Since the freshmen are relatively new to the Big East, UConn’s upper classmen took time this week to tell them what it’s like hanging out with Villanova for an evening.
If basically came down to this: You can knock on its door, but you can’t make them come out and play. You can ring its bell, but you can’t make them run around with you.
Villanova does what Villanova wants to do. And this season, they’ve done it very well (16-3, 5-1). But they do it deliberately; a tortoise without a care about setting a quick pace.
It’s been that way for just about every game in Coach Harry Perretta’s 35 seasons. And it will be that way until he calls it quits.
So UConn was asked to stay cool, let the Wildcats do their dribble, dribble, dribble best to kill the clock and control the pace. They were cautioned to wait for them to launch the three-pointers that have long distinguished their program and then crashed the boards for the caroms.
Coming into Tuesday’s game, the Wildcats led the Big East in three-point attempts (470). Not only did that represent 44.6 percent of all their shots, it was more than twice as many five other teams in the conference. They were also last in free throw attempts (207). And that was more than twice fewer then Notre Dame and Georgetown.
The Wildcats offense game plans are archived, pretty much the same now as they were when Perretta was a younger coach.
But amazingly, they defeated DePaul by 16 points on Jan. 9 despite making only 3 of 25 threes. That night, they pounded the boards for 20 offensive rebounds and scored over 40 points in the paint.
“I think it’s difficult to defend a team that that’s all they’re going to shoot,’’ Auriemma said. “One of the reasons why they’re really good this year is they scored 65 points against DePaul (Jan. 9) and won by 20 and only made three 3s.’’