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This is going to be an exhilarating game between two ranked teams with high-powered offenses. Tennessee is strong and has some scorers and depth, but Villanova has a stronger starting five that will outscore Tennessee.
Villanova defeats Tennessee 83-75
|Jay Wright||Head Coach||Rick Barnes|
|2-1 (0-0, 10th in Big East)||Standing||2-0 (0-0, 7th in SEC)|
Leaders (Per Game)
|J. Moore (19.0)||PPG||K. Chandler (18.0)|
|E. Dixon (6.0)||RPG||O. Nkamhoua (11.0)|
|C. Gillespie (3.7)||APG||K. Chandler (5.0)|
|C. Gillespie (1.7)||SPG||Josiah-Jordan James (3.5)|
|J. Samuels (0.3)||BPG||Josiah-Jordan James (2.0)|
|B. Slater (.667)||FG%||K. Chandler (.684)|
|E. Dixon (.1000)||3P%||K. Chandler (.857)|
The Wildcats have momentum from their last win against the Howard University Bison, but more importantly, they have a very well-rounded starting five that can all score. Guard Justin Moore is averaging 19 points through the first three games, and Collin Gillespie, Brandon Slater, and Jermaine Samuels are averaging 17.3, 16.7, and 16 points a game. Villanova will be a tough team to beat if those four starters average 69 combined points a game.
The Villanova starters are excellent shooters from the field, the three-point line, and the free-throw line. Villanova was a perfect 26/26 in their win against Howard.
The one problem is that the Villanova bench has struggled to score in their limited minutes. So the Tennessee defense has to limit the starters scoring to have any chance to win.
Tennessee has two notable advantages in this game. First, they have a home-court advantage, and second, they have momentum from their last two wins. Those wins have come against Tennessee-Martin and Eastern Tennessee State (both mid-major teams), but a win is a win.
Tennessee has four starters (Kennedy Chandler, Olivier, Nkamhoua, Santiago Vescovi, and Justin Powell) scoring in double-digits through their first two games. Still, Tennessee depends on their bench a lot more than Villanova. Their starters are playing over five minutes less a game than Villanova’s starters. That means that they are not putting as much burden on their starters. That is good because if one or two starters are not scoring, they can rely on a bench player to hit some shots.
The bench will need to figure out how to defend a Villanova starting lineup that plays over 30 minutes a game.
The Wildcats have a few key players, but Justin Moore leads the pack and has come out as Villanova’s leading scorer. The 6’4” guard from Fort Washington, Maryland, is averaging 19 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.3 steals a game in 32 minutes.
He is also hitting over half of his shots. Moore suffered an ankle injury before March Madness last season but has come back stronger than ever. The Tennessee defense will have to figure out a way to stop him and his sweet shooting.
There were a few options to pick from, but junior forward Olivier Nkamhoua came out as the frontrunner. The big man from Helsinki, Finland, is averaging a double-double through his first two games with 17 points and 11 rebounds. He is a bonafide scorer who can hit threes and shots from the field. He also brings a defensive presence with his one block and 1.5 steals a game.
Nkamhoua is excelling in all parts of the game, and that makes him very hard to stop. With that being said, if the Villanova defense can figure out how to limit his scoring, their night should be much easier.
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|#5 Villanova Wildcats vs #17 Tennessee Volunteers|
|Teams||Wildcats vs Baylor|
|Location||Thompson Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee|
|Time||Saturday, November 20, 1 PM EST|
|How to Watch||ESPN News|
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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