Villanova, Providence Advance to Big East Semifinals

New York

NEW YORK—March is the month of the basketball doubleheader. Thursday afternoon the best team (Villanova in top photo) shut down Marquette. Then Providence fans cheered the best duo in the conference (Kris Dunn and LaDontae Henton) past St. John’s on their home court of Madison Square Garden to set up a meeting between the two teams in Friday’s Big East semifinal.

Based on value add, Providence averages 14.11 points better per game because Dunn and Henton are on the court. So they likely would have won by about 67-64 instead of 74-57 Thursday without them. This is the 10th highest Value Add of any duo in the country.

Providence spotted St. John’s a 7-0 lead, then Dunn and Henton showed once again they are the best duo in the Conference with an 18-0 run over the next five-and-a-half minutes and the Frairs cruised to a 74-57 win.

Dunn hit a jumper to cut it to 7-2, then Henton drove and kicked it back to Dunn for a three-pointer to make it 7-5. Henton grabbed a couple of rebounds to shut down St. John’s trips, then Dunn hit another jumper and then returned the earlier favor by finding Henton open for a three-pointer. Dunn the finished the run by rejecting a St. John’s shot and feeding the ball to Tyler Harris to make it 18-7 with 14:32 to play in the half and Providence controlled throughout.

The best duo in the conference will have a tough task repeating success against Villanova, an 84-49 winner over Marquette. All eight Wildcats are in the top 15% of all players at—and none of Providence’s players besides Dunn and Henton are in the top 15%. In other words, Villanova has a much better 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th players—even more important when teams play back-to-back nights. Just ask Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski, whose Marquette team destroyed Seton Hall Wednesday only to be destroyed by Villanova Thursday.

“We wanted to guard the three-point line, but those early three-pointers Villanova hit were from way behind the NBA line,” Wojciechowski said in response to a question from Breitbart Sports about if he had decided to “pick his poison” and make Villanova beat them from beyond the arc. Villanova had scored 105 points in their season finale despite not shooting well from beyond the arc, but Thursday they tied a Big East record with 17 three-pointers—hitting 10 of 16 in the first half before falling just below 60% on 17 of 29 for the game. “As I said yesterday, Villanova is a team that is good enough to win a national championship.”

Expect Big East Coach of the Year Jay Wright to have a game plan for stopping Henton and Dunn after doing the same to Marquette star Matt Carlino. Carlino hit 8 of 12 three-pointers Wednesday and Villanova shut him down Thursday.

“Carlino has the quickest release of anyone we have played against,” said Wright. “You literally cannot let him catch the ball if you want to stop him and we did one of our best defensive jobs of the season to contest him everywhere.”

“Marquette’s zone was so effective against Seton Hall, but when we hit those early threes it made them come out and play man-to-man, and I do not think that’s what they wanted to have to do with only 15 hours rest.”

The short turnaround for Marquette did lead to one unusual stat. Senior Derrick Wilson added another nine assists in the losing effort, meaning he closes his career with 23 assists in a 17 hour span.

“The younger players already had the talent. I just wanted to get them the ball so they could work on doing what they do,” Wilson said.

The top 10 duos in college basketball are listed below. Kentucky appears twice because their 3rd and 4th most valuable player at would actually rank as the 5th best duo.

Duo Rank Player Rank Player Team Value Add Duo
1 3 Towns, Karl-Anthony 12 Kentucky 10.44 19.45
1 7 Cauley-Stein, Willie 15 Kentucky 9.01 19.45
2 2 Kaminsky, Frank 44 Wisconsin 11.08 18.18
2 39 Hayes, Nigel 10 Wisconsin 7.1 18.18
3 12 Van Vleet, Fred 23 Wichita St. 8.75 16.38
3 21 Baker, Ron 31 Wichita St. 7.63 16.38
4 16 Pangos, Kevin 4 Gonzaga 7.97 15.63
4 20 Wiltjer, Kyle 33 Gonzaga 7.66 15.63
5 17 Booker, Devin 1 Kentucky 3rd and 4th 7.95 15.15
5 34 Harrison, Aaron 2 Kentucky 3rd and 4th 7.2 15.15
6 25 Okafor, Jahlil 15 Duke 7.49 14.87
6 27 Cook, Quinn 2 Duke 7.38 14.87
7 23 Rozier, Terry 0 Louisville 7.57 14.67
7 38 Harrell, Montrezl 24 Louisville 7.1 14.67
8 31 Gathers, Rico 2 Baylor 7.26 14.3
8 44 O’Neale, Royce 0 Baylor 7.04 14.3
9 26 Hield, Buddy 24 Oklahoma 7.44 14.22
9 49 Spangler, Ryan 0 Oklahoma 6.78 14.22
10 29 Dunn, Kris 3 Providence 7.35 14.11
10 51 Henton, LaDontae 23 Providence 6.76 14.11