NCAA March Madness Final Four Review: Villanova v. Oklahoma With a final score of 95-51, to Villanova, it is rather difficult to comment on the game, looking for what worked for Nova, and what went wrong for Oklahoma. It is difficult because there is really no need to restate the game. The score says it all: everything worked for Villanova, and nothing worked for Oklahoma. However, coming into this came, nobody expected such superiority by Villanova, as there were a few questions marks about Nova’s ability to match-up against the Sooners. The biggest question mark was around Villanova’s defence. So far, in the tournament, Villanova excelled with switching between a ¾ court press and a 2-3 zone. These two systems allowed Nova to turn up, or dial down, their defensive pressure seamlessly. However, Oklahoma’s offense is more potent in transition and their shooters are deadly behind the 3-point line. Therefore, Oklahoma seemed primed to break Nova’s pressure and to attack their 2-3 zone. However, Villanova’s defence, in any system, was simply too physical and tenacious for Oklahoma. Rather than running in transition, except for the first few minutes of the second half, Oklahoma relied on isolation play with their guards having to dribble around the 3-point line. On occasion, the Oklahoma guards were able to penetrate the paint, gaining quality shots. However, when they occupied quality positions, too often Oklahoma missed their shots. No stretch exemplifies this better than the beginning of the second half. On one single possession, Oklahoma had 6 shots coming from offensive rebounding. However, they consistently missed their 2nd chance shots to the point that Oklahoma started to look scared around the hoop and they started turning down close-range shots for a pass back outside. Outside of these small pockets when Oklahoma created quality shots, their iso-dribbling on the wings was simply ineffective. At a crucial stretch, midway through the first half, Oklahoma had the lead 17-16, however, 6 turnovers in the subsequent 8 possessions catalysed Villanova to take a commanding double-digit lead. Oklahoma’s was simply too one-dimensional as they repeatedly ran into the same mistakes, committing 17 turnovers for the game Villanova on the other side, besides playing exceptional defence, were once again the most effective and efficient team in the tournament, shooting the 2nd best all-time field-goal percentage in Final Four history with 71.4%. They were simply poised and methodical throughout the game, even when Oklahoma increased their defensive pressure. Villanova never forced their three point shots, even though they would shoot 18 in the game, making 11. They attacked outside, and then used their pump-fakes to create offense inside. Then when Oklahoma would collapse around the paint, Villanova would dish the ball to an open shooter outside for a three-point shot. Villanova simply had an answer for every situation, epitomised by their six different players with double-digit scoring. Looking forward a bit, their offensive balance should present a fascinating battle against an equally balanced North Carolina in the Finals. While Oklahoma had a few moments to keep the game close, Villanova simply was too determined last night to make-up for their early season loss to the Sooners. Villanova have a way of perniciously picking-apart an opposing team’s offense that by the time we realise what is going on, they have gone on a 10 or 15 point run. In fact, calling Nova’s 22-0 run for 9+ minutes from the game last night feels a bit inadequate, because in reality, when a team dominates a game for that long, we should really be calling it a stampede.