Saturday, February 23, 2013

Marquette Sings the Vander Blues

In winning 5 of their last 6 games, the Villanova Wildcats have applied a brand of physical defense that we're very accustomed to seeing in the Big East. Bodying up the opposition, harassing the guards as they bring the ball up the court and not letting opposing players get into the paint are just a few of the characteristics of Jay Wright's squad.

On Saturday evening, they applied those tactics to shut down one of the best scorers in the Big East.

Entering the contest, Vander Blue averaged 17.5 points. He likes to get into the lane, which helps create easy baskets for him and his teammates. If he's effective penetrating early, Blue can also start to get some open looks for his jumper. But his recent run of solid play came to an end Saturday.

This situational SnapCall asked players to predict which Wildcat would be tasked with guarding Blue for a five-play stretch in the first half. Ryan Arcidiacono guarded the Marquette playmaker for two plays on this sequence, but split duties with Darrun Hilliard, James Bell and Tony Chennault. 

The Villanova guards took turns bodying up and frustrating Blue. Coach Buzz Williams even saw fit to bench his star for a stretch at the end of the first half because he wasn't effective enough.

With Darrun Hilliard assuming a larger role in the offense, and with the defense starting to tighten up, a team like Villanova can easily become dangerous in March. Playmaking guards, athletic wings and shot-blocking bigs provide a solid foundation for a team looking to make a run in the tournament.

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