AJB: There are very little positives to say about this game. One thing we can say is Villanova stuck it out. They actually outscored Georgetown by 2 points in the second half! Ryan Arcidiacono's continued dependability is good to see. The Wildcats are a better team when he's shooting the ball well. He went 5-8 from the line, 4-6 from 3PT and 2-3 from the line. He was also the only Wildcat to break 20 minutes of playing time without turning the ball over multiple times (he had one turnover). Arch continues to handle and protect the ball for the Wildcats which is good, because on Monday night, nobody else was protecting the rock with any success.
EK: If I had to add onto Adam's point with another positive, and this is really grasping for straws here, the ‘Cats did a good job of getting to the foul line against the Hoyas. Nova went to the charity stripe a whopping 32 times, but converting was a whole other issue as the Wildcats shot just over 70 percent. On top of that, they didn't even get to the free throw line the most out of the two teams, as Georgetown shot 36 free throws as well.
AJB: Literally everything. The Wildcats just couldn't get much moving. They were outshot by 17%, outrebounded by 8 boards, out-defended, out-blocked 4 to 3 and lost the battle of steals 10-6. They did not win one important statistical category. The ‘Cats looked tired, coming off of only two days' rest after dropping Penn at the Palestra. This is the second time the Wildcats have dropped a game this season, but as opposed to the overtime heartbreaker in Newark, this game was simply a blowout.
So, what happened? It starts with the matchup. The Hoyas are about as bad of a matchup as Villanova will have in the Big East. They are longer than Villanova, but are also equally as athletic. The athleticism note is with the obvious exception of Joshua Smith, who makes up for his lack of athleticism with sheer mass and a pretty phenomenal touch around the rim. Villanova just could not deal with it at all.
JayVaughn Pinkston has got to learn how to play against teams with several taller players than him. He consistently has these problems. In games like this, big games, tournament games, he tends to disappear instead of figure out a new way to make an impact. His penetration game evaporates because he can't get shots off in the trees. He's savvy enough to get around one or two players on the court that are taller than him, but when a team like Georgetown can throw out Mikael Hopkins, Josh Smith and Reggie Cameron on the court at the same time, with them all at 6-foot-9 or higher, he struggles to find his game. He turned the ball over six times. That's not what you want from your senior leader.
The second biggest issue here was ‘Nova's defense. They just looked tired and slow to the ball. That moment, about six minutes into the game, where Villanova typically turns on their defense, creates a few turnovers and gets points off of said turnovers never came. They just floundered. The Wildcats failed to force more turnovers than their opponent for the third time this season. What were the other two you ask? Seton Hall had four less turnovers than the Wildcats in their January 3rd win, and Michigan won the turnover battle 13-11 in the Wildcats narrow, and now unimpressive victory.
If the Wildcats want to survive, they must bring it on the defensive end. With only two games in two weeks Jay Wright will have the opportunity to get in some substantial conditioning work along with some substantial rest to prep the Wildcats for their upcoming schedule which will feature a number of 1 and 2 day breaks between games.
Another interesting note, the Wildcats will face Georgetown on similarly short notice on Feburary 7th, after taking on Marquette at home on the 4th. They need to be ready, they need to bring it.
EK: Daniel Ochefu needs to get more shot attempts, plain and simple, especially against a bigger team that was giving the ‘Cats problems with its size. Ocehfu has been one of the most consistent scorers over the past couple of weeks or so, including the game where he saved them from a loss at Penn, but he got barely any shot attempts up against the Hoyas. On the game, he took only five total shot attempts and finished with only four points. Those are unacceptable numbers for your big guy who's established himself as an offensive force inside, and at times has been unstoppable. If the Wildcats want more success offensively going forward, Ochefu needs the rock early and often.