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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 5, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Allstate Arena (15,261) -- Rosemont, Illinois Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Villanova 8-4. DePaul 6-6. Away Record: Villanova 4-4, DePaul 4-3. Neutral Record: Villanova 1-1, DePaul 0-2. Conference Record: Villanova 4-5, DePaul 1-7. Series Record: Villanova leads, 15-8.
GAMES NOTES: Coming off back-to-back overtime losses the DePaul Blue Demons will try to earn their first win in a month on Tuesday when the Villanova Wildcats come to Allstate Arena for a Big East battle.
After posting consecutive impressive victories against Louisville and Syracuse the Wildcats have struggled. Villanova fell 55-52 to Providence on Sunday in the second straight loss for the squad, which is now 13-9 overall. The two losses have also pushed the Wildcats back below .500 in conference play at 4-5. In eight previous road tests, Villanova has four wins to match four losses. Next on the schedule for the Wildcats is a matchup with South Florida.
A 79-71 loss in overtime to Notre Dame on Saturday came on the heels of a 79-75 defeat in overtime to St. John's for DePaul. The Blue Demons have now lost six straight contests to fall below .500 overall (10-11) and to just 1-7 against league foes. Allstate Arena hasn't provided much of a homecourt advantage for DePaul which has split its 12 contests at home. A two-game road trip awaits the Blue Demons who play Marquette next.
This is the first and only scheduled meeting between these squads this season. Villanova has won five straight against the Blue Demons and owns a 15-8 edge in the all-time series.
The Wildcats allowed the Friars to go on a 14-2 run midway through the second half to take control on Sunday. Villanova rallied to tie the game at 52-52 with 43 seconds left but a 3-pointer from Big East leading scorer Bryce Cotton with two seconds remaining sank the Wildcats.
In terms of offensive efficiency the Wildcats have not been one of the better teams in the Big East this season. Villanova is ranked just ninth in the conference in points per game (68.5) and second to last in field-goal percentage (.404) that shooting percentage is among the 50 worst in the country as well. On the defensive end the Wildcats allow 66.1 points per game while keeping teams to less than 40 percent shooting. JayVaughn Pinkston (12.7 ppg) is the leading scorer on a team that has three double-figure scorers including Darrun Hilliard (11.2 ppg) and Ryan Arcidiacono (11.1 ppg), who could be even more effective if not for their shooting percentages that fall below 38 percent.
The Blue Demons rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half against Notre Dame to force overtime. However in the extra sessions the Blue Demons missed all four of their shots from the floor to surrender the decision. Brandon Young scored 15 points to lead all five starters in double figures.
Led by the dynamic scoring duo of Young (16.6 ppg, 4.4 apg) and Cleveland Melvin (16.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg) the Blue Demons are actually the third best scoring team in the Big East (73.1 ppg), despite shooting at just .430. Where the Blue Demons have had issues is in getting stops on the defensive end. DePaul is allowing 71.8 points per game on the season, as teams shoot a shade better than them at 43.2 percent. Young and Melvin are the only players on the team scoring in double figures but each ranks in the top 10 in the conference in that category.
With Young and Melvin on the floor the Blue Demons always have a chance of heating up and running up big point totals. The key will be whether or not they can put enough pressure on the Wildcats.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: DePaul 73, Villanova 71
02/05 10:33:40 ET
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