Second round action from Barclays Center in Brooklyn gave a pair of different contests. The first, a dominant performance. The grand finale, a nail biter with a finish for the ages.
Villanova 87 Iowa 68
Notre Dame 76 Stephen F. Austin 75
In game one, any drama was for all intents, over by halftime. Villanova enjoyed a commanding 54-29 lead and the Wildcats were not about to let up. They went on to post an 87-68 victory over Iowa, punching their ticket to the Sweet 16.
In a 69-possession game, Villanova enjoyed a 126-99 offensive efficiency advantage. The above average (limiting the Hawkeyes to a 99 OE) came on solid defense; they didn’t press their way. Iowa’s TO rate was a respectable 19%. Rather, it was good old textbook “D”. Iowa was limited to 39 percent eFG shooting. Fran McCaffrey’s group did manage to hit 20 of 36 (.556) inside the arc. Downtown was a different story: 7 of 24 (.292). Villanova, on their end, posted a 50 percent eFG percentage highlighted by 10 of 19 (.529) from long range. Case closed.
Kenpom “MVP” was Kris Jenkins. The 6-6 Junior scored 15 points while posting a 24 EF. Jenkins also had zero turnovers, 6 assists in 31 minutes. Overall, Jay Wright’s club put four in double figures spreading the wealth.
For Fighting Irish faithful the line of the day:
Rex Pflueger – 14 Mins. 2 points 1-2 (FG) 2 OR 1 A 1 TO
Translated to EF: 5
ER per minutes: .357
In Linton EF formula breakdowns this is an ‘average’ player. For ND, average turned out to be worth a lifetime memory.
Beyond the numbers, a trip to the Sweet 16. The 6-6 freshman scored on a putback with a tick of the clock left, allowing Notre Dame to survive Stephen F. Austin and advance.
Looking at this game overall, both teams were very efficient. In a 60-possession game, the offensive efficiency was an excellent 125 for each. No one is perfect, but the Lumberjacks were from the foul line, going 9-9. SFA managed only 39 percent eFG shooting to that of ND’s 51 percent. They compensated by forcing the Irish into a high 21 percent TO rate while showing an excellent 10 percent on their own end.
Once again the Kenpom MVP was not a scoring leader. Zach Auguste, Notre Dame’s 6-10 senior, scored 16 points, adding a game-high 15 boards (seven on the offensive end). Auguste turned in a neat 32 EF, an outstanding 1.03 per minute.
Special mention for SFA’s Thomas Walkup, ending his stellar career with a game-high 21 points. Walkup was 7-7 from the charity stripe, adding five assists and no turnovers. The EF was 32, at an excellent 1.00 EF per minute. It was a great way to cap off a memorable four years. Unfortunately, for Walkup and SFA, it seemed to end too soon.
Villanova is 31-5 while Iowa finishes 22-11. Notre Dame improved to 23-11 and Stephen F. Austin closed the books on a great campaign at 28-6.