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Barclays Box Score breakdown: Cats and Irish are Sweet Sixteen

March 23, 2016 Columns No Comments

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.

The scores:

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.

The place where many got to the Barclays Center for Sunday's doubleheader via the subway (Ray Floriani photo)

The place where many got to the Barclays Center for Sunday’s doubleheader via the subway (Ray Floriani photo)

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.

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