Oklahoma (5-0) vs Villanova (7-0)
When: Monday, December 7th 2015
Where: Bloch Arena, Honolulu, HI
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: Fox Sports 1
A pair of undefeated top 10 teams with solid defenses meet in Honolulu Monday as the Oklahoma Sooners battle the Villanova Wildcats. Oklahoma has only played one game away from home and it was a 84-78 win over Memphis. The Sooners defense is ranked number one in the nation in FG% holding opponents to just 32.6% shooting. Offensively, they’ve been pretty good also ranking 13th in points per game and 4th in 3-point field-goal percentage led by guard Buddy Hield. The Senior is averaging 21.4 points a game and has hit 13-of-26 three-pointers. Oklahoma plays three guards most of the time and Isaiah Cousins is another key contributor. He’s second on the team with 13.2 points a game and is hitting 45.5% of his threes. 7’0″ 243 pound center Akolda Manyang leads the defense with 2.2 blocks per game despite limited minutes as a backup. The leader up front is Ryan Spangler who is averaging 12.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. He’s also managed to shoot 50% from beyond the arc, so this team is just not all about defense. This will easily be their biggest test of the season before they head into Big 12 play in January.
Villanova’s offense isn’t quite as good as the Sooners’, but their defense can match them pretty well. The Wildcats allow only 56.1 points per game and 34.5% shooting, – both stats are top 4 in the country. Villanova is coming off winning the NIT Season Tip-Off Championship in which they handled both Stanford and Georgia Tech. The Wildcats have a very balanced scoring lineup as five players average 9.4 points per game or better led by Josh Hart’s 15.3. 6’11” Senior Daniel Ochefu doesn’t shoot much, but is effective when he does shooting a team-best 59.2%. He’s a great defender who averages 2.1 blocks per game. Villanova showed no let-down after their NIT win, beating St. Joseph’s 86-72 while shotting 50% from the field. The Wildcats are predicted by many to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament and if they keep playing defense like this, they have a shot. After tonight’s game and the tough contest next week at Virginia, we’ll know a lot more if this team is ready.
Don’t think this Oklahoma team is a fluke, because they’re not. They were highly rated coming into this season and have not disappointed with their play on both ends of the court. Its a neutral site game and OU is getting points. Expect a very competitive game with lots of lead changes. I’ll take the points.
Pick: Oklahoma +4