VILLANOVA’S REBOUNDING, DEFENSE WILL HELP IN VAST NRG STADIUM!

By Sam Bush

This weekend’s Final Four is being played in Houston’s NRG Stadium, a football venue that has historically affected sight lines for dead-eye shooters.

In the past, shooting percentages are down, even if only by one percent, which can affect the outcome of a game.

“We rely on our rebounding and our defensive toughness anyway, so if shots don’t fall, we’ll be ready to grind it out again,” Villanova junior Kris Jenkins told the New York Times.

Players tend to admit that it is different playing in a dome — not only because of the amount of space in the stadium but because of the court, which is raised more than two feet off the ground. But with the same serenity with which they state that they are taking everything “one game at a time,” they insist that they do not let it affect them.

“It’s different playing in a huge, huge arena,” said the Duke sophomore Grayson Allen, who played two games in NRG and two more in Lucas Oil in last year’s tournament. He added: “But the players do a great job of blocking it out. I think we did that as a team.”

Yesterday, this year’s four Final Four teams got a chance to shoot around at NRG Stadium. Syracuse’s Trevor Cooney is the only player here who has logged prior Final Four minutes, so for everyone else, stepping onto the raised court in the airy stadium was revelatory.

“It is different shooting, but it’s 94 feet, two goals, so it’s not too much different,” said the Oklahoma junior Jordan Woodard.

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