During Villanova’s run to the nationwide title in 2016, the Wildcats relied closely on a method that known as for a heavy dose of 3-point taking pictures.
In the NCAA match that yr, the Wildcats shot an unimaginable 50 p.c from deep and averaged 9.three three-pointers per sport. It’s why they lower down the nets.
To no shock, it has been extra of the identical since then. And for probably the most half, it has labored. The No. three-ranked Wildcats have been 55-6 since successful the title going into Wednesday’s sport at Providence and had made a minimum of 4 three-pointers in 83 straight games.
It was solely a matter of time, although, earlier than that streak got here to an finish. It lastly did Wednesday, because the Wildcats completed simply three-of-20 from 3-point vary in a 76-71 loss to the Friars — Providence’s second defeat in three games since beginning the season 22-1.
The Wildcats trailed for many of the sport and every time it appeared like they began to make a run, particularly in the second half, nobody was there to knock down a key three. Guard Phil Booth‘s absence since fracturing his proper hand late final month has clearly had an influence on their depth, however even with out him, games in opposition to St. John’s and Providence ought to wind up in the win column — no matter the place they’re performed.
Is it time to fear? Sure.
The worrying was justified greater than every week in the past, after they have been the No. 1-ranked workforce in the nation earlier than dropping to St. John’s. But and not using a clear-lower favourite, Villanova nonetheless figures to be one of many groups that may get scorching a make a run to the Final Four.
The Wildcats entered the sport averaging 11.5 made three-pointers per sport (No. three in Division I) and averaged 40.eight p.c from deep (No. four amongst main convention groups). If they’re ready to shoot shut to their common in March, they’re going to be superb.
Before Booth’s harm, the Wildcats have been already closely reliant on Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges, however their margin for error is smaller with out Booth. When Brunson and Bridges each fouled out inside 4 seconds of one another in the ultimate two minutes in opposition to the Friars, it was a wrap.
Of course, had Villanova merely hit a pair extra 3s, this sport may have completed otherwise and the dialog can be considerably totally different headed into Saturday’s key sport at No. four Xavier.