can't happen against better teams. Arch needs to stop playing selfishly. Worse part is, when he doesn't and moves the ball and has high IQ attempts, he hesitates and passes them up. But he still thinks he's playing well. Okay.

Josh Hart, Guard, Grade: (A+ | 9.9/10): 25 minutes, 7-for-8 FG, 3-for-4 3PT, 2-for-3 FT, five rebounds, one steal, three fouls, 19 points

-Positives: What didn't he do right? He even stayed humble in post-game when I asked him about his progression as a freshman

-Negatives: His three fouls kept him away from maybe another minute or two. Just being picky here. He was perfection.

Dylan Ennis, Guard, Grade: (C- | 6.9/10): 20 minutes, 2-for-8 FG, 1-for-5 3PT, 1-for-1 FT, four rebounds, two assists, two fouls, 6 points

-Positives: Attacked the rim when necessary creating a dribble drive that set up high IQ shots on the perimeter. He was aggressive when necessary and provided a strong defender on the perimeter when Arch, Bell or Hilliard were out of the game

-Negatives: He took too many shots. Even in practice on Friday Ennis was way too trigger happy without many shots falling. He constantly tried to push the envelope from the arc and just was scoring even coming off screens or stepping into 15 footers. Nothing was working for him. One of his worst performances this season.

Tony Chennault, Guard, Grade: (B- | 7.8/10): 17 minutes, 2-for-3 FG, 2-for-4 FT, one rebound, three assists, two fouls, 6 points

-Positives: though he didn't do much, it was Chennault's best game this season. Along with his six points, he was active defensively and did (in my opinion) the best job as far as controlling his teammates from the point guard position. There was specifically one play when Arch was calling for the ball two feet from Chennault and he told him to move and run a set play that resulted in a basket. That's where he was needed most.

-Negatives: Chennault is still Chennault at the end of the day. He was getting beat everywhere defensively. Though he attacked the cup with strength, he couldn't finish at the line, costing his team some points. Until he scores in double digits, he won't really do enough to warrant much more than a B of any kind.

Kris Jenkins, Forward, Grade: (F | 5/10): 14 minutes, 1-for-4 FG, 0-for-3 3PT, 2-for-2 FT, two rebounds, four fouls, four points

-Negatives: Jenkins played like crap. Point. Blank. Simple. Barely hit anything all game, was a liability on defense, nearly fouled out. If anything, he was perfect from the line on the only time he got there. Other than that, this was pretty miserable on his part.

#BenchMobb Grade: (A | 9.3/10): 6 minutes, 2-for-2 FG, 1-for-1 3PT, five points

-Positives: Five points in five seconds how could you not love it?

No. 8 Villanova Wildcats (B+ | 8.6/10):

-Positives: Outscored Rider's bench 40-7 and never let the Broncs take the lead or have any fast break points for the entire game. The Wildcats won the rebounding battle 39-27 over Rider and had another strong second half. Wildcats also shot fifty percent from the field for the game.

-Negatives: Early on defensively, the guards played horrible in man-to-man match ups. Arch was constantly getting beat off the dribble and Rider's guards easily attacked the rim or used dribble drive penetration to get high IQ looks from the arc, they just didn't fall. Anthony Stewart abused the front court and drew easy contact for fouls. The speed aspect of this team bodes a problem because if the guards can't defend Cuse's players on the perimeter, that might turn into a problem. Wildcats turned the ball over 12 times in a blowout, shouldn't be happening.

Head Coach Jay Wright (A- | 9.0/10):

-Positives: Wright was savvy against Rider all week. From the way he ran practice on Friday to the extra measures he took to make sure Rider couldn't outrun the Wildcats (nine-man rotation with consistent subs at every other whistle). He kept fresh players in at all times and did a better job, this week compared to others, of time management when it came to players. He also fed the hot hand. Pinkston and Hart were strong attacking the rim so in the second half coming out of breaks and inbound plays he ran some things to get them to the hoop. Smart play call all night by Jay.

-Negatives: He shaved his beard for one. But if there was one thing Jay didn't do Wright (see what I did there) it was leaving his starters in when they had foul trouble. Bell played a good chunk of the second half in foul trouble, especially early on when the game was still in single digits. I didn't like that move. He also (even though he said he would) kept letting Arch shoot even when he wasn't in a groove. He needs to be controlled going into a big game at Cuse, he can't keep chucking shots.

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