March 25, 2016
The No. 2 Villanova Wildcats moved on to the South Region final with a resounding 92-69 win over No. 3 Miami. Up next is No. 1 Kansas, a matchup worthy of the national championship in the Elite 8. Cue the music:
Josh Hart can double as a press-row jumper pic.twitter.com/0ByBnmgezT— Andrew Joseph (@AndyJ0seph) March 25, 2016
• If there was one player that 'Nova would try to attack offensively, you figured it would be 5’11” Angel Rodriguez. Nope, Arcidiacono went right at Sheldon McClellan. Arch had 12 of the Wildcats’ first 20 points.
“There’s just times when he starts getting it going and I think everybody on the team feels like, ‘Hey, thank God Arch is taking this over,’” Wright told reporters in Louisville.
The manner in which the Wildcats’ early offense played out is probably a good sign moving forward. Instead of trying to attack the mismatch, they just kept playing through the hot hand. They truly don’t care whatever the other team is throwing at them. We will see if that changes against the top overall seed in the tournament.
• I have already linked to the video in two other posts, but Kris Jenkins’ three late in the first half was actually shot from Lexington. That is T.J. Sorrentine (Google it) distance right there from “Big Smooth.” As Wright said after the game, his range is extraordinary:
Jenkins gave 'Nova 35 minutes, which is especially significant after considering the strides he has made in terms of his fitness. The 6’6” junior came to the Main Line a few years ago as overweight, and even after shedding pounds, Jenkins’ stamina always played a factor during games.
According to Wright, it was only about midway through this year that all of this started to change.
“He really found his stamina, he found his stride,” Wright said. “He played defense consistently, rebounded consistently, so we could keep him on the floor. And he’s a great scorer.”
• At this point, it doesn’t seem as though Daniel Ochefu’s ankle will get back to 100 percent before the end of the tourney. The senior center tweaked his ankle again on Thursday, had to receive some attention, and then was able to gut out the rest of the game.
“I just tweaked it a little bit,” Ochefu told reporters. “I wasn’t that nervous, I knew I was going to get going… I knew as soon as the adrenaline started rushing, I would be good.”
It was a scary moment, but Ochefu was still able to dominate down low on offense with 17 points on 7-11 shooting. The Wildcats are really going to need Ochefu against Kansas’ frontline.
• Here is one thing I am confident in saying: Pressing 'Nova, a team with three legit point guards and good passers everywhere else in the rotation, won’t work:
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann