Observations from the Baylor-Villanova Game, and Other Thoughts from Saturday’s Sweet 16 Games
March 27th, 2021
By Alan Lu
Today, I took the time to watch Baylor square off against Villanova in a Sweet 16 matchup that took place earlier this afternoon. It was a competitive matchup that went back and forth, and Villanova appeared to take a commanding lead midway through. Suddenly, Baylor came charging back through their stifling defense in the second half, and Baylor was able to get a comeback win over Villanova. As Baylor ended up running away to get a double-digit victory, it became increasingly clear that Villanova missed Collin Gillespie‘s presence on the court, but he is out for the season due to a knee injury. Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day.
Baylor’s junior guard, Davion Mitchell had a decent showing in his team’s win over Villanova. He had his ups and downs in the first half, but he excelled as a scorer and he played very good defense in the second half to lead his team to get the victory. He did a very good job of scoring on mid-range jumpers. Mitchell has good dribble moves, and he would use crossovers and side step moves to score on smooth, pull-up jumpers from the mid-range. He also is a fleet-footed guard that excelled at scoring on quick drives in transition.
Also, Mitchell showed an adequate ability to score on aggressive drives to the hoop. He can finish plays using either hand, and he has solid foot-speed and body control to do so. Sometimes he would be prone to rushing, as he had a couple of shots blocked, and he would sometimes struggle to score in traffic. He also missed on all of his three-point attempts that he hoisted up from beyond the arc.
He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Mitchell would throw solid interior passes to set up scores for his teammates, and he can throw crisp, long passes to get his teammates the basketball. On the other hand, he slipped early on right as a ball was coming towards him, which led his teammate to throw a pass that got intercepted. He also had a ball poked away before getting it back, but he then threw an inaccurate pass that ended up sailing out of bounds.
Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Mitchell was able to get a defensive board once when he was on the floor. He also played good defense against Villanova. He did a good job of poking balls away to get steals, he was able to deflect a pass, and he also blocked a shot off of a drive another time. Mitchell is an aggressive defender that would apply heavy ball pressure to hound opposing ball handlers, and he would make it difficult for them to dribble the basketball. On the downside, sometimes he would get outmuscled when defending in the post, which would lead him to allow scores.
In summary, Davion Mitchell played better as the game progressed, and he especially excelled at making plays on the defensive end to help his team get the victory. He struggled with his three-point shot, but he played well in the other elements of the game. Mitchell could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range on draft day, and he he is an athletic combo guard that could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.
Villanova’s senior forward, Jermaine Samuels had a strong showing in his team’s loss to Baylor. He excelled as a scorer and defender in this game, and he scored 16 points on 6 shots to help his team on this day. Samuels did a very good job of scoring in the post. He used a strong drop step move and a pump fake to score and get an extra free throw. He also used a strong drop step move to score and get an extra free throw another time. He has a very good pump fake that would consistently get defenders in the air, and it also allowed him to score on a smooth drive to the hoop. He also excelled as a scorer off the dribble, and he was able to score on a solid, switch of hands layup when taking the ball hard to the rim.
He also was able to draw free throws on a pull-up, mid-range jumper, as well as on a put back. Samuels also used a pump fake to drive in and draw free throws on a dunk attempt. He did a very good job of drawing fouls to get to the free throw line often, and he especially excelled at doing so in the first half. On the downside, he had trouble making threes late in this game, and he seemed a bit uncomfortable in taking those shots when his team needed him to score late in this contest.
He also was fairly turnover prone on offense. For the positives, Samuels is an unselfish player that passes well out of the post, and he was able to find open shooters to net a pair of assists. On the downside, he dropped an entry pass that went out of bounds. When posting up, he lost the ball when his opponent executed a nifty, pull-out-the-chair move, which caused him to fall and lose the ball that time. Also, Samuels was able to chip in to get his fair share of rebounds, and he was able to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.
He also played solid defense. Samuels would contest shots out on the perimeter as well as in the paint to force misses, and he also poked a ball and dove for it to nearly get a steal. On the downside, there was one play where he sagged too far off of his man, which led him to allow him to score on a mid-range shot.
In general, Jermaine Samuels played very well in his team’s loss to Baylor. He is an athletic, energetic forward that excelled as a scorer and defender in this game. He will need to be a more consistent outside shooter in games, and he will need to be more assertive on offense. Still, he consistently plays with a very good motor, and he has tended to play well in big games, which could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round range of the 2021 draft.
Baylor’s junior guard, Jared Butler struggled for most of the game, but he demonstrated solid playmaking and defensive skills in the second half that helped his team get a double-digit victory over Villanova. Butler did a fairly good job of scoring off the dribble. He can use quick dribble moves to get past his man, and he drive aggressively to the hoop to score on crafty layups. On the downside, sometimes he would settle for mid-range shots, as he ended up missing a couple of floaters in that range. He also struggled to consistently knock down threes. He was able to dribble back to make a pull-up three, but he generally struggled to make threes, especially off the catch.
He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Butler showed that he can throw solid interior passes, as he can find teammates on the move to notch assists. He was able to throw an accurate lob pass to a cutter, and he also threw a nifty, no-look pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break another time. On the downside, sometimes he would throw inaccurate passes that would go astray and wind up out of bounds.
Also, he was able to get a rebound on each side of the ball. Butler also played satisfactory defense in this game. He would intercept passes to get steals, and he also poked a ball to nearly get another. He also would contest outside shots as well as a shot in the post to force misses. On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to defend in one-in-one situations. He sagged too far off of a shooter, which led him to give up a three-point basket. He also got outmuscled on a drive and fell to allow a score another time. He also committed a loose ball foul on an opposing ball handler up the court on another possession.
Overall, Jared Butler had his ups and downs, and he didn’t have his best game, but he was able to make some solid plays down the stretch to help his team get the win. He’s been a bit too streaky with his outside shot lately, and he’s been a bit turnover prone, but he’s an able shot creator that has shown improved distribution skills, and he’s always been a solid defender throughout his collegiate career. He’s been having a very good junior season, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range in the 2021 draft.
Villanova’s sophomore forward, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Baylor. He especially excelled as a rebounder and defender. While he was reasonably efficient at making shots from the field, Robinson-Earl didn’t take nearly enough of them on offense, as his team’s offense ended up sputtering and stalling late in this game.
Robinson-Earl excelled at scoring on hustle plays as well as in the post. He managed to score on a tip-in, and he also ran in to score on a put back to provide his team with second chance points. In the post, he used a strong drop step move, and he utilized a pump fake move to score and get an extra free throw. On the downside, he struggled to make mid-range jumpers consistently. Robinson-Earl was able to make a mid-range jumper from the baseline, but he missed two other times, and he even threw up an airball from the baseline once. He also used a spin move on a drive, but his shot got blocked that time.
Also, he showed off adequate playmaking skills in this game. Robinson-Earl is an unselfish player that can get the ball to the open man to set up scores for them. When posting up, he threw a nifty, behind-the-back bounce pass to a cutter, which later led to a score on the play. Sometimes though, he can be careless on offense, which can lead to turnovers. He threw a bad pass that got intercepted. On a baseline drive, he stepped out of bounds that led to another.
Plus, Robinson-Earl did a terrific job of rebounding the basketball. He excelled at hauling in boards on both ends of the floor, and he would leap up high to get boards due to possessing a good motor and rebounding instincts. He also defended well. Robinson-Earl jumped a pass to get a steal, and he also managed to block a shot. He poked a ball when defending in the post to nearly force another turnover, and he also would contest shots both out on the perimeter and in the post to force misses. On the other hand, there was one play where he got beat on a move when defending down low to allow a score.
Overall, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl made some solid plays on both ends of the floor, but he didn’t shoot the ball enough, and he didn’t take a single three-point shot in his team’s loss to Baylor. Given his high talent level that he displayed against Georgetown in his team’s loss in the Big East Tournament this year, it was disappointing that Robinson-Earl didn’t look to take charge or to try to take over on offense late in this game. Still, he is a skilled, high-motor big man whose versatility and skill set could make him an intriguing pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range on draft day.
Baylor’s 6-3 sophomore guard, Adam Flagler played very well off the bench to help his team get the win over Villanova. He especially played well in the second half, as he provided strong shooting and scoring skills in this game. Flagler did a good job of knocking down spot-up threees off the catch. He also excelled at scoring off the dribble, as he scored on a mid-range floater, and he also drove aggressively and used subtle dribble moves to score another time. Also, he defended well, and Flagler was able to get a steal in this game. Overall, Flagler had a solid showing in his team’s win, and he could be a player to watch or keep tabs on next season.
Baylor’s senior guard, MaCio Teague had his ups and downs in this game. He didn’t take many shots and he struggled to score consistently, but he was able to drive to score on a put back while getting an extra free throw once. He also scored on a subtly quick drive to the hoop another time. He showed a decent ability to score off the dribble, but he struggled to knock down jumpers. He also showed that he can pass off the dribble to get assists, but he also threw a hasty pass that sailed out of bounds another time.
He also did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball, and he was quite active at crashing the glass to get offensive rebounds. Teague defended very well in this game. He used a pull out the chair move when defending in the post to force his man to lose the ball to get a steal. Teague also blocked a three-point shot, and he also blocked a mid-range jumper due to possessing solid timing. He also deflected a pass, drew a charge, and he also did a good job of contesting threes to force misses.
Overall, MaCio Teague didn’t have his best game, but he defended very well, especially in the second half to help his team get a win over Villanova. He will need to be a more consistent shooter and scorer in games, but his ability to knock down shots and defend could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA next season.
Baylor’s 6-9 junior forward, Matthew Mayer had his ups and downs in this game. He struggled to make threes, but he excelled as an inside scorer and he also played decent defense when he was on the floor. Mayer caught a lob pass off of a cut to score on an alley-oop dunk. He also scored on a put back. He also used a quick spin move to score on a smooth layup off the dribble.
