Busting Brackets

3 keys to Villanova Wildcats pulling off potential upset of No. 1 UConn Huskies

Villanova v Marquette
Villanova v Marquette / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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1. Limit the impact of Donovan Clingan 

If UConn wasn’t already tough to deal with, they now have starting center Clingan back after missing several weeks with a foot injury. He played 16 minutes in the game against Creighton, scoring six points and five rebounds, along with a couple of blocks. But his impact was clear on both ends, with the team having a big +/- advantage when on the court.

For Villanova, they’re a naturally small team, with 6’8 forward Eric Dixon getting the most minutes at the center position. He leads the team with 15.3 ppg and 6.4 rpg, including a pair of 30+ point games and UNC. Both of them have great centers (Amando Bacot of UNC and Ryan Kalkbrenner of Creighton) so the fact that Dixon can score against size is a positive factor heading into the game.

Offensively, Dixon’s ability to spread the floor will be big against Clingan to get him out of the basket. The concern is what’ll happen on the defensive end, as the 7’2 center can get whatever what he wants on offense. He averages around 14 ppg and had 21 points and eight rebounds in the win over Gonzaga.

Dixon could get into foul trouble and Tyler Burton can’t guard him so look for Lance Ware to get extended minutes. He played 30 minutes combined in the last two games and is the biggest rotation player for Villanova at 6’9 and 230 pounds. Regardless of what stats he has, Ware will be needed to try to keep Clingan in check.