1) When Villanova plays with Hart and hits threes they are tough to stop
The Wildcats are one of the most balanced teams in the country, and when they are hitting their threes not many can keep up with them. Xavier is one of those teams that fell victim to Nova’s deadly three point shooting. The Wildcats hit 9-23 on the night and that opened up easier opportunities inside the paint as well.
Josh Hart, the Big East Sixth Man of the Year, had 15 points off the bench and seemed to provide instant energy every time he entered the game. Hart was named the Big East tournament Most Outstanding Player after producing three solid performances off the bench. He is first sixth man to ever win the conference tournament MVP. The player that currently has his starting spot, Dylan Ennis, was solid tonight as well leading Nova with 16 points. Tonight Daniel Ochefu struggled from the field after having a great semifinal game against Providence, but that did not affect the Cats in the slightest. Others step up like clockwork on this team, which is why they will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament.
“Very excited about it, we have never been here." Ennis said on the win, "We are excited for coach as well. To finally be able to give it to him it is exciting.”
On being listed with the likes of Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin and others who have won the MVP, Hart said, "It is an honor, definitely humbling to be in that list of guys.”
2) The Wildcats are a lock for a number one seed in the Tournament
With Villanova’s Big East title, they are a certain lock for a number one seed in the Big Dance. Last season, the Wildcats were upset by Seton Hall in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament, which cost them a one seed and dropped them to the two line. Villanova would be upset by the seventh-seeded Connecticut Huskies, who went on to win the title. They might not have even played UConn if they had reached the one line.
Percentage wise, the one seeds have much more success than the number two's so this is a big deal for Villanova, whether they will admit it or not. Nova is also coming into the tournament red hot so do not be surprise if you see them possibly playing deep into March and early April. It is certainly within reach for this team.
Nova Head Coach Jay Wright said about the win, "It is a thrill, this is my favorite tournament. This is where we are all from, to come in and play is thrill. To win it, it has no sunk in yet.” Wright added, “I am thrilled for these guys, they take pride in being part of the program.”
3) Stainbrook was not a factor, Musketeers' offense struggled throughout
After scoring 20 points and grabbing nine rebounds against a solid Georgetown team in the semifinals, Stainbrook really struggled throughout the championship game. He finished with four points, three boards and was kept in check by the likes of Ochefu in the paint.
"“We tried to keep fresh bodies on him and make it tough on him," Coach Wright said. Nova had multiple players like Hart, Ochefu and Pinkston switching out of him throughout the game, which helped to keep him in check.
Jalen Reynolds lead the way for Xavier with 13 points and four rebounds while showing us that with confidence he can play with anyone in the conference down. He has a great post presence and really got to work early in the second half.
Despite also getting some scoring from Dee Davis, for the most part Villanova’s defense stifled the offense for the Musketeers. Xavier had problem getting the ball to Stainbrook inside and had to settle for threes on many possessions in the first half, which is not part of the game plan for Coach Mack’s team. X went 2-15 from downtown in the game.
The Big East season fittingly ends with the most dominate and consistent team being crowned its champions. With likely six teams heading to the NCAA tournament, however, do not think the season is over. In many ways it is just getting started.