March 16, 2017
A 16 seed is going to beat a No. 1 at some point, and Villanova's opening-round game against Mount St. Mary's gives me even more confidence that it will happen at some point. The Wildcats played a super tight first half, and the Mountaineers just weren't able to take advantage. 'Nova is moving on with a 76-56 victory over the Mountaineers, and the Wildcats will play the winner of the late game between Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.
We decided to go with the good, bad, ugly format we use for Eagles games. Here's what I saw:
• I thought Donte DiVincenzo did a nice job off the bench in the first half when the Wildcats were struggling, particularly on the defensive glass. The man that Gus Johnson calls "The Big Ragu" had eight rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, and he is quickly becoming one of Jay Wright's most consistent players.
He and Eric Paschall (4-4 FG) combined for 29 points on 13-19 shooting from the field.
• Jalen Brunson made sure that 'Nova went into the half with a lead, and the Wildcats made sure that Mount St. Mary's didn't have much hope out of the locker room. After this Eric Paschall dunk, Villanova led 40-31 and they were able to cruise from there:
• Josh Hart picked up a couple of early fouls, which obviously hurt Villanova in a big way. The Wildcats were oworking with a bigger margin for error in this game, but I would probably trust the Big East Player of the Year ("BEPOY" to his friends) to not pick up a lazy third foul there.
• Wright stuck strictly with a seven-man rotation, which meant no Dylan Painter. Does this mean that he doesn't trust the freshman big man or that Mount St. Mary's just didn't have the right personnel?
• Villanova won but it wasn't able to cover the 26.5-point spread. Good teams win, but great teams cover.
• If Villanova is going to advance in the tournament, Kris Jenkins is going to have to be better. The same guy whose shooting won the Wildcats a national title last year was barely grazing the rim in the first half. The sweet-shooting senior big man was 0-7 from the field in the first half. Overall, 'Nova was 1-9 from deep in the opening 20 minutes.
Jenkins finished 2-13 from the field.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann