Another bad post to write. Made altogether worse by the fact that I couldn't see it in person.
First of all the number that sticks out is 60, as in the percentage of shots Villanova made from the floor tonight. Part of the blame has to go to the defense. No matter how many playmakers the opposing team may have, ND cannot allow anyone to shoot that high a rate and expect to win. Of course, Villanova must get a lot of credit for a complete offensive performance. Defense has been a staple of Irish success this year and the Wildcats were red-hot all night long. You can bet the farm no one will shoot 60% against the Irish again this year.
On the offensive front, Russell Carter started hot, went through a cold streak, but finished with 9 of 19 shooting. He did plenty from the offensive standpoint and scored 26 to lead the Irish.
Colin Falls stepped up in a pressure situation and came through in a big way. His 17 points are the most he's gotten in Big East play. Colin made half of his three point attempts, but did finish the night with four fouls. He will be needed to provide the same kind of performance consistently as the year goes on.
Tory Jackson had a bit o' trouble with the ballhandling. Four turnovers is a little high for a point guard, but he did finish with six assists. He needs to cut down on the mistakes to make up for the lack of offensive firepower he displays (1-4 from 3), though he did add 9 points on the night.
Kurz was solid, but needed to play a bit better. The Irish were outrebounded 30-22. Kurz added 7 to that total, and scored 11. He did leave a lot on the plate. 3-9 shooting is never good for a big man, especially if that player has five opportunities for second chance points.
Harangody scored 13, but only grabbed five boards. It was his longest time on the floor all year, but he only achieved his per game averages. Every game in the Big East will be a learning experience in physical play for the young man, and there is plenty for him to pick up from tonight. He did shoot pretty well inside, making 5 of 8.
Hillesland was limited with four fouls and wasn't able to provide his usual spark off the bench. Peoples played great defense, with four steals, but offensively lacked some control. Ryan Ayers made a three pointer and grabbed one rebound in 12 minutes. Luke Zeller stayed on the bench again for most of the night.
Overall, a tough loss in one of the toughest road environments in the conference. The offensive output would have won most games, but allowing 102 to a home team is unacceptable. Of course, all expectations have changed this season. A year ago, a road loss like this is predicable. Now, any loss has people asking "What went wrong?"
Sunday (USF) provides a good chance to put things back on track, with a road game against St. John's also coming before the rematch with 'Nova at the Joyce. Overall record, 15-3, 3-2 in Big East play. Time to get some more wins and seal up that at-large bid.