Villanova, the number eight ranked team in the nation, will stay-at home to face Butler at The Pavilion. Villanova is coming off games in which they barely beat unranked St.Johns and Providence.
Tyler Ricky Tynes, a Villanova beat writer for VU Hoops, examines Nova's next matchup against Butler in a Q&A he completed with me. Check out some of their game coverage including a prediction thread and the first part of a "Behind Enemy Lines" series.
Q: Do you think Villanova deserves their rank (#9) in the AP Top 25 Poll after barely beating Providence and St.John's this week?
A: I'm probably in a small group, but I don't think they deserve their ranking and haven't thought that they deserved it in several weeks. I personally believe that a majority of teams in the top-25 would beat Villanova the way they've been playing for the last few weeks. Doesn't seem like they'll make it past the sweet sixteen unless they're bench starts playing well, they learn how to guard the perimeter or they find some guards that can defend even slightly capable guards off the dribble.
-Q: Darrun Hilliard led Nova over St.John's in their last game by scoring 18 points. What do you think has been the key to his success.
A: Hilliard is just an extremely consistent player, in my opinion the best player on the team despite what some stats may say. He's the teams best three point shooter in Big East play (41%) and plays better defense, due to his length, than James Bell. Ask Coach Wright and he'll tell you the same, he's just a consistent player. A glue guy. In tight games where Villanova has struggled, a high percentage of the time, Hilliard is the guy stepping up when others aren't.
Q: Butler has a pretty good defensive squad and Villanova shot a mere 39% from the field against the Johnnies, what are they going to have to do to step up their shooting?
A: I don't know if their going to do anything different really. For a team that heavily relies on the outside shot, if they get going from there at a 40% clip (like they did against St. John's) they should do fine. Their defense will carry them even if the offense doesn't show up. It'll be about containing Dunham which they can do on the perimeter with Hilliard and on the inside with Pinkston.
-Q: Kellen Dunham, Butler's best shooter, has been kept under control multiple times this year, do you think Nova will be able to contain the guard?
A: I'm not confident that they will unless they keep the correct matchup on him the entire game. I'd prefer Hilliard to guard him, his length will bother any shooter's stroke when running down a shot on the perimeter. If Butler uses some high screen-and-rolls with Khyle Marshall they can get a switch and a mismatch or free up Dunham for an open, and probably, high percentage shot. The switch would likely be either Bell, Pinkston or Ochefu and Dunham should be able to win each of those match ups on the outside. He'd lose if he took more than two steps inside the arc.
Q: What is your prediction for the match up between Villanova and Butler?
A: A closer game than expected, Villanova 62, Butler 57.