Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Morning News: Oklahoma Routs Villanova And James Daniel's Buzzer Beater

Possibly the best player in the country, yet only diehards know his name.
Oklahoma Routs Villanova This game between two teams likely to spend most of the season ranked in the Top Ten was unfortunately not too competitive. And it does seem like we're headed for another season of the "Sure Villanova destroyed the Big East, but they haven't beaten anybody and so they're going to fail early in the NCAA Tournament" narrative. Oh well.

That said, this game was closer than the final score. Villanova relies heavily on threes, and they shot an atrocious 4-for-32 here, while Oklahoma was a white hot 14-for-26. Villanova actually had a 30-to-20 advantage in points in the paint, as well as an advantage at the free throw line. Outside shooting has been a problem for Villanova this season. They take 50.4% of their shots from behind the arc and are hitting an atrocious 28.6% of them so far, down from 38.9% last season. How real is that decline? Almost across the board, guys are shooting threes worse than last season. Josh Hart is down from 46% to 31%, Phil Booth is down from 49% to 28%, Kris Jenkins is down from 37% to 29%. In other words, Villanova's shooting will probably improve. Maybe not back to where it was last season, but it should be good enough for them to be a legitimate Top 5 team in the nation.

As for Oklahoma, this win pushed them past Villanova for the #1 overall spot in the Pomeroy ratings. They are 6-0 with blowout wins over Villanova and Wisconsin, so it's hard to really argue with that too much. They will open up Big 12 play with a flurry: Playing at home against Iowa State and then on the road at Kansas. Sweep those two games and they'll be the Big 12 favorites.

Howard Wins On A Buzzer Beater North Carolina Central had won 38 straight home games and 32 straight regular season MEAC games, so it was going to take a mighty effort for Howard to steal this game. They got fluky 12-for-19 three-point shooting, but even that was only enough to tie the game up in the closing seconds, when James Daniel did this:
NC Central dominated the MEAC the past two seasons, but after losing four of five starters to graduation, it was always going to be a wide open league this season. They are in the mix again, but so is Howard, and so are several other teams. Trying to pick a favorite at this point is difficult.

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