Home > Uncategorized > Foul problem goes both ways for Nova

Foul problem goes both ways for Nova

With five off days following Villanova’s loss on Monday to UConn there is plenty of time to dissect everything that went wrong. The defense has fallen under the most scrutiny as the Huskies dominated the second half. The most troubling aspect of the defense is that despite leading by just one after halftime the Huskies needed just 15 shots from the field in the second half to break open the game.

Fouls by Villanova were the major reason for this, and most of them were not smart fouls at all. It highlights a disturbing trend that has attributed to their woes on defense:

  • In its last four games Villanova has committed 38, 24, 23 and 30 fouls. Those fouls have sent its opponent to the free throw line 159 times during that span.
  • In the team’s previous 21 games, it committed 23 or more fouls seven times. In the last four games it has reached that total every single time.
  • When Villanova commits 30 or more fouls, its record is 1-2. When it commits less than that, it is 21-1.

Winning 95 percent of the time the Wildcats commits less than 30 fouls is impressive. Even in the Big East, there is no reason to reach more fouls that that.

Along the lines of the foul disparity, allowing teams to shoot so many free throws has hurt Villanova and inflated its points allowed.

  • In Villanova’s last six games, opponents have attempted at least 30 free throws in five of them. The team is 4-2 during this span.
  • Overall, the Wildcats are 10-2 when their opponent attempts 30 or more free throws and 12-1 when they do not.

While fouling the other team has Villanova struggling to get defensive stops, perhaps its greatest problem is creating its own free throw attempts. Early in the season, Villanova excelled at getting to the free throw line, but since Big East has began, that success has been more sporadic.

  • Villanova has gotten to the free throw 24 or more times in just seven of its last 16 games.
  • Why is that significant? The Wildcats are 15-0 this season when it gets to the free throw line that many times and just 7-3 when they do not.

Getting to the free throw line 24 times in a game is not an astronomical number, and with the team’s aggressive guards, Villanova should be around that number every single game.

While limiting their own fouls is clearly a problem that needs to be corrected, perhaps not settling for jump shots on offense and being more aggressive is the key to the team’s success. Villanova might need to make their foul problem, their opponent’s problem.

-David Cassilo

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