They are terrifying. The world believes, with ample reason, that they are going to carve us to pieces.
I had entertained the thought that maaaaaybe playing a defense of our caliber would result in different results than they're accustomed to. After all, we're really good.
So I checked. And it turns out Villanova has played a defense like ours.
We are the kenpom #3 defense; Texas Tech is the #4 defense (paired with a kenpom #51 offense). And Villanova just beat them, by 12 points.
And, uh, shot 4-24 from 3-point range. Brunson scored 15 points on 18 shot equivalents. They won based upon going 29-35 at the line.
So, um, they probably played a lot of good Ds in the Big East, right? I checked the kenpom D rankings, just scrolling and looking for "BE" in the conference file.
After Villanova itself, the top BE defense I found was St. John's (#29), whom they played twice this year. In the first game at MSG, Donte DiVincenzo went 6-9 from 3 and Villanova won easily by (checks notes) 7 points, 78-71. In the second game, at Nova, Villanova... er, lost 79-75 while shooting 24% from deep.
Scrolling down the kenpom D rankings, the next BE team, at #39, is Providence. Their last meeting, at Providence? Um, 76-71 Providence, with Nova shooting an improbable 3-20 from beyond the arc.
D them up. Hope that the 30% chance our offense shows is a hit. And then, you never know.