Plus, he also rebounded the ball well. He was active defensively, as he would contest shots, and get his hands on balls to get steals and deflections. He also moved his feet well when defending out on the perimeter to force a shot clock violation. On the downside, he tended to bite on pump fakes, which would lead his team to commit fouls when defending opponents off the dribble. Overall, Mayer is an athletic, skilled forward that has played well in limited minutes this year, and he is a high-riser that can elevate to finish plays above the rim. He may need to stay in school for another season, but he is a versatile scorer that could end up being a second round pick in the 2022 draft.
Mark Vital rebounded the ball very well in this game. He showed a very good motor, as he almost hurt himself while chasing down a loose ball that went out of bounds. He didn’t look to score much, but he showed that he can score around the basket, and he also scored on a strong drive to the hoop. He was active defensively, but sometimes he would be prone to fouling opponents on that side of the ball. Overall, he was able to make some plays to help his team against Villanova. He’ll need to extend his shooting range and improve his skill set offensively, but his rebounding and defensive skills could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA next season.
Villanova’s 6-6 junior swingman, Brandon Slater played fairly well in his team’s loss to Baylor. He scored on a thunderous dunk off of a drive to the hoop, and he also scored on a backdoor cut. He didn’t look to shoot the ball very much, and he also ended up getting hurt late in this game. He was a bit turnover prone, as he committed a charging foul on a drive, and the basket he would have scored was waved off. He also got tied up on an offensive rebound that led to another turnover.
Also, Slater defended well, and he did a good job of blocking shots from all over the floor to help his team on that side of the ball. Overall, he was able to make some solid plays when he was on the court. He will need to be more aggressive in taking shots on offense, and he will need to improve his jump shot, but if he plays well next season, he could project into a 3 and D role as a prospect for the NBA next season.
Villanova’s 6-4 sophomore guard, Justin Moore had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Baylor. He thrived as a scorer in the low post, and he would frequently outmuscle his opponents to score on strong, drop step moves. He also scored on a put back after grabbing an offensive rebound. On the downside, he struggled mightily with his jump shot. While he did make an open three once, he missed numerous threes and long twos other times. As a playmaker, he looked to be about average. He showed that he can pass off the dribble and out of the post. Late in this game, he threw an inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds, and he also would tend to get the ball poked away to commit turnovers. Overall, Justin Moore didn’t have his best game, but he still scored 15 points and he had 5 rebounds and 3 assists in his team’s loss to Baylor. He will need to improve his jump shot, especially from beyond the arc, but he is a skilled prospect that could be a player to watch next season.
I also managed to catch some of the Oregon State-Loyola-Chicago game that took place earlier this morning. Oregon State’s 6-5 senior guard, Ethan Thompson did a very good job of scoring off the dribble and scoring on mid-range jumpers, and he also ran the floor to score on a high-flying, two-handed dunk. He poured on a lot of points early in the first half, and he scored 22 points in this game to help his team get the win.
Warith Alatishe is an athletic, high-motor forward that excelled at scoring on hustle plays and in the post, and he grabbed a lot of rebounds in this game. He scored 10 points, and he also hauled in 11 rebounds.
Oregon State’s sophomore guard, Jarod Lucas made a timely three late in this game, and he is a shooter that moves well off the ball, which helps him get open to score on outside shots to help his team space the floor.
Loyola-Chicago’s 6-9 senior big man, Cameron Krutwig excelled as a scorer on rolls to the rim early on, and he also passed the ball and rebounded well. He also was active defensively, as he showed good strength to contest shots in the post to force misses. On the downside, he was inconsistent as a scorer in the post, and he would sometimes miss shots around the basket. In this game, Krutwig scored 14 points, and he had 10 rebounds, and 4 assists in his team’s loss to Oregon State.
I also saw some of the Arkansas-Oral Roberts game. It was a really entertaining game that went all the way down to the wire, and Jalen Tate was able to get the ball to Davonte Davis, and Davis made a mid-range jumper to help Arkansas get a close win over Oral Roberts.
Oral Roberts’ sophomore guard, Max Abmas is a quick, fleet-footed guard that can get any shot he wants, and he also is a capable playmaker that can distribute the ball to his teammates. He was able to score off of quick cuts, drives, and jumpers, and he scored 25 points, made 3 threes, and dished out 4 assists, but he also had 5 turnovers in his team’s loss.
Arkansas’ Moses Moody struggled to score efficiently in this game, but he showed that he can ably score in the post as well as on dribble jumpers. He also ran in to backtap a ball in the backcourt to nearly get a steal, and he did a good job of blocking shots in this game. Moody still managed to score 14 points, though on 4 of 20 shooting, and he also had 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in his team’s win over Oral Roberts. Also, Arkansas’ 6-6 senior guard, Jalen Tate scored 22 points and had 6 assists, and he is an athletic, big point guard that was able to drive and dish it out to a teammate to help his team get the go-ahead basket to get the win.