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Previewing The Villanova/Texas Tech Elite Eight Game


No. 1 Villanova vs No. 3 Texas Tech – 2:20pm, CBS – Boston
Line: Villanova -6.5

We’re going to get elite offense vs elite defense today. It’s as simple as that. Villanova has the No. 1 ranked offense on KenPom while Texas Tech has the 4th ranked defense. Villanova has scored over 80 points in all three of its NCAA Tournament games while Texas Tech hasn’t given up more than 66. What’s crazy is both teams play the same tempo and play about the same amount of possessions per game. Take a look here at possessions and efficiency:


Scoring about 1.05 points per possession vs the .98 points per possession is just wild. That just shows how efficient this Nova offense is. However, Texas Tech does provide a unique look defensively against them. I expect to see Keenan Evans start on Jalen Brunson, but there are plenty of guys who can give Brunson different looks. They can throw Evans, Zhaire Smith, Davide Moretti, Brandone Francois and even Jarrett Culver and Niem Stevenson on Brunson. Why I list all these guys? It’s the fact they are all 6’3″-6’5″.

What makes Villanova offense so beautiful is the fact it can invert the offense. We saw this most recently against West Virginia when Brunson attacked backing down Jevon Carter. Usually when Nova inverts the offense, Brunson will make the pass to the wing, cut and then post up on the block. They surround him with Spellman in the corner, Paschall on the wing, Bridges/Booth on the other wings. Brunson is going to have a tough time posting up Tech’s defender due to their size. Really the only one that he can post up will be Moretti – who I expect to see on Booth when he’s in the game. If Nova can’t get into that inverted offense, we could see some struggles just because that opens up the floor later in the game.

The other key here for Texas Tech is its ability to run teams off the 3-point line. Tech ranks 49th in 3-point defense percentage because of its ability to switch at almost every level while rotating defenses. Tech will run the pack line in the half court but will also blitz ball screens, apply a 3/4 court pressure and trap in the halfcourt. It’s absolutely beautiful to watch and we saw the Red Raiders pressure Purdue’s guards into mistakes and turnovers. The other important thing here with Tech is the fact that Tommy Hamilton at 6’11” can play out on the perimeter and play with Omari Spellman.


One thing to watch on offense is both teams are excellent at pick and roll sets with the ball handler. Villanova scores 1.01 points per possession (1st in the country) while Texas Tech is at .93 points per possession (13th in the country). The main reason for that is those screens are typically for Brunson and Evans – two of the five best point guards in the country. Both teams like to set those ball screens high at the top of the key, letting the two guys shoot off the bounce. Brunson is more likely to pull up from three while Evans likes to get to the midrange game.

Bracket pick: Villanova
ATS pick: Texas Tech