Delaware (3-7) at Villanova (6-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 16, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Pavilion (6,500) -- Villanova, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Delaware 1-1, Villanova 3-2. Away Record: Delaware 1-4, Villanova 2-1. Neutral Record: Delaware 1-2, Villanova 1-1. Conference Record: Delaware 0-0, Villanova 0-0. Series Record: Villanova leads, 10-0.
GAME NOTES: The Villanova Wildcats will attempt to stay hot when they host the Delaware Blue Hens at the Pavilion for a non-conference tilt.
Delaware has been idle since its 73-67 overtime loss to Delaware State on Dec. 8. The loss dropped the Blue Hens to 3-7, which includes their 1-4 mark in away games. Coach Monty Ross has a tough task ahead of him as the school is 0-10 all-time against Big East opponents since 1979. Delaware is netting 65.1 points per outing, while allowing its opposition to average 70.9 points.
Jay Wright's Wildcats picked up a 65-61 victory over Philadelphia Big 5 rival Saint Joseph's, their second in a row, on Tuesday to improve to 6-4 on the season. Villanova has now won three of four games since closing out November with a three-game losing slide. The Wildcats are 3-2 at home this season as Columbia (75-57) and Temple (76-61) both defeated them on their own floor. Villanova is scoring 68.9 points per contest, which is 0.9 points more than it is allowing.
This will be the first contest for the Wildcats since Villanova and the six other members of the Big East that do not play FBS football announced they will be leaving the league to build a league that focuses on basketball.
This will be the 11th time in history and fourth season in a row Villanova and Delaware square off on the hardwood. The Wildcats have won all of the previous encounters including last year's 79-69 triumph.
In their recent rivalry game, the Blue Hens saw their three-point lead in the closing seconds erased with a 3-pointer by DSU's Amere May. The Hornets then took control in the extra session. Delaware shot just 34.8 percent from the floor including an atrocious 4-of-19 mark from downtown. The Blue Hens cost themselves the contest by missing six free throws in the second half. Senior forward Jamelle Hagins recorded a double-double with 15 points and the same number of rebounds while junior guard Devon Saddler netted a team-high 16 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Terrell Rogers was ice cold as he only knocked down 3-of-17 field goal tries. Sadler is leading the Colonial Athletic Association with 20.7 ppg while Hagins is averaging a double-double with 12.8 points and 12.5 boards per contest.
The Wildcats were very tough on the defensive end their last time out as they held Saint Joseph's to a 38.3 field goal percentage and forced 18 turnovers. Villanova converted just 36.1 percent of its attempts from the field, but it made up for it by draining 13-of-17 at the free-throw line and grabbing six more rebounds than the Hawks. James Bell and JayVaughn Pinkston tied for the team-lead with 12 points each. Freshman point guard Ryan Arcidiacono, who is averaging a team best 11.7 ppg, only scored six in the win but he played 32 minutes and finished the contest with zero turnovers. Pinkston (11.4 ppg) and Bell (10.9 ppg) are both scoring in double figures as well.
Although the Blue Hens are better than their record indicates, they played unquestionably poor their last time out. Villanova is going to be very tough to beat if Arcidiacono continues to limit his turnovers and Pinkston continues to be a focal point of the offensive gameplan.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Villanova 71, Delaware 62
12/16 10:34:00 ET