When you think about this, we should have seen this coming.
The Ohio State Buckeyes hosted the Villanova Wildcats Wednesday night in the Gavitt Games, and the Buckeyes came away with a dominant 76-51 wire-to-wire victory.
Why should we have all expected it? Two reasons!
- In the years where Villanova actually loses nonconference games, they make the loss count. Syracuse in 2013-14, Oklahoma and Virginia in 2015-16, Michigan and Kansas last year (and Furman and Penn, but those are outliers), the Wildcats get challenged early in the season and Jay Wright’s system isn’t fully in place yet. You can generally make it work if you have a point guard like Jalen Brunson running things, but when you don’t, it gets ugly.
- Ohio State is coached by Chris Holtmann, who was the only coach in the Big East to sweep Wright’s Villanova teams since conference realignment, doing such in 2016-17. Holtmann has Villanova’s number
Back to Wednesday night’s game, it was a runaway from the start. Ohio State hit three threes in the first 90 seconds to take a 9-0 lead, and they kept building and building. They led 19-3 at the first media timeout. It’s hard to come back from that, no matter who your coach is. Villanova had to try and get back in the game with three-pointers, and went just 3-12 in the first half to trail by 18 going into the break.
As shown by the final score, the second half was more of the same. Nova’s shooting improved a touch (7-18 from three-point range in the second half, seven of Villanova’s 11 made field goals were threes), but it was not nearly enough as Ohio State cruised to victory.
The Buckeyes looked a lot like Villanova of a few years ago, getting double-digit scoring outputs from five players, and leading scorer Duane Washington Jr. finishing with just 14 points. When you’re spreading the ball around and knocking down shots, good things will happen.
Jermaine Samuels finished with a team-high 14 points for Villanova. The Wildcats fall to 1-1 on the year and will host Ohio on Saturday.