PITTSBURGH– Delaware Head Coach Martin Inglesby tries to model his team and the way he runs his operation the same way Jay Wright runs his.
“When I got the job at the University of Delaware, Villanova has been the best basketball program in college basketball.” Inglesby said. “They won it in, I think, ’15, ’16. They won it again two years later. They’ve been the model program. It hasn’t been Duke, it hasn’t been Kentucky, it hasn’t been North Carolina, and it hasn’t been Kansas. It’s been Villanova.”
“And as I’ve built my program, I’ve tried to model how we do things very similar to how Jay has run his program. And, again, they’re really, really good. They put so much pressure on you on the offensive end with their ability to shoot the basketball. And they made 13 threes, but they had four guys that made two or more.”
While Inglesby and Delaware have been very successful in the CAA, with a conference tournament title to show for it, they’re not Villanova. No disrespect to Inglesby or Delaware, but they’re a mid-major and they don’t get the guys that Villanova can get.
Bigger budget, bigger conference, you get the gist.
But Delaware is no slouch. They are an experienced group, and for the better part of the first half, you saw that on display, with Delaware holding a lead up until the end of the first half.
That’s when Villanova turned into Villanova.
“At the start of the game it took us some time to just adjust to their speed and their intelligence offensively, try to figure out what they were doing.” Wright said. “We knew what they were doing, we just couldn’t guard it. And then I thought even their defense was very intelligent too. Took us some time to figure that out. I think our guys did. And I think that was the difference. They’re a really well-coached team, and we give them a lot of credit.”
The athleticism took over, the shooting took over, the defense took over.
“That’s a really good team. Whenever you make a mistake, they capitalize on it.” Delaware guard Kevin Anderson said. “And we kept saying that. Playing against them, you gotta to be close to perfect on defense because as soon as you make a mistake, they’re going to see it and take advantage of it. And that’s what they were doing.”
The second half wasn’t close, as Villanova pulled away for an 80-60 win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the PPG Paints Arena.
Five Villanova players finished in double-figures.
Justin Moore led the way with 21, Jermaine Samuels finished with 15, Collin Gillespie finished with 14, Caleb Daniels finished with 13, and Eric Dixon finished with 12.
The key for Villanova on Friday was stopping the three-pointer. Delaware is a pretty good shooting team from beyond the arc, and Villanova held them to a nice 3-for-20.
“Early they were beating us off the dribble pretty good, and then we just extended on them and gave each other help to not let them see too much space.” Wright said. “I thought we did a pretty good job closing out on their shooters and getting to them quickly. They’re fast and quick, and I think the start of the game, like Justin said, we don’t have guys like that. Maybe Bryan Antoine is like that. But I just think it took us time to get used to their speed.”
Up next for Villanova is a matchup with the 7-seed in the South region, the Ohio State Buckeyes. The time of that game is yet to be determined.
Villanova was without freshman guard Jordan Longino today due to a knee injury suffered in practice, and it’s unlikely he will play on Sunday.
“We’re gonna miss him.” Wright said. “We’re gonna miss him. Chris Arcidiacono and Bryan [\ are gonna have to step up, and I think they will.