The Sun’s Arizin: Villanova set for tempo battle with St. John’s

Happy Friday Nova Nation! Your Villanova Wildcats will host the St. John’s Red Storm this weekend in what might be the biggest contrast of styles college basketball has ever seen this year. Those Great East Rivals play at completely different ends of the spectrum when it comes to pace and tempo.

The St. John’s game is ridiculously fast. Not only is their adjusted tempo ranked 4th in the nation by KenPom, they also average the 3rd fastest possession length on offense at 14.6 seconds. The Johnnies are all about attacking on both sides of the ball, ranking 15th in Steal% and 16th in Turnover% in defense. They have one game this season with fewer than 71 possessions, and they’ll be looking to turn Saturday’s game with Nova into a sprint.

Meanwhile, Villanova ranks 356th in Adjusted Tempo, the 3rd slowest team in the nation. Their average possession time in attack is also in the bottom 10 nationally at a full 20 seconds. They are also one of the best teams in the country at not turning the ball over (11th in Turnover%) and preventing teams from stealing (5th in Steal%). So when we say we’re really going to have a style clash, we mean it.

This got me wondering how Villanova got away with controlling the tempo this year. The Wildcats currently have a WO. Tempo of 60.6, so I plotted that against their Adj opponents. Tempos and how many possessions have actually taken place in the 20 games this season:

Over the whole year, Villanova is doing a little better than his opponents in terms of mastering the tempo. The Wildcats have kept the game closer to their pace than their opponents in 12 of 20 games this season (60%), moving the needle off the average by about 2 possessions per game.

But lately, Villanova has really started to get good at slowing down play and keeping opponents on their toes. Villanova have won the tempo battle in their last seven consecutive games and are forcing teams away from the average pace of around 7 fewer possessions per game over this streak. To put that into perspective, the difference between the fastest and slowest teams in the country is only about 16 possessions. So to be able to vary that spectrum by almost half is a HUGE deal, and really shows how well the Wildcats have managed to control the pace of play.

In other news…

Villanova Men’s Basketball

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Villanova takes on St. John’s in an offensive vs. defensive battle. Can the Red Storm upset the Big East in this Big East game?

Future Wildcats

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Top international point guard Miro Little must decide between Indiana, Baylor and Villanova. It breaks down each school.

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Class of 2023 goaltender Miro Little of Finland has his final three expected schools of Baylor, Indiana and Villanova after being named officials at those three schools in January. Here’s the latest chatter about Little and his recruitment following those visits.

Great East

College basketball rankings: Providence climbs to the Top 25 and 1 after Jared Bynum’s late heroics against Xavier |
Jared Bynum hit a jumper just before the buzzer to lift the Brothers over the Musketeers

Villanova Women’s Basketball

Women’s Basketball to Host Butler for Friday Afternoon Game | Villanova University
Villanova returns to action on Friday afternoon when the Butler Bulldogs visit the Finneran Pavilion for a BIG EAST contest. The Wildcats enter the game 11-6 overall

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