That Last Minute Was a Doozy
Up 49-33 at the half, the Wildcats appeared to have shot their way out of the nasty 4-6 run over their last 10 games, which included a four game losing streak. Though Mouphtaou Yarou took a bad spill and left the game at the 4:58 mark of the first half, but even with that bad turn of events, the Wildcats seemed to have the boards and game flow under control. The second half reversal, one which saw the Bulls outscore the Wildcats by 17, 37-20, and win by a point on Anthony Crater's coast-to-coast run with 0:05 on the clock...was stunning.
The Athletic Department website posted the official boxscore and the AP wire story, "Villanova Falls Just Short...". The breakdown by halves...
|Opponent:||University of South Florida|
Fast or Slow? Good Offense = Good Defense?
A few posters in the 'Nova Nation wanted to know why the 'Cats "took the air our of the ball" in the second half. The two halves however showed the number of possessions varied by one -- maybe two -- between the two halves. Ex Wake Forest head coach Dino Gaudio suggested at one point that Coach Wright wanted to slow the game down, win big and do some confidence building for a squad that, at this point, must be seeing shadows. Pomeroy shows this game as one of the three lowest possession games this season. Villanova scorched the Bulls for 1.72 points per possession in the first half (the 172.2 in the Rating row, first half column is points per 100 possessions...). That conversion rate was unsustainable over the course of a 40 minute game for any team not named Notre Dame. The overlooked number -- 115.9 -- was South Florida's conversion rate, about 1.16 points per possession. That is a reasonable offensive output, about 0.13 points above the conference average, and tells the reader the 'Cats were ahead by virtue of an unsustainable offensive outburst, not because they had throttled the offensively challenged Bulls, nor because they a produced combination of good offense and good defense. The Bulls' shot conversion rate (eFG%) was, at apporoximately 52% for each half, consistent over the course of the game. By cutting down on turnovers and getting after their misses in the second half, the Bulls were able to hang with the 'Cats and chip away at the lead Villanova built in the first half.
For South Florida, Villanova becomes win number 10 in a 10-22 (so far) season. The Bulls face Cincinnati in Round #2 of the Big East Tournament. Villanova's record drops to 21-11, as the seniors, most from metropolitan New York City, play their last game in Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats wait for Selection Sunday to find out where they play next.