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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, February 18, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Pavilion (6,500) -- Villanova, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Rutgers 9-5, Villanova 9-4. Away Record: Rutgers 3-6, Villanova 6-5. Neutral Record: Rutgers 1-0, Villanova 1-1. Conference Record: Rutgers 4-9, Villanova 7-6. Series Record: Villanova leads, 28-9.
GAMES NOTES: The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will have to face the rest of the season without leading scorer Eli Carter, starting Monday in a Big East battle with the Villanova Wildcats.
The game wasn't the only thing that Rutgers lost in a 75-69 decision at DePaul on Saturday. Carter fractured his right fibula and will now miss the remainder of the season for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers was already struggling in the Big East, where it is 4-9 thus far, but will likely have even more trouble going forward without Carter. The loss to DePaul was the seventh in the last eight games for Rutgers which will host Providence on Saturday.
As for the Wildcats, they have been making some noise of late with wins in three of the last four contests, including a solid road win over Connecticut, 70-61, on Saturday. The victory improved the Wildcats to 16-10 overall, pushing their conference record above .500 (7-6). That has Villanova tied for just eighth in the conference standings but also within two and a half games of the top spot. In the second half of this two-game homestand Villanova faces a tough test in Marquette.
There hasn't been much parity between these schools historically. Villanova has a dominating 28-9 lead in the all-time series and has secured victories in five of the last six meetings.
Carter missed the last 15 minutes of the matchup with DePaul. Rutgers trailed by five points at the time, battled back to tie the game twice in the last four minutes, but never managed to take a lead. Rutgers shot 46.3 percent from the field, but let DePaul score 21 points off of turnovers.
Without Carter (14.9 ppg) Rutgers is taking a huge hit on the offensive end of the floor as even with him the Scarlet Knights are the third-worst scoring team in the Big East (66.3 ppg). Rutgers is also among the bottom four teams in the conference in assists (12.7 pg) and rebounds (34.6 pg). Myles Mack (13.2 ppg) will now need to step up even more as he becomes the primary scoring option. Mack took the responsibility seriously as he poured in a season-high 28 points against DePaul. The 5-foot-9 guard has been very efficient as well this season, hitting 50.2 percent of his shots from the floor.
Led by a 25-point outburst from Ryan Arcidiacono and an 11-point, 16-rebound double-double from Mouphtaou Yarou, Villanova was able to earn a tough road win, 70-61, against UConn. The Wildcats shot just 40.3 percent from the field in the game but nailed nine shots from beyond the arc and forced 19 turnovers.
Villanova is another team that hasn't posted a ton of successful nights on the offensive end. The Wildcats are in the bottom three in the conference in assists (12.6 pg) and field-goal percentage (.416), while scoring 68.8 points per game. The Wildcats do keep opponents under 40 percent shooting and 65.2 points per game on the defensive end. JayVaughn Pinkston (12.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg) is the top scoring option for the Wildcats and has scored in double figures in four straight games. In just his freshman season, Arcidiacono (11.6 ppg, 3.4 apg) has shown no fear in taking shots but has struggled a bit with consistency as he hits just 35.3 percent from the field. Darrun Hilliard (11.2 ppg) is also scoring in double figures despite shooting less than 40 percent from the floor.
With Carter out the Scarlet Knights are just too thin on the offensive end to pull off an upset on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Villanova 71, Rutgers 60
02/18 10:32:57 ET