Oklahoma vs. Villanova Prediction – Who’s Got Next

    Oklahoma vs. Villanova prediction and preview. Who’s Got Next analyzes the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four matchup between the Sooners and Wildcats.

    March 27, 2016

    Oklahoma vs. Villanova prediction and preview. Who’s Got Next analyzes the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four matchup between the Sooners and Wildcats.

    How the Oklahoma Sooners got here

    The Sooners won the West Region as a No. 2 seed by knocking off No. 15 Cal State Bakersfield 82-68 in the first round, beating No. 10 VCU 85-81 in the second round, beating No. 3 Texas A&M 77-63 in the Sweet 16 and beating No. 1 Oregon 80-68 in the Elite Eight.

    Oklahoma’s Strengths

    Guard Buddy Hield might be the best player in the country, and he certainly proved his worth in the Elite Eight vs. Oregon. Hield played 39 minutes, scored 37 points and knocked down 13-of-20 shots overall, including 8-of-13 from 3-point range. When Hield is scoring like that, it’s nearly impossible for teams to beat the Sooners. Hield also is willing to go hard to the glass, and he draws so much attention that his teammates get open looks. Guards Jordan Woodard and Isaiah Cousins both can score and pass, and their quickness forces teams to scramble on defense. Forward Ryan Spangler is the best big of the bunch, and although he isn’t asked to score a lot with his back to the basket, his strength inside and ability to score on putbacks give OU plenty of second-chance opportunities. Head coach Lon Kruger is also undoubtedly a strength. He knows how to put together and implement a game plan, and he’s at his best in the postseason.

    Oklahoma’s Weaknesses

    When the Sooners lose, there’s no mystery about what went wrong. Oklahoma is primarily a jump-shooting team, and when shots aren’t falling or Hield is having a tough night, OU struggles to adjust. Hield is an amazing scorer, but he doesn’t always make a living at the free-throw line. Hield has gone just nine times in OU’s last two games, and that means Oklahoma can’t count on his relentless shooting to get opposing bigs into foul trouble. The Sooners’ lack of a consistent post scorer is an issue, too, especially vs. teams with good, long guards. Spangler is the team’s fourth-leading scorer, and fellow starter Khadeem Lattin clocks in at No. 5, but they combined to take just 406 shots this year—Hield took 569 alone, and both Woodard and Cousins attempted at least 345 a piece—which means there isn’t a post game for the Sooners. OU also can be a bit loose with the ball at times, and the lack of a rim protector on the defensive end can be a problem vs. teams that like to get to the bucket.

    How Oklahoma beats teams

    Oklahoma isn’t a racehorse team, but the Sooners like to push the tempo and keep opponents on their heels. When they get out in transition, the Sooners have a lot of weapons and can wear teams down by running at every opportunity. In the halfcourt, OU looks for a three as the first, second and third options. The Sooners knock down better than 42 percent of their shots from distance, which makes the long ball a weapon. Oklahoma also does a great job of closing games out by converting from the free-throw line. Hield is the catalyst, and when OU is successful, he plays within himself and is a leader.

    How Oklahoma gets beat

    When Hield gets into foul trouble or the guards are too sloppy with the ball, it creates a lot of problems for Oklahoma. Length and pressure have been issues for the Sooners this year, too, and when Oklahoma has to depend on its bigs to make an impact, Kruger’s guys get in trouble quickly.

    How the Villanova Wildcats got here

    The Wildcats won the South Region as a No. 2 seed by beating No. 15 UNC Asheville 86-56 in the first round, beating No. 7 Iowa 87-68 in the second round, beating No. 3 Miami (Fla.) 92-69 in the Sweet 16 and beating No. 1 Kansas in 64-59 in the Elite Eight

    Villanova’s Strengths

    Villanova is a team that gets something from every player on the floor, and there isn’t one star who has to be accounted for at all times. The Wildcats’ are balanced, they have good length, they don’t make many mistakes with the ball and might be the most consistent team in the country. Guard Josh Hart is Villanova’s top scorer, and he is at his best when he is aggressive with the ball. He can rebound and is a disruptive defender, and his quick hands create live-ball turnovers. Guard Ryan Archidiacono is a steady ball handler who doesn’t try to do too much but is always in the right position and is a leader on the court. He has a knack for drawing fouls, which creates foul problems for opponents in the backcourt. Forwards Daniel Ochefu and Kris Jenkins are a strong frontcourt with different skills. Ochefu is the banger, the muscle inside who gets to the boards and finishes through contact. Jenkins is more of a slasher, but he can knock down the open jumper and uses his length well on the defensive end. Guard Jalen Brunson is a nice complementary player who fills his role and doesn’t try to dominate.

    Villanova’s Weaknesses

    The Wildcats don’t have a dominating presence in the post, a big man who is unstoppable on the low block and uses his size to control the boards and protect the rim. This isn’t the deepest team around, either. Head coach Jay Wright has been going three deep on his bench for a while now, and that means fatigue could become a bit of a factor, especially in an uptempo game. And although Hart can create his own offense, nobody else on the roster really can do the same, which means Villanova has to be patient on offense and work for the open look. Foul trouble could create a huge issue for ‘Nova.

    How Villanova beats teams

    When Villanova is rolling, it’s because the Wildcats are balanced and wearing teams down mentally and physically by moving the ball and finding the open man. This isn’t a grind-it-out team by any means, but ‘Nova’s patience sets the team apart. This is also a team that plays tight, disciplined defense, and that allows the Wildcats to control the tempo. Forcing opponents to make mistakes is in Villanova’s DNA, and when they’re at their best, they rattle opponents.

    How Villanova gets beat

    Villanova doesn’t lose often, but when it does, it’s because the Wildcats’ defense loses focus or gets pulled out of its comfort zone. It happened vs. Providence and Xavier earlier this year, and Arcidiacono can’t lose his poise on the court. Foul trouble for him could create an issue, as well. Villanova also can struggle when its guards aren’t shooting the ball well because the lack of a consistent post scorer keeps the Wildcats from going inside and getting to the line.

    Oklahoma vs. Villanova Prediction

    Back on Pearl Harbor Day, Villanova took on Oklahoma in Honolulu, and the Wildcats were blown out of the gym because OU started knocking down threes. The Sooners made 14 triples that day, and although Hield was held to 18 points, Cousins counted with 19 points, six rebounds and 10 assists. That game was months ago, but look for Oklahoma to try to wear down Villanova’s guards with its quickness in the backcourt. Hield will get his looks, and OU’s speed is going to bother Villanova again. This one won’t be a blowout. It will come down to whichever team gets the best guard play, and the Wildcats don’t have anyone who can counter Hield. The Sooners will head to the national title game.

    Oklahoma vs. Villanova Final Score Prediction: Oklahoma 75, Villanova 70.

    MORE: The Best NCAA Tournament Coverage On The Web


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