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The Daily Tar Heel

Three things to know about Villanova

Villanova head coach Jay Wright answers questions about his coaching during a press conference on Sunday.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright answers questions about his coaching during a press conference on Sunday.

Likely, this is just a random stat, an anomaly, a mere glitch in the path to glory. But nonetheless, the Tar Heels and Wildcats have some history. And now the stakes are bigger than ever before. The two teams will square off Monday night with the chance to be crowned national champions.

Here are three things to note about Villanova.

The hottest team in the land

Even though UNC has beaten each of its opponents in the NCAA Tournament by double digits thus far, it’s Villanova who has had the more impressive run of late.

On Saturday, the Wildcats trounced Oklahoma to the tune of a 95-51 win, which was the largest margin of victory in Final Four history.

Everything was clicking for Villanova, as it finished the game with a sweltering 71.4 percent shooting from the field — good enough for the second-best performance in Final Four history.

A senior led team

Much like North Carolina relies on the play of Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson, the Wildcats lean on their seniors.

Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu have a critical role in Villanova’s success.

In the post, Ochefu leads the team in rebounds and blocks per game. At the guard position, Arcidiacono leads the team in assists, steals, minutes played and 3-point percentage per game.

The latter’s play has been critical this tournament, as Arcidiacono is shooting 60.9 percent from 3-point land in the NCAA Tournament — hitting 14 of his 23 shots from beyond the arc in the past five games.

Style of play

There’s been a lot of talk recently about UNC’s “small” lineup that Williams likes to trot out when his team needs a boost. The small lineup is essentially a four-guard lineup with one, true forward roaming the paint.

Villanova’s starting lineup looks much like this — four players stand 6-foot-6 or smaller, with Ochefu being the only traditional forward.

North Carolina, on the other hand, boasts three players at 6-foot-8-inch or bigger in its starting lineup. Something will have to give.

Villanova is likely to stick with the small-ball look, spreading the floor and not shying away from shooting the 3-pointer.

This will go in direct contrast to the Tar Heels’ approach of getting the ball in the paint to Brice Johnson and others.


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