Villanova - Penn Preview

Villanova's Big Five slate for 2016-17 begins Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. at the Palestra as the Cats face Penn ...

Villanova (#2 AP, 6-0) travels to the Palestra to take on Penn (2-2) on Tuesday night at 7PM.  The game can be followed on CSN Philly, 610 Sports (WTEL-AM), and VUSports Live Chat.  

Penn is 2-2 on the season with wins at Robert Morris (67-50) and Central Connecticut (87-65) and losses at Miami (62-74) and at Navy (68-70).  Kenpom predicts a 76-60 Villanova win and gives the Cats a 92% chance of emerging victorious.

Jay Wright is 48-12 (.800) in Big Five games over his Villanova coaching tenure.  He lost his first two match-ups against Penn but has since rattled off 13 straight wins (13-2, .866).  Steve Donahue, beginning his 2nd season at the helm for the Quakers, went 1-3 in his first trip through the Big Five (beating LaSalle by 16 points).  Villanova leads the all-time series with the Quakers, 46-17.

Phil Booth and Tim Delaney are not expected to play for Villanova due to injuries.

Examining the Four Factors for each team entering this game:

VUSports (data per Kenpom.com)

a few things stick out:

  • Penn has been turning the ball over at a high rate
  • the Quakers don’t draw a lot of fouls (and the Cats don’t foul much)
  • Penn has shot a high Effective FG% and done a nice job on the offensive glass
  • Villanova is taking good care of the ball on offense and shooting a high %
  • ‘Nova has not been a good offensive rebounding team nor drawn a lot of fouls

Other stats of interest:

  • Kris Jenkins needs 13 points to get to 1,000 for his career
  • ‘Nova has held opponents to only 25.6% 3PFG shooting …
  • … but given up 53.6% FGs from two-point range

Penn entered the season needing to find a way to replace their leading scorer and rebounder from last season, 6-11, Darrien Nelson-Henry.  The task has been placed at the feet of 6-8, Freshman, A.J. Brodeur.  

A.J. Brodeur (6-8, 225, Fr., 13.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.8 SPG, 2.3 BPG, 103.0 ORtg) is a big part of Penn’s offense and defense already.  He is playing over 70% minutes at the 5 spot, blocking shots at a high rate, hitting the offensive boards, and drawing fouls at a good clip.  He is a threat to score from two-point range and in the paint but has yet to step outside.  The ‘Nova bigs will look to force him to chase around the perimeter if Penn tries to play man-to-man defense.  Brodeur has demonstrated some passing ability but can turn it over.  He has shot 60% from the FT line so far.

Caleb Wood (6-4, 180, Jr., 13.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 4.3 TPG, 97.7 ORtg, 52% 3PFG) has been shooting the ball well but hasn’t been strong with his ball-handling and passing.  ‘Nova will want to stay in his grill beyond the arc to force him to put it on the deck to dribble-drive or pass.  Wood plays a lot of minutes at the 2/wing spots.

Matt Howard (6-4, 185, Sr. 13.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.0 APG 1.5 SPG, 50% 3PFG, 63.6% 2PFG) brings experience and know-how to the Quakers line-up.  Rebounds well from the SF/Wing position.  Struggling from the free-throw line to date (6-14, 42.9%).  His ORtg of 128.7 is the best on the Penn squad.  

Matt McDonald (6-5, 200, Jr., 4.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 104.2 ORtg, 44.4% 3PFG)  The transfer from FDU leads the team in minutes played.  Provides passing and rebounding.  Can knock down the three-ball if left open beyond the arc.

Jackson Donahue (6-0, 175, So., 7.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 3.0 APG, 92.6 ORtg, 25.8% 3PFG, 23.1% 2PFG) runs the point for Penn and has done a good job from a ball-handling and passing perspective.  He shoots the vast majority of his shots from beyond the three-point line.  Donahue has struggled shooting the ball from everywhere so far this season.  Perhaps some home cooking will do him well?

Darnell Foreman (6-1, 175, Jr., 6.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.5 SPG, 114.7 ORtg, 42.9% 3PFG)  A combo-guard who plays some back-up PG minutes and the 2 spot.  He is economical with his shot selection and has been doing a good job of setting up his teammates.  Foreman has shown the ability to get in the passing lanes and be a disruptive on-the-ball defender.

Max Rothschild (6-8, 225, So., 5.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 103.6 ORtg, 63.6% FG) Plays bench minutes at the 5 and the 4 spots.  Hasn’t shown any desire to shoot it from deep but has been effective shooting the ball from two point range and from the free-throw line.

Tyler Hamilton (6-4, 195, So., 2.8 PPG, 123.1 ORtg)  Has played spot minutes.  Prefers to shoot nearer the basket.

Sam Jones (6-7, 175, Jr., 2.7 PPG, 93.5 ORtg)  Prefers to shoot the three-ball but has some ability to slash and score inside.  Jones doesn’t have the rugged build required to mix it up in the paint much as a rebounder or post scorer.

Jake Slipe (6-2, 185, So., 2.0 PPG 110.0 ORtg) Hasn’t been getting much run so far this season.

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