Wildcats desperately need a win | Villanova vs. St. John’s Recap + Villanova vs. Butler Preview
Written by David Szczepanski on January 27, 2024
The Wildcats lose their third-straight game in a blowout loss to St. John’s, 70-50. Villanova faced similar issues as in their first loss to the Red Storm earlier this month: bad inbounding, poor three-point shooting, and no answer for the full court press. They converted just 16% of their three-point attempts on Wednesday night. Eric Dixon was one the few bright spots for the Wildcats as he scored 16 points with eight rebounds.
The Red Storm shot 47% from the field and 26% from behind the arc. They outrebounded Villanova by 19 rebounds. Joel Soriano had an excellent second half, including some slam dunks, which gave him 21 points and nine rebounds against Villanova. St. John’s came into the game really struggling, and although their offense was not as efficient as in previous wins, it was clear that Villanova could not keep up with the full court press and shooting of the Red Storm.
Villanova did not get off to a bad start in the first half against the Red Storm. They made some early baskets, especially from Eric Dixon, but the Red Storm went on a run about midway in the first half to take the lead and they never looked back. The Wildcats had a few chances throughout the game to cut into St. John’s lead, specifically early in the second half when they trailed by just five points. However, similar to the first matchup between these rivals, the Wildcats really had no answer for St. John’s defense and never found consistency.
This loss to St. John’s was the worst game and loss of the season for Villanova. The Wildcats have had some other tough losses on this rollercoaster ride, but they just really did not seem ready to play against the Red Storm. With this loss, the Wildcats fall to 11-8 overall and 4-4 in conference play.
Another Chance to get into the Win Column against Butler
Villanova is really struggling in this toughest part of the schedule, and they desperately need to get back into the win column. They will have another chance to get a victory this afternoon against Butler in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Bulldogs started off the season well with some high expectations after finishing just 6-14 in conference play last season. However, they have not played at the same level against Big East competition with a 4-5 conference record and now 13-7 overall record.
All-Time Series Info + Villanova’s Struggles at Hinkle Fieldhouse
Villanova leads the all-time series against Butler, 16-6. However, the Wildcats have not had a whole lot of recent success at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indiana. They are just 5-5 against Butler at the Hinkle Fieldhouse since 2013.
Villanova vs. Butler Preview
Butler’s biggest wins came against Penn State, Texas Tech, and most recently, #11 Marquette. They have won their last two games by confidently defeating DePaul and Georgetown. The Bulldogs have bounced back this past week in those two wins after a 14-point loss to Xavier on January 16th. As a team, Butler is averaging almost 80 points per game. Their offense has been really effective for most of the season and is one of their strongest points of the team. Butler converts about 46% of their shots from the field and 35.7% from three. They also are a strong free throw shooting team at 78.8%.
Butler is average in terms of rebounding stats and turnovers. They average 37 rebounds per game and 10.5 turnovers. Villanova has fairly similar rebounding statistics, but they have a slight advantage over Butler in the turnover category.
Butler’s Players to Watch:
G Pierre Brooks: 16.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 44% three-point percentage, scored at least 20 points in his last three games
G Jahmyl Telfort: 13.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 17 points against Georgetown
G Posh Alexander: 11.4 ppg, 5.2 apg, scored at least ten points in his last five games
Some of Butler’s weaknesses are their defense, turnovers, and offense in the paint. Butler’s defense has not been very good or consistent this season, especially against Big East teams, so Villanova must take advantage and find offensive efficiency. Villanova had some troubles defensively in the paint against Marquette and St. John’s, but their defense should have an easier time today against Butler in the paint.
My Keys to the Game for Villanova
My keys to the game for a Villanova win are to prevent big runs from Butler, convert more three-point attempts, and get the ball to Eric Dixon. The Wildcats have allowed teams like St. John’s and UConn to go on multiple large runs during the game. They have to play better defensively and limit those crushing runs. The Wildcats made just 4 of 25 three-point attempts against the Red Storm. For a team that depends on three-point shooting, they cannot make just 16% of their attempts to win. Eric Dixon, who averages 15 points per game, scored 16 points with eight rebounds against Joel Soriano and the Red Storm. He did a really good job at both ends of the floor with a great effort against St. John’s, and against a team that struggles in the paint, Villanova should get him the ball a lot this afternoon.
Game Info + Villanova vs. #14 Marquette WXVU Coverage
Today’s game between Villanova and Butler begins at 3pm and can be watched on FS1. After this short one-game road trip, Villanova comes back home on January 30th for a battle against #14 Marquette. WXVU will have live coverage of Villanova vs. Marquette beginning at 6:30pm with the pregame show followed by tipoff at 7pm.