NEW YORK – Mikal Bridges scored a personal record of 28 points, while Phil Booth added 20 for the fourth Villanova, while the Wildcats won the first game of the Jimmy V Classic 2017, 88-72, over No. 12 Gonzaga .  All-American Villanova resident was quiet on Tuesday night, spending much of the first half on the bench in fouls problems and finishing with only 12 points and three assists. In general, that would be a problem for these wildcats, but they certainly did not need it tonight, since Bridges put together one of the best performances of his career, more on that in a second.
The Zags fought the foul trouble all night. Johnathon Williams III, who was so impressive in Gonzaga's overtime loss to No. 5 Florida, committed fouls after managing the three minutes in the second half, while Killian Tillie, who was Gonzaga's best player in a victory over Creighton on Friday night, was stuck to the bench for the first 20 minutes.
Tillie and Williams picked up their second foul less than a minute and a half in the middle of the first half, and Villanova immediately executed an 1
Here are three things we learned from Tuesday night's victory:
1. VILLANOVA IS MORE TALENT THAN HIS TITLE TEAM 2016
They called Villanova during what I will call the Hart-Jenkins era: the last four years, where the Wildcats won four consecutive Big East. titles – is that they have had a list populated by good college players that are, basically, just that. College players
During those four years, Josh Hart was the only Villanova player to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, and was the last selection in the first round of the NBA Draft. And that is not a criticism, because a return to the roots of the workers, to recruit players who fit in the Villanova Way is what turned Villanova into a national power again.
And rest assured that Jay Wright still has a roster full of "Villanova kids", but it turns out that they are Villanova kids with the possibility of entering an NBA roster. Bridges could end up being a selection of the top ten before everything is said and done. Eric Paschall's ability to defend and make a three will keep him on the radar of the NBA teams. Omari Spellman was a McDonald's All-American who has the advantage of the NBA now that he is now thin. they beat programs like Duke and Kansas by Jermaine Samuels, and Jalen Brunson is a point guard of the three best owners of college basketball in the worst case scenario.
That's what scares this team.
They still have disinterested children who will play in a certain way, they are interchangeable on the defensive and they can shoot and play on the perimeter, but instead of just being good college players, they are professionals.
2. MIKAL BRIDGES FINALLY PASSED FROM PROSPECT TO PLAYER, AND IS NOW THE BEST VILLANOVA PLAYER
That's the biggest difference here, the biggest reason why I can confidently say that this Villanova team is more talented, and probably better, than a team that won a title.
For years we've been talking about how intriguing he is as a player. That length That interchangeability. That perimeter skill. He was on everyone's "Poacher Star" list after the way he played in the Final Four as a freshman in the red jersey.
And then it failed.
Or, perhaps more accurately, he did not get many opportunities to get his with Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins joining him on the front of the court. But now that those guys are gone, now that his role should be a go-to hitter, he has accepted it.
It's thriving on that.
And it has possibly become the best wing of college basketball.
3. THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF GONZAGA ARE PROMISING
The Zags did not have their best game on Tuesday night, and I do not think anyone would say otherwise. That will happen in college basketball, especially when a team from Washington state travels across the country to New York to play a game against a team as good as Villanova.
So I'm not so worried about Gonzaga.  However, I am intrigued by some of the younger guys who are on that list. At this point, the secret is in Killian Tillie, and Rui Hachimura's performance at this summer's U-19 World Cup allows everyone to know how good he can be.
However, I did not realize that Zach Norvell Jr. was ready to have the impact he had on Tuesday; he went for 22 points and hit four three-pointers against a team of the top four and is now averaging 20 points in his last three games. The injury of Corey Kispert, who is promising in his own right, was a blessing in disguise; I do not know if Mark Few even realized what he had in Norvell.
Jacob Larsen also had the opportunity to shine. With Williams and Tillie struggling with fouling problems, Larsen took a step forward and had his best game as a schoolboy. He finished with 10 points, five boards and a couple of assists. He protected the edge, moved his feet well.
I say everything he says: even if the present is for the Zags, the future can be even brighter.
4. VILLANOVA CAN PLAY IN BIG
Villanova was dealing with some problems of fouls to his guards in the first half, and forced them to play a different lineup than Jay Wright is used to: Omari Spellman, Eric Paschall, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and Bridges all on the floor at the same time.
And it worked!
Probably not an alignment that the Wildcats are going to use so much, but knowing how good and how big some of Villanova's title competitors are, it has to be comforting to know that they can be paired that way.