Tough Games Abound
Villanova heads down to Tom Gola Arena as a prohibitive favorite in their first Big 5 match up of the year. Recent games at LaSalle's arena have not exactly been kind to the Wildcats, who dropped a 77-74 OT thriller to the Explorers in their last trip to North Philly back in 2012 and only snuck out with a three point victory in 2010. This year has the potential to be similarly close as La Salle, who sits at 4-2, was within 4 points of No. 8 Virginia with less than 2 minutes to play at the Barclays Center last Friday.
Matchup to Watch
Jerrell Wright, LaSalle's 6-foot-8, 240 senior power forward is second on the team in scoring and first in rebounding. How he matches up with JayVaughn Pinkston will be a fun matchup to watch. Villanova has not seen a forward with Wright's size, skill and experience yet this season. 'Nova will have to adjust to cover him and Steve Zack, LaSalle's 6-foot-11 senior center. There is a good chance Daryl Reynolds is called upon for more than his typical nine minutes to help cover the height and strength that LaSalle will throw at the Wildcats.
Where Villanova Can Win the Game
The Explorers are big, experienced and will come out with the edge fans have come to expect in all Big 5 matchups. Led by 6-foot-5, 220-pound wing Jordan Price and their big experienced front court they will attack the basket if given the chance. Where the 1954 National Champions fall short is efficient shooting, going only 38 percent from the field and 25 percent from the perimeter. Villanova needs to keep them off balance and continue their trend of not allowing opposing players to get open looks from the field or easy buckets inside. Villanova's backcourt should really have an opportunity to shine as LaSalle lacks the personnel to match up with Ryan Arcidiacono and Dylan Ennis.