DePaul Blue Demons (8-17, 1-11) vs. No. 2 Villanova Wildcats (24-2, 11-2) – Monday, February 13th, 8:00 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
Television – CBS Sports Network
Radio – WSCR AM 670
The Blue Demons continue their run through the gauntlet of ranked teams that is the Big East Conference schedule.
The next challenge is the Villanova Wildcats who are ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll and are tops in the NCAA's RPI Ratings.
Villanova is coming off a convincing 73-57 road win over No. 24 Xavier on Saturday afternoon. It was a win that gave Villanova coach Jay Wright his 500th career victory.
Villanova won despite being outrebounded 42-26 and playing without senior forward Darryl Reynolds. Reynolds was out with a rib injury and is listed as doubtful for the game at Allstate Arena on Monday night.
The Wildcats have four players who average in double figures. Josh Hart is a Big East Player of the Year candidate and is leading the conference in scoring with 18.8 points per game. Jalen Brunson is contributing 14.2 ppg and is dishing out 4.3 assists per game. Last year's National Championship game MVP Kris Jenkins is averaging 13 ppg and Mikal Bridges adds 10.5 ppg.
Nova is stingy on the defensive end and leads the Big East in scoring defense with only giving up 62.7 ppg. The Wildcats also have the conference's best field goal percent defense at 41.4% as well as field goal percent defense at 30.5%.
They are also tops in the league in scoring margin at a plus 14.6 points per game.
DePaul may have some confidence coming into this game after keeping it close with the Wildcats in their first meeting back in December at the Pavilion. To have a chance, the Blue Demons will have to bring the same kind of defensive effort that they had in that first game.
The Last Time
On December 28, 2016, the Blue Demons battled the top ranked and defending national champion Wildcats tough in Philadelphia.
DePaul proved up to that challenge as No. 1 Villanova escaped the Pavilion with a 68-65 win over the Blue Demons.
The Blue Demons had an opportunity to tie the game when Billy Garrett, Jr.’s three point attempt bounced off the back of the rim as the final buzzer sounded.
It was a gutty effort by the Blue Demons. DePaul had trailed by as many as twelve points in the second half with 11:08 to go. They then went on a 14-0 run to get back into the contest.
DePaul was led by junior college transfer Tre’Darius McCallum who racked up 19 points and seven rebounds.
Garrett contributed with 17 points and four rebounds. Eli Cain chipped in with 14 points.
Villanova’s Josh Hart led all scorers with 25 points. Jalen Brunson had 13 points and six assists and Kris Jenkins added 12 points for the Wildcats.
The only negative for DePaul was their three point shooting. The Demons shot three for 17 from beyond the arc. Cain, who has been in a shooting slump in the last three games, was two of eight on trifectas.
No. Name Pos. Cl. (Exp.) Ht. Wt. Hometown High School
1 Jalen Brunson Guard SO 6-2.5 190 Lincolnshire, Ill. Adlai Stevenson
2 Kris Jenkins Forward SR 6-6 235 Upper Marlboro, Md. Gonzaga College High School
3 Josh Hart Guard SR 6-5.5 215 Silver Spring, Md. Sidwell Friends
4 Eric Paschall Forward RS SO 6-7 250 Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. St. Thomas More
5 Phil Booth Guard JR 6-3 195 Baltimore, Md. Mount Saint Joseph
10 Donte DiVincenzo Guard RS FR 6-5 205 Wilmington, Del. Salesianum
14 Omari Spellman Forward FR 6-9 260 North Royalton, Ohio St. Thomas More
24 Tom Leibig Forward JR 6-4 195 Havertown, Pa. Haverford
25 Mikal Bridges Guard/Forward RS SO 6-7 210 Malvern, Pa. Great Valley
34 Tim Delaney Forward RS FR 6-8.5 235 Mullica Hill, N.J. Pitman H.S./Blair Academy
35 Matt Kennedy Guard JR 6-2 175 Fairfax, Va. Flint Hill
40 Denny Grace Guard SR 5-11 175 Catonsville, Md. Calvert Hall
42 Dylan Painter Forward FR 6-10 240 Hershey, Pa. Hershey
45 Darryl Reynolds Forward SR 6-9 240 Philadelphia, Pa. Lower Merion HS/Worcester Academy