Villanova looked great at home against Xavier Wednesday night, earning the win by a score of 88-75. This was never a very close game, as Villanova started bombing threes early and took a 20 point lead multiple times in the first half. The closest the game ever got was a 10 point game about halfway through the second half. When these two teams play at Cintas, however, this should be a competitive matchup.
Here are three things we learned from Villanova's win:
1. Villanova is better than last year
Last year, Villanova was a very good team and ended up getting a two seed in the NCAA Tournament. They have added a good freshman class, and they have not lost any starts from last year. The MO of this year's Villanova team is balance. Wednesday night Villanova had five players score more than ten points, and they had four players with three or more assists. It is hard to believe that just last year Creighton came in and destroyed Villanova at home via the three ball, I don't see anything like that happening again. Look for Villanova to get a number two, or even one seed, in this year's tournament if they continue to play this well.
2. Xavier must find their toughest warriors
Wednesday night, Xavier's starting lineup was far different than every other game this season. There was no James Farr and No Remy Abell in the starting lineup. Instead, Chris Mack started freshmen Larry Austin Jr. and J.P. Macura. It is becoming more and more clear that coach Mack will not give minutes to players who do not play defense and do not "bring it" to practice every day. Hopefully the Muskies respond to this and pick up their intensity before they play their way out of the tournament. Don't expect the Xavier starting five to be set in stone for the rest of the year.
3. Xavier can play with Villanova in the paint but not the perimeter
Wednesday night, Villanova shot 15-of-34 from deep putting them at a percentage of right about 44 percent. Villanova put in at least eight of those threes in the first half, effectively putting away the Muskies for the rest of the game. However, Xavier did have an advantage in the paint, and Matt Stainbrook actually had a very good game, posting a stat line of 17-5-1. Jalen Reynolds also had a good game, pulling down five boards to complement his 14 point performance. If Xavier can guard the perimeter next time they see the Wildcats in Cincinnati, this game could be far different. Xavier has already taken out ranked opponents in Georgetown and Seton Hall at home, so, if they can add Villanova to that list it will be a huge boost of confidence and improve their resume