Villanova Basketball 2022-23 recreation preview: Oklahoma Sooners

Villanova and Oklahoma confronted off twice within the 2015-16 season however each packages have gone by means of a whole overhaul since. Each groups misplaced legendary coaches – Villanova’s Jay Wright and Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger. Oklahoma employed former Loyola-Chicago coach and NCAA Event Cinderella, Porter Moser, whereas Villanova employed long-time assistant, Kyle Neptune.

Villanova and Oklahoma confronted off within the 2015-16 season in one other early-December matchup. Though Oklahoma defeated Villanova by 23 factors on December seventh, 2015, Villanova performed 40 nice minutes of Villanova basketball – it simply ran right into a buzzsaw in Oklahoma who was drilling photographs from the emblem all evening.

The second Villanova-Oklahoma matchup of the 2015-16 season is when issues got here full-circle for a Villanova workforce who took delight in enhancing on a regular basis. April 2nd, 2016 was a frenzy for Villanova followers — Villanova dominated Oklahoma 95-51 within the Closing 4 en path to the 2016 championship.

This can be their first assembly since then.

This 12 months’s Villanova workforce has a whole lot of work to do in the event that they plan on reaching the identical success later this season. Then again, Oklahoma has seemed stable this season after a gap evening blemish to Sam Houston State. Oklahoma enters this matchup after redeeming themselves by profitable the ESPN Occasions Invitational defeating Nebraska, Seton Corridor and Ole Miss alongside the best way.

Villanova (2-5) and Oklahoma (6-1) will face off Saturday at 12:30 pm ET. The Wildcats welcome the Sooners to the Wells Fargo Middle in South Philadelphia as a part of the Massive 12-Massive East Battle. If you cannot make it there in particular person, the sport can be on CBS.

Forward of the matchup, let’s spotlight what Oklahoma has executed proper throughout their six recreation profitable streak and what the Wildcats should enhance heading into December.

Groups on Completely different Ends of the Spectrum

Oklahoma and Villanova come into this matchup with two polar reverse feelings — Oklahoma is driving the excessive of profitable three video games in 4 days, whereas Villanova is seeking to flip issues round after shedding three video games in 4 days.

“It is the joy on their face to win a championship,” Moser mentioned of his gamers, after profitable the match. “These guys locked in for these final 4 days, and I used to be completely satisfied for them to have this second.”

Oklahoma has skilled early-season success as a result of their balanced offensive assault and stifling protection.

​​”Once you win a championship that is three video games in 4 days… you want a whole lot of contributions,” head coach Porter Moser mentioned. “And that is what occurred, which actually excites us over these final 4 days. We received a whole lot of contributions from totally different guys.”

Oklahoma is led by Senior Grant Sherfield, averaging 15.6 factors and 5.0 assists per recreation, whereas taking pictures 46% from three. Together with Sherfield, the Groves brothers, Tanner and Jacob, transferred to Oklahoma from Japanese Washington final season to play for Moser.

Tanner, who dropped 35 factors towards Kansas within the 2021 NCAA Event, is averaging 10.7 factors, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per recreation, whereas Jacob is averaging 8.6 factors per recreation and taking pictures 40.9% from three.

Oklahoma’s high defender, Jalen Hill, shoots 52.8% from two-point vary and averaged 10 factors per recreation in the course of the ESPN Occasions Invitational. Bijan Cortes, who missed time with a concussion, had a breakout recreation within the championship recreation scoring the groups’ closing seven factors.

Oklahoma has allowed greater than 60 factors in a recreation solely as soon as this season and rank twenty second in KenPom’s defensive rankings. The Wildcats will definitely have their arms full on each ends of the courtroom on Saturday.

Villanova Has Main Holes to Fill

To ensure that Villanova to show issues round this season, they want two issues to occur: they want Cam Whitmore and Justin Moore to get wholesome they usually want the underclassmen to step up forward of schedule.

Projected high 10 NBA choose, Cam Whitmore, must be able to go any week now, in line with preliminary projections from present process thumb surgical procedure in early October. It’s even attainable for Whitmore to go well with up for the Oklahoma recreation, which can be a much-needed enhance for the Wildcats.

Then again, Moore continues to be recovering from a torn Achilles suffered final 12 months within the Elite Eight recreation towards Houston. There isn’t any agency timetable on Moore’s return and it will not be a shock if he missed your entire season.

Though Brandon Slater and Caleb Daniels didn’t play their greatest ball within the PK85, the veteran guards are key to Villanova’s success this season.

A typical Villanova workforce at all times makes the additional move for an open shot. Because of Justin Moore’s damage, Villanova has not had a guard constantly able to creating these open seems. Chris Arcidiacono by no means appears to make errors mentally, however he performs too slowly to place the strain Villanova wants on opposing defenses.

Even within the La Salle recreation the place Villanova seemed nice, there was not a whole lot of ball motion or penetration — Villanova completed the sport with solely 13 assists. Mark Armstrong seemed snug within the Oregon recreation, whereas Angelo Brizzi noticed a lower in minutes with freshman Brendan Hausen breaking out, scoring a season-high 15 factors.

To ensure that Villanova to have any hopes of constructing a postseason run, Armstrong, Brizzi and Hausen are going to want to develop up shortly and turn out to be true Villanova guards.

Villanova Should Enhance on the Glass

Oklahoma is a workforce that has a ton of dimension with three rotation gamers measuring 6-foot-8 or taller. In the meantime, Brandon Slater and Eric Dixon are the 2 tallest rotation gamers for Villanova — each 6-8 forwards.

Villanova’s 6-foot-9 ahead Trey Patterson has seen his minutes diminish over the previous few video games and didn’t play within the loss towards Oregon.

Villanova has struggled mightily on the glass this season getting out-rebounded in all however two video games this season. The 2 video games the Wildcats weren’t outrebounded, they narrowly edged La Salle by one rebound and tied Portland on the glass, however misplaced to the Pilots. The Wildcats had their worst efficiency on the glass of their final recreation towards a wounded Oregon workforce, permitting 16 offensive rebounds and 42 whole rebounds.

“We do not fear concerning the dimension, we delight ourselves on with the ability to rebound with anybody and play with anybody,” Neptune mentioned after the Oregon loss.

It’s a disgrace that this must be mentioned, however to ensure that Villanova to show issues round this season, they have to enhance all of the areas a Villanova basketball participant takes delight in: rebounding, workforce protection, guard-play and three-point taking pictures . Saturday’s battle towards Oklahoma is Villanova’s final alternative this season to select up a robust non-conference win.

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