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Hoops Preview: Villanova 2018

Hoops Preview: Villanova 2018 Brian November 14th, 2018 at 5:06 PM
[Bryan Fuller]

1985_villanova_logo.0THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #25 Michigan (2-0) vs
#6 Villanova (2-0)
WHERE Finneran Pavilion
Philadelphia, PA
WHEN 6:30 PM
LINE Villanova –7 (KenPom)
TV FS1

chance they use the same dang wildcat growl everyone else does: 82%.

THE US

Michigan faces its first test of the 2018-19 season tonight with a true road game in a band-box (the Pavilion is Yost-sized) against the defending national champions… or at least the bits of that team that aren't in the NBA. For Michigan, though, it's more about reassembling an offense in the absence of MAAR, Moe Wagner, and Duncan Robinson.

The parts look like they're there. The shots look like pretty good shots. Michigan's EFG% after two games is 320th. There is a strong probability that's not a thing. Now would be a good time to demonstrate that it's not.

THE LINEUP CARD

Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss ORtg SIBMIHHAT
G 5 Phil Booth Sr. 6'3, 194 75 23 151 No
Sixth man last year shot 53/38 on 18% usage with close to 1:1 A:TO. Did little in title game. X can probably lock him down.
G 24 Joe Cremo Sr. 6'4, 191 54 16 137 No
Albany grad transfer was go to guy; projects as Just A Shooter at high-major level. 46% last year.
G 2 Collin Gillespie So. 6'3, 183 54 17 153 No
So will hope to expand game after a Just A Shooter FR year where he hit 39% from deep. Major assist rate uptick against early season tomato cans. Still taking 2/3rds of his shots from behind the line.
F 15 Saddiq Bey Fr. 6'8 220 54 17 151 No
Composite #138 freshman is 4/6 from line, 2, and 3 so far this year.
F 25 Eric Paschall Sr. 6'8, 255 58 30 134 No
Stretch five was deadly from 3 last year after 1/27 start. 1/5 this year. Usage increase from 18 to 30 unsustainable. Did little in title game.
F 23 Jermaine Samuels So. 6'7, 220 51 23 105 No
4 MPG last year. 3/9 from 3 this year, ton of blocks against low-majors. #46 composite croot in 2017.
G 2 Jahvon Quinerly Fr. 6'1", 17 41 19 64 Maybe?
Composite 5* was #29 recruit last year. Early struggles: 43 TO rate, 2.9 from three.
C 2 Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree So. 6'9, 226 45 13 134 Yes!
Traditional-ish post player will allow comfy Teske matchups for his time on the floor.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]

THE THEM

He's gone. That other one is gone. Yes, he's gone too. And yes, the ginger assassin is also also also gone. Villanova isn't starting over quite from scratch but Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Omari Spellman, and Donte Divincenzo all took a national championship as their cue to hit the NBA. Nova could be damn near anything this year and it would make senses.

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stretch 5: check [Bryan Fuller]

The remaining rotation players are Collin Gillespie, who was a low-usage Just A Shooter off the bench as a freshman, versatile sixth man combo guard Phil Booth, and stretch big Eric Paschall. Despite the turnover things have gone swimmingly for the Wildcats in games against Morgan State and Quinnipiac, as they've scored 1.28 points per possession in both warmups. They've hit a bunch of twos (64%) and rebounded almost half their misses; their three-point shooting has been just okay at 35%. The former two things are unlikely to persist against a radically upgraded defensive unit.

Due to the blowouts and early season uncertainty, Nova's rotation is still up in the air. Only Booth has been on the floor for 60% of their minutes. So what follows might be blown away by circumstances. But here's a guess. Booth will be the de-facto PG, heavily relied on as the most experienced ball-handler available. Michigan will stick Simpson on him in an effort to muck things up. He's had a major uptick in usage and particularly shot% (18 to 28) in the early going; his assist rate is up to 25. He remains fairly comfortable inside and out but doesn't get to the line much.

Gillespie and Albany transfer Joe Cremo will get the bulk of the minutes at the 2 and 3. Gillespie's added some assists to his game early in the year but still looks like a guy who's not going to shoot much inside the line. Cremo was one of the top grad transfers available this offseason after a 24% usage/120 ORTG junior year that featured 46% shooting from deep. How that transfers is anyone's guess but his usage has dropped to 16% and he's attempted just one two so far vs 10 threes. He looks like an (incredibly efficient) Just A Shooter at the high-major level.

Five-star freshman Jahvon Quinerly may pop his head in from time to time but this might be too early for him; he's had a ton of TOs to open his career and has basically only taken threes.

Paschall has thrived against low-majors by getting to the free throw line a ton and dunking on people; that's likely to come to a screeching halt against Jon Teske. Michigan's question is whether Teske can keep up on the perimeter. They got away with seven Teske minutes last year; they'll have to either deal with him getting pulled to the perimeter or go small-ball with Livers. Given the lack of drivers that it appears this edition of Villanova has, Michigan will probably try the former.

The four-spot is going to be a blizzard of different guys but most frequently freshman Saddiq Bey. Bey is just inside the top 150 on the composite and has shot well to start the season. Sophomore Jermaine Samuels and freshman Cole Swider—a familiar name—will also drop in from time to time.

One thing to watch for will be Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree minutes. Cosby-Roundtree is the only rotation player who can be left alone on the perimeter and is coming off an 11% usage season; he mostly just flushes off other folks' assists. His minutes will be comfortable for Teske, who can protect the rim and rebound without worrying about getting rained on.

THE TEMPO-FREE

Not a whole lot to draw from super early-season games against low-majors. Villanova's stats from last year were bonkers, of course, but there's been so much turnover that their relevance is dubious. 

THE KEYS

Prevent launches. This was the first key from last year's game and nothing's changed except the reduced threat Villanova poses inside the arc without a post-up point guard and various first round NBA draft picks. More than half of their shots are coming from three, and their excellent performance inside the arc so far is probably an artifact of their competition that Teske will thunk.

Hit a shot! HIT A SHOT. This was the second key from last year's game and nothing's changed except Moe Wagner and Duncan Robinson went to the NBA and MAAR is busy staring at people in… [googles] the G-League. It is not news that 20% three point shooting, which is what Michigan has averaged to date, will not get it done. The good news, such as it is, is that shooting is unsustainably terrible.

Look at all like you did last year? Worrying that Zavier Simpson has attempted just two shots inside the arc this year, and five outside of it. The offensive regression from Michigan's returners is team-wide and weird. Team Just A Thing faces a test tonight.

THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES

Villanova by 7.

Blue_In_Texas

November 14th, 2018 at 5:22 PM ^

A funny/sad story. I was at the Final 4 this year and at the beginning of the second half of this game my gf went and got me a  literal snickers because I was cursing and yelling and too angry and "too drunk" about Divincenzo destroying us. She thought it would calm me down like in the commercials. Joke's on her because it just gave me more energy to continue being angry and belligerent.   

Profile picture for user FrankMurphy

FrankMurphy

November 14th, 2018 at 5:25 PM ^

Hoping we can get revenge. 2013 still stings more than 2018 though. We had a very slim chance against that Villanova team from the get go. They were loaded with talent and firing on all cylinders. We could have played them 25 times and Villanova would have won 22 or 23. 2013 was a different matter, however. We played a competitive game against an staggeringly dirty program that turned on a handful of plays (at least one of which was a clean block that was called a foul). I'm still bitter over that one. 

Profile picture for user Jmer

In reply to Hoping we can get revenge… by FrankMurphy

Jmer

November 14th, 2018 at 5:43 PM ^

I have the same line of thinking. 2013 hurt. Still does. Last year, after winning the B1G tournament and the Jordan Poole miracle in the round of 32, the rest of the way felt like playing with house money. The loss still hurt last year but it was easy to see we didn't have the best team in the country and Nova was a deserving champion. 

Profile picture for user Brian Griese

In reply to Hoping we can get revenge… by FrankMurphy

Brian Griese

November 14th, 2018 at 5:52 PM ^

The good guys got revenge against Louisville the next time they played them. Maybe the same will hold true tonight. 

Profile picture for user His Dudeness

In reply to Hoping we can get revenge… by FrankMurphy

His Dudeness

November 14th, 2018 at 7:08 PM ^

Staggeringly dirty? As opposed to just horribly dirty Duke, UK, UNC, Syracuse, MSU and Kansas? Lol the whole damn sport is staggeringly dirty. 

TrueBlue2003

November 14th, 2018 at 5:53 PM ^

I think some of the offensive regression is due to Ms first two opponents running zone against them and their subsequent inability to hit the wide open threes that inevitably resulted. 

Zone means no pick and rolls and hence, it's a lot tougher for Z to get much in the paint.  It reduces him to being a guy that drives into the trees and draws two defenders and then kicks for assists since a zone is going to have a guy waiting for him at the rim no matter what the perimeter action is.

And while the makeup of this team (few shooters) is going to make it very susceptible to zones such that it could see an uptick in teams playing zone, the top teams that are steadfast in their man-to-man defense like the MSUs, Purdues and OSUs of the world aren't going to zone M just as they didn't last year.

I'm not sure if Nova has a change-up zone that they'll run but if they don't you should see Z and Matthews running some pick and rolls finally.

The most worrying thing, by far to me, is Jordan Poole's lack of impact and low usage.  Missed shots are one thing, not worried about that. But his usage has plummeted to 16% of possessions and only 12% (!!!) of shots while on the floor.  That he's not overtaken Matthews as the secondary creator (like MAAR eventually did last year) is worrisome.

Profile picture for user cheesheadwolverine

cheesheadwolverine

November 14th, 2018 at 6:37 PM ^

Feels like things have been oddly quiet about this.  I mean neither team is the same but it’s still an early season national title rematch.  You’d think it could get a bit more national media attention.

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Hotel Putingrad

November 14th, 2018 at 7:13 PM ^

I don't think Villanova will win by 7

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burtcomma

November 14th, 2018 at 7:24 PM ^

Revenge tour for men’s basketball starts tonight!😉

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