Game Preview: Villanova v. Mount St. Mary's

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats answered some questions against a sharpshooting Lafayette club. Now on Wednesday they play a lowly Mountaineers squad who's emphasis rely on pressuring the ball and chucking shots. Here's what you need to know.

Day: Wednesday

Date: Nov. 13, 2013

Location: Villanova, Pa.

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV: CBS Sports Network

The Villanova Wildcats look to extend their opening day success as they gear up to face Mount St. Mary's University Wednesday at home. The tip is set for 7:00 p.m.

Villanova rolled over Lafayette in their first meeting of the season and look to continue the same feat with a win over a lowly Mountaineers team that dropped it's season opener to West Virginia, 77-62.

‘Nova will be paced by junior swingman JayVaughn Pinkston, who finished the ‘Cats last game with a dominating 22-point performance, shooting 10-for-14 from the free throw line. James Bell will also add to the scoring load for Villanova and be one of the difference makers on offense. He added 24 points on Friday scoring thirteen in the first nine minutes of play.

According to Mike Sheridan of Villanova's Media Department, Coach Jay Wright has put some stock in the Mountaineer's core of guards.

"They have three very experienced guards - two of them are fifth year seniors," notes Wright. "(Sam) Prescott, (Julian) Norfleet, and (Rashad) Whack can take over a game. Their big guy, (Kristijan) Krajina is really tough inside. It's going to be a tough game."

Julian Norfleet will be the key player for the Mountaineers on against the Wildcats. The senior guard scored 19 points and dished seven assists in Friday's loss to West Virginia on the road. The Mountainneers rely heavily on their tandem of senior guards. Norfleet and Rashad Whack both played over thirty minutes against West Virginia, whereas no other player saw more than thirty minutes.

If anything, the Mount's defense will be the most intimidating feature of their game as well as their perimeter shooting. The defense was one of the NCAA's best last season.

Wright made some comments in regards to the team's perimeter shooting.

"They can really shoot threes but they get them in a different way than Lafayette does," states Wright. "These guys run quick hitters and run the floor. They're more athletic and quicker as a team."

Things to Know About MSM:

  • The Mount went 18-14 last season and fell to LIU Brooklyn in the Northeast Conference Championship game to end their campaign.
  • MSM was picked to finish in sixth place in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll.Wagner was the predicted champions followed by Robert Morris, Bryant, LIU Brooklyn, Central Connecticut State, MSM, St. Francis Brooklyn, Sacred Heart, Saint Francis U and Fairleigh Dickinson.
  • Head coach Jamion Christian describes his team's style of play as "Mayhem." His sets feature defense focused on ball pressure and an offense reliant on the three-point shot.
  • Last season, MSM was in the top-25 in the nation in defensive turnover percentage (23.9 percent) and set school records for three-pointers made (274) and attempted (811).
  • MSM shot 40 percent (22-for-55) against WVU and lost the battle in assists (16-to-12) and points off turnovers (12-to-2). They also shot 33.3 percent from three, 73 percent from the free throw line and allowed their opponent to score 77 points.

After the season opener, Villanova currently ranks 20th in the NCAA in opponent's points-per-game and 44th in points per game. They're also 72nd in the NCAA in assists per game due to Darrun Hilliard's excellent court-vision with the absence of sophomore guard, Ryan Arcidiacono.

The game will be broadcasted from Villanova, Pa, on the CBS Sports Network and heard from Ryan Fannon and Whitey Rigsby on 1210 WPHT Radio.

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