Live or Die by the Three Ball

Taylor Dunn, Contributing Writer

Villanova Men’s Basketball has been a guard dominated program since head coach Jay Wright has been in power. Having a guard-heavy team is more than okay, but Villanova’s philosophy of relying on three pointers has stirred up some doubt from fans and sports analysts.

When their shot is on, Villanova can beat essentially anyone. When their shot is off, well, Villanova can lose to essentially anyone.

This has been apparent for the past few years, as Villanova has been eliminated in the first or second rounds of the NCAA tournament taking place in March. In each loss suffered, Nova was upset by a lower ranked seed.

These losses cannot be blamed on anything other than their poor shooting percentage.

In 2014, Villanova (a two seed) was upset by UConn (a seven seed) in the second round of the tournament. Villanova shot thirty-one three pointers that game, and surprise, surprise, they made only eleven.

The story repeated itself last year when number one seeded Villanova was upset by NC State, an eight seed, in the second round of the tournament.

This game the team shot twenty-eight three pointers and only made nine.

Other NCAA tournament losses in previous years were due to shooting four for 21 from long range against North Carolina and seven for 22 against George Mason.

Since 2010, Villanova has been ranked in the AP Poll regular season’s top ten year in and year out, but they have not made it past the early rounds in the tournament. And since 2010, their reliance on the three-pointer has not changed.

In the 2015-2016 season Villanova has only lost two games so far. Their two losses were against Oklahoma and UVA.

In the Oklahoma game, Villanova was four for 32 from beyond the arc. That’s a whopping 12.5%. Maybe they would’ve stopped shooting threes after their twenty-ninth miss?

Against UVA they were ten for 26 from the three point line.

In their first nine games they averaged over 30 three point attempts. This is not a shock, as this year Nova has more than half of their field goal attempts coming from three, the lowest percentage shot in basketball.

Arguably the biggest culprit on this year’s squad of shooting too much is Kris Jenkins. The small forward/shooting guard is slow as molasses and can’t do anything other than shoot the three ball.

He has attempted 113 three-pointers this year, way more than anyone else on the team. He also has the second worst three point percentages on the team at 31%.

So when will he learn? When will Nova learn?

In the regular season, Nova can most likely live by the three ball. This is proven by their winning records and accomplishments in the Big East year after year.

In the postseason, when Villanova plays higher quality teams and the pressure is on, they will most likely die by the three ball. This is proven by their repeated choking year after year in the postseason.

For those who fill out predicted brackets when March comes around, my suggestion for you is to not pick Nova to go far. I say this because unless their strategy changes, when the three’s stop dropping, Villanova will fall.