Biggest Challenges Villanova Faces in NCAA Tourney Matchup vs. Milwaukee

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 20, 2014

Biggest Challenges Villanova Faces in NCAA Tourney Matchup vs. Milwaukee

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    After a surprising regular season, the Villanova Wildcats will enter the NCAA tournament with a No. 2 seed and a target on their backs. 

    The Wildcats will play Thursday in Buffalo against No. 15 Milwaukee, who upset Green Bay on the way to the Horizon League tournament championship. 

    Villanova should be in the clear in regards to an upset, but you just never know what lower seed can make a miraculous Cinderella run nowadays. 

    For the Wildcats to avoid an early exit, they must overcome these five challenges against the Panthers. 

Milwaukee's Versatility

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    Milwaukee is a team that can hit you from different angles as it has four players who average over 10 points per game in Jordan Aaron, Kyle Kelm, Matt Tiby and Austin Arians. 

    If one player is shut down, another of the quartet could easily go off and cause the Wildcats trouble. 

    It is inevitable that one of the four star scorers for the Panthers will have a good shooting day, but it is imperative for the Wildcats to limit the chances of the others. 

    Having two, or even three, players get hot at the right time could propel Milwaukee to an upset. 

Taking as Few Bad Shots as Possible

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    If you have watched more than one Villanova game this season, you are aware of the fact that the Wildcats like to shoot from beyond the arc. 

    Taking chances from three-point range is a part of any team's strategy, but sometimes the Wildcats get too trigger-happy from outside, especially if they are behind. 

    If, for some reason, Villanova finds itself in a sticky situation early on, don't be surprised when the likes of Ryan Arcidiacono, James Bell and others start throwing up triples with no regard for the consequences.

    Limiting the bad shot opportunities is something head coach Jay Wright must preach to his team throughout the tournament, starting with Thursday's game against Milwaukee.

    If the Wildcats can avoid the bad shot taking, they could make a deep run in the Big Dance. 


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    The guard-heavy rotation that Villanova puts out on the floor is susceptible to handing the ball over to an opponent. 

    The Wildcats average 12 turnovers per game with five players averaging over 1.4 turnovers per game. 

    The biggest culprit of the turnover crime is Darrun Hilliard, who has the not-so-favorable title of team leader in turnovers per game with 2.1. 

    Villanova's guards are very active on the offensive end and they must not let the pressure get to them in the early stages of the second-round contest. 

    Limiting the number of turnovers against a No. 15 seed to under 10 would be ideal for as the team continues to improve with every game. 

The Unselfish Nature of the Panthers

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    Milwaukee's four big scoring options also know how to spread the ball around to each other as well.

    The team as a whole averages 14 assists per game, with the five starters contributing 11.4 assists per contest. 

    The team leader in assists is Steve McWhorter, who averages just eight points per game. 

    If the Wildcats guards can get to McWhorter early with their defensive pressure, then the entire Milwaukee offense could be thrown off track. 


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    In the last few years, the Villanova program has gone through a rebuilding process, which means it hasn't been as successful as it was during the Scottie Reynolds era. 

    No player on the roster has a single NCAA tournament victory thanks to the second-round loss they received against North Carolina last year. 

    The Wildcats did show some postseason inexperience in the Big East tournament loss to Seton Hall as they were unable to put away a desperate team.

    The same scenario will stare Villanova straight in the face on Thursday and hopefully they do not suffer the same fate. 


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