Columbia (2-1) at Villanova (3-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 20, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Pavilion (6,500) -- Villanova, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Columbia 1-1, Villanova 2-0. Away Record: Columbia 1-0, Villanova 0-1. Neutral Record: Columbia 0-0, Villanova 1-0. Conference Record: Columbia 0-0, Villanova 0-0. Series Record: Villanova leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: The Columbia Lions have made the trek south to tangle with the Villanova Wildcats on Tuesday night in non-conference action from The Pavilion.
Columbia opened the 2012-13 season with a pair of wins over Furman (68-47) and Haverford (74-40), but then suffered its lone setback with a 67-62 loss at home to Marist. The Lions, who hadn't started a campaign 2-0 since 2005-06, have actually performed well over the years against teams from Villanova's Big East Conference, logging a 62-88 record all-time, with their most common foe being regional rival Rutgers (26-21). Columbia will kick off Ivy League action with a home-and-home series against Cornell on Jan. 19 and 26.
Villanova jumped out to a 3-0 start following victories over the University of the District of Columbia (78-58), Marshall (80-68) and Purdue (89-81), but then ran into a very good Alabama team and suffered a 77-55 loss in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic at New York's famed Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats will kick off Big 5 City Series action on Sunday at La Salle, and the team will open Big East play at home versus St. John's on Jan. 2.
Villanova owns a 4-1 lead in the all-time series with Columbia, with all four wins coming by double digits. The last meeting took place in 2007 with the Wildcats prevailing in a 72-56 final.
For the second time this season, senior guard Brian Barbour scored 19 points in leading Columbia's scoring barrage, but unlike the first time in which the Lions topped Furman, this time the team fell to visiting Marist. Mark Cisco added 12 points and blocked four shots, while Grant Mullins came off the bench to chip in 11 points in going 4-of-5 from the field. Columbia knocked down just 37.3 percent of its total shots, missing eight of its 12 three-point attempts along the way. The Lions committed just seven turnovers in the game, but allowed the Red Foxes to hit eight treys as part of a 44.4 percent shooting effort overall. Barbour is averaging 13.3 points and 5.3 assists per outing, while Cisco nets 10.3 ppg as the team's only other double-digit scorer at the moment. Three others net between 9.0 and 9.7 ppg, and the team as a whole is shooting 47.5 percent from the field and owns a +6.0 rebounding margin.
Villanova's offensive production has been solid this season, as the team averages 75.5 ppg, despite shooting 41 percent from the field and committing 16.5 turnovers per outing. The team boasts four double-digit scorers, led by freshman Ryan Arcidiacono and his 16.3 ppg. The rookie guard is hitting his field goals at only a 34 percent clip, but he also helps get his teammates involved in the action by handing out 4.5 apg. Unfortunately, his youthful exuberance has led to 3.8 turnovers per tilt. Darrun Hilliard (13.0 ppg), JayVaughn Pinkston (12.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and James Bell (11.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) round out the offensive-minded quartet, but the team is going to have to tighten things up defensively, as foes are generating 71.0 ppg in hitting 43 percent of their total shots, which includes a 37 percent effort from three- point land. Those same opponents are guilty of 17.5 turnovers per tilt. In the recent loss to Alabama, Pinkston scored 17 points and Arcidiacono chipped in 11, but the 'Cats were just 31.9 percent accurate from the floor while the Crimson Tide shot 56.8 percent, which included nine treys, and they won the rebounding battle as well, 37-27.
Villanova is clearly the superior team in this matchup, and it will be important for it to get off to a fast start. Expect the Wildcats to get back on track with a satisfying home win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Villanova 73, Columbia 58
11/20 10:40:47 ET