DePaul Blue Demons vs. No. 3 Villanova Wildcats – Tuesday, March 1st, 6 p.m. Central – The Pavilion, Villanova, Pennsylvania
Television – FOX Sports 1
Radio – WSCR AM 670
Villanova fell from the top spot in the college basketball rankings today, following a hotly contested loss at Xavier last week, and are now third in the Associated Press poll and second in the USA Today Coaches poll. No matter where they are ranked, Villanova is the toughest opponent that DePaul has faced this season.
For evidence, look no further than the first meeting between the two teams where the Wildcats trounced the Blue Demons 86 to 59.
Villanova is in pursuit of their third straight regular season Big East title. A win over the Blue Demons on Tuesday night will get them that prize outright.
Villanova has more than just a league title to play for. They are also looking to secure a top seed in the NCAA tournament.
The Wildcats lead the Big East in many statistical categories. The biggest is on the defensive end of the floor. VU leads the league in points allowed (63.1 ppg) and field goal percent defensive (39.3%)
While Josh Hart leads the Wildcats in scoring at 15.1 ppg and is getting some talk for Big East Player of the Year consideration, the guy who is the heart and soul of this team is senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono at 11.8 ppg and 4.3 assists per game. Arcidiacono shared the Big East Player of the Year Award last year with Providence’s Kris Dunn.
For DePaul to win this one, they would have to play perfect, flawless basketball and hope that Nova’s players have an off night. That’s not likely to happen.
Yet it’s an important game for DePaul to learn from. If the Blue Demons were to win the first round game in the Big East Tournament next week, they would very likely meet Villanova in the second round of the tournament at Madison Square Garden.
The Last Time
On February 9, 2016 at Allstate Arena, Villanova played worthy of their number one ranking as they handed DePaul a 86-59 loss.
The Wildcats started out the game on a 8-0 run which set the tone for much of the game. Villanova never trailed in the contest.
DePaul was outmatched by Villanova at every position on the floor.
It didn’t get any better in the second half for DePaul when the Wildcats opened up with a 15-0 run to start the half.
Villanova held a huge edge in points in the paint by outscoring DePaul by a 36-16 margin in the paint.
The Wildcats also capitalized on Blue Demon miscues, by scoring 19 points off of 19 DePaul turnovers.
Villanova displayed a balanced offense with having five players finish in double figures.
Josh Hart led all scorers with 18 points. Darryl Reynolds came off the bench to add 14 points and six rebounds. Kris Jenkins added 13 points, while the duo of Daniel Ochefu and Jalen Brunson contributed 11 points apiece.
The one bright spot for DePaul was the play of freshman Eli Cain, who scored 15 points and the contribution of senior Myke Henry on the boards with nine points and 11 rebounds.
No. Name Pos. Cl. (Exp.) Ht. Wt. Hometown High School
0 Henry Lowe Guard SR 5-11 185 New York, N.Y. The Dalton School
1 Jalen Brunson Guard FR 6-2.5 199 Lincolnshire, Ill. Adlai Stevenson
2 Kris Jenkins Forward JR 6-6 240 Upper Marlboro, Md. Gonzaga College High School
3 Josh Hart Guard JR 6-5 205 Silver Spring, Md. Sidwell Friends
4 Eric Paschall Forward RS FR 6-7 260 Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. St. Thomas More
5 Phil Booth Guard SO 6-3 185 Baltimore, Md. Mount Saint Joseph
10 Donte DiVincenzo Guard FR 6-5 200 Wilmington, Del. Salesianum
15 Ryan Arcidiacono Guard SR 6-3 195 Langhorne, Pa. Neshaminy
20 Patrick Farrell Forward SR 6-5 200 Rockville Centre, N.Y. Chaminade
23 Daniel Ochefu Forward SR 6-11 245 Baltimore, Md. Downingtown East
25 Mikal Bridges Guard/Forward RS FR 6-7 191 Malvern, Pa. Great Valley
34 Tim Delaney Forward FR 6-8.5 230 Mullica Hill, N.J. Pitman H.S./Blair Academy
45 Darryl Reynolds Forward JR 6-8 225 Philadelphia, Pa. Lower Merion HS/Worcester Academy
52 Kevin Rafferty Forward SR 6-8 215 Malvern, Pa. Malvern Prep