The Villanova Wildcats have been the cream of the crop in the BIG EAST Conference. There is no sugar coating it. At 16-2, the Wildcats find themselves at the top of the standings and in the upper echelon of the polls. It's been a terrific season for Jay Wright and the Wildcats so far and it looks like they can't lose. 'Nova is 6-0 in conference play with wins over both Xavier and Butler, doing so impressively as well.
The most impressive win was the 30-point beating of Xavier in the conference opener. It was a statement game for Villanova and if they keep up this play, they are looking at a No. 1 seed in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
But they have a tough test in their next two games. First, they will face a Seton Hall team that plays well as the underdog and then they face the Providence Friars, who just beat Butler thanks to a late surge by Kris Dunn.
It doesn't get any easier for 'Nova from now on. That much is certain
Their opponent on Wednesday night will be the Seton Hall Pirates. The Pirates just recently snapped a two-game losing streak this weekend with a win over the Friars on the road. This is Seton Hall's most impressive win of the season as they took on a ranked team on the road and walked away with a win. That put Seton Hall at 13-4 and with a conference record of 3-2, good for sixth in the BIG EAST.
Seton Hall might not look like a team that could slay a giant like Villanova but they have a good shot at it. They did it last year after all. The Pirates have beaten two high-quality opponents in Wichita State and Providence. Only a loss to Long Beach State looks like a blemish on their resume. Right now, according to ESPN's Joe Lunardi, they are one of the last four teams in the tournament.
Let's see if Seton Hall can keep this up but they face a tough test after this as well. They face Xavier after playing Nova.
Have fun Seton Hall.
These two teams met two weeks ago at The Pavilion, where Villanova won 72-63. Will things be different this time around, or will the top cat in the conference take home a win again? Time will tell.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 9 p.m. ET
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: WTEL 610 AM (Villanova) || AM 970 The Answer (Seton Hall)
Odds: Villanova opens as a 7-point favorite (via OddsShark). The line has since bumped up to 7.5 points in most locations.
Record ATS: Villanova (10-7) || Seton Hall (10-6)
O/U: The O/U opened at 137. It has shot up to 139.5 in most locations.
3 things to watch
1. This will be a defensive battle: Both Villanova and Seton Hall are exceptional defensive teams. Villanova only allows 60 points per game, tied for 4th in the country and Seton Hall is kind of behind at allowing 65.9. But it's close enough. This will be a tough matchup for the Pirates especially considering the firepower that 'Nova has on offense. It's more about whether the Seton Hall defense can hold it together rather than the Villanova defense.
2. Another big game from Josh Hart?: Hart came up huge for Nova on the weekend with 15 points and 12 rebounds in a win against Georgetown. He controlled the game and led the Wildcats in scoring and is leading the team in that department as well for the season. Hart will need to have a good game against Seton Hall. Him and Ryan Arcidiacono are the keys to the 'Nova offense, but it looks like Hart is taking the main role. And flourishing at that.
3. Another dragon to slay for Seton Hall?: We gave Seton Hall the 'Cinderella' label last week and now it's a David vs. Goliath label this week. They beat Wichita State and Providence, so why not Villanova? We saw top teams like Kansas get thrashed around this week and Villanova is just as vulnerable. Seton Hall is at home and has some momentum after a big win. Looks like the perfect timing, right?