Villanova continues Big 5 play against La Salle at the place that started the Philadelphia tradition, the Palestra.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game Time: Tuesday, December 6, at 7 p.m.
TV: ESPN2 (Mike Couzens, Doris Burke)
Live Stream: WatchESPN (where available)
According to OddsShark.com, Villanova is listed as a 16.5-point favorite over La Salle.
The Wildcats currently lead the all-time series against the Explorers, 37-27. Villanova has won the last three meetings.
What to Watch For
La Salle was severely undermanned last year, starting the season with just nine scholarship players that quickly dropped to six by January after a few injuries. The Explorers couldn’t wait for the year to end, and their transfers couldn’t wait to finally hit the court this year. So far, they’re contributing in their own ways. Syracuse transfer B.J. Johnson leads the team in points and rebounds, averaging 18.7 points per game and 5.7 boards per game. He’s doing it at an efficient rate too, making 53.6 percent of his shots on the floor and an impressive 46.9 percent from long range. He and La Salle’s returning star Jordan Price have created a formidable duo that’s been wrecking opposing defensive schemes. Then there’s Pookie Powell (Memphis) and Demetrius Henry (South Carolina). Powell scores over 10 points per game, but he’s great on the defensive end of the court. He’s a nice two-way guard that contributes on both ends. As for Henry, he adds some much needed size to La Salle’s front court. He’s one of two rotational players that stand 6-9 or taller that’s actually getting minutes. He might not blow up the box score, but he’s much needed.
Long Range Artillery
La Salle shoots 3-pointers well, very well. In fact, as of right now, the Explorers actually have a higher 3-point shooting percentage than the ‘Cats. (42.1 percent vs. Villanova’s 40.5 percent) Price and Johnson come to mind as obvious shooting threats, as they’re both knocking down over 40 percent of their 3-point shots. Although, they’re able to score from nearly anywhere and aren’t just 3-point specialists. Then there’s Cleon Roberts, who isn’t at the forefront of La Salle’s attack. Roberts takes the fourth most shots—pretty distant from the top three—and most notably enters Tuesday night with a 65.2 3-point shooting percentage (15-of-23). While this isn’t likely to sustain for the rest of the season, there’s no denying he’s coming in with the hot hand.
This is Villanova’s first game as a No. 1 ranked team since Feb. 24, 2016, when the Wildcats lost the title of being top-ranked at the Cintas Center in a loss to Xavier. While it’s not likely Villanova will lose against La Salle (tagged with a 94 percent chance of beating the Explorers, according to KenPom), how will Villanova handle being ranked No. 1? How long will the Wildcats hang onto it for?