Villanova won their first two games during a tour of Spain over the weekend, beating a team of Spanish professionals by 40 in Barcelona on Friday and following that up with an 87-80 win over a team in Madrid on Sunday.
The game in Madrid featured a team of players that play in the highest level of European professional basketball. That’s a nice test for the defending national champions to get, and they passed.
And, not surprising, Josh Hart was the star. Just a couple of weeks after shining at the Nike Skills Academy in Los Angeles, Hart has been the best player for the Wildcats in Spain, scoring 16 points in the opener and following that up with 27 points and 13 boards in the second game.
“Josh was dominant, by far the best player on the floor today,” stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. “If that was a regular season game he probably could have had 40. We were trying some different things late. But when we needed a bucket, we went to him every time and he came through.”
There isn’t too much that can be taken out of games on foreign tours, but there are a couple of interesting things to note.
For starters, Wright started Fordham transfer Eric Paschall and brought Mikal Bridges off the bench against the team in Madrid. That may have something to with Omari Spellman being unavailable to play, but Bridges did wind up scoring 16 points in 31 minutes.
That’s interesting because of the possibility of a ‘Death Lineup’ for the Wildcats: Hart, Bridges and Kris Jenkins in the front court with Phil Booth and Jalen Brunson tasked with handling the ball. They’re not going to shoot it as well as Golden State’s death lineup — the one that features Draymond Green at center — but there is a lot of versatility and toughness that will be on the floor with that group.
Anyway, that’s all just August boredom fueling my speculation.
The important thing to take away from this game is that Josh Hart looks like he’s going to be awesome, and when Josh Hart is awesome it makes Nova really dangerous.