Villanova Wildcats (Overall: 31-3, Conf: 15-3)
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The reigning national champions Wildcats, who are +800 to repeat, enter the championship week operating one of the most efficient offenses in college basketball. Jay Wright’s Wildcats are seventh in Division I ball in field goal shooting percentage (49.6%). They shoot a lot of threes (23.7 attempts per game) and makes 8.7. Their ability to spread opposing defenses have given Josh Hart and company wider lanes towards the basket, as evidenced by Villanova’s 72.8 shooting percentage at the rim. Although guys like Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu are gone, there remains a ton of experience for the Wildcats with players like Hart, Jalen Brunson, and Kris Jenkins no strangers to going deep in the Big Dance.
Villanova’s key players can’t have off nights in the tournament. The team has a shallow bench with five players averaging 0.5 PPG or fewer riding it. The Wildcats have a short rotation and as noted by The Ringer’s Mark Titus, reaches just “six guys deep”. While the Wildcats are 20th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 63.1 PPG, it belies the team’s soft interior defense. The Wildcats average just 3.0 blocks per contest and swat away only 11.9% of their opponents’ shots at the rim. The team truly misses Daniel Ochefu and the rim protection he brought last season, which hasn’t been replicated by any one on the Wildcats team.
|Points Per Game||77.5||63|
|Rebounds Per Game||33.4||270|
|Blocks Per Game||3.0||199|
|Free Throw Percentage||79.8%||2|
Villanova (+800) makes the Sweet 16.
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