After their 82-76 loss to Providence a few weeks back, the Villanova Wildcats have gone on a five-game winning streak, most recently capped off with a win over St. John's, and have taken the spot as the No. 1 team in college basketball.
That's a great way to rebound from a loss, eh?
The five-game winning streak has lifted Villanova to a 22-3 overall record and they now have a two-game lead over the Xavier Musketeers in the BIG EAST standings. There is no team hotter than the Wildcats at the moment as are breezing through opponents with ease.
The likelihood of 'Nova getting the No. 1 seed in the BIG EAST Tournament as well as the NCAA Tournament is sky high now and Wildcats may be National Championship contenders. They still have problems to solve and they aren't the most perfect team but don't be surprised if come March, many are choosing 'Nova to go all the way. With games against Butler and Xavier following this, this will be another good test for the Wildcats.
But they will face a stiff nonconference foe as they travel to take on the Temple Owls, a 'Big 5' rival who is also gaining steam as well. The Owls, like the Wildcats, are on a five-game winning streak and are winners of six of their last seven. With wins over SMU and UConn, which was won by an incredible rally by the Owls, in that period, Temple currently hold the top spot in the American Athletic Conference with a 16-8 overall record and a 10-3 conference record.
But it's a tight race at the top of the American as Temple has a 1.5 game lead over fourth-place UConn and it only gets tighter as you go up the spots in the standings.
The good news for Temple is that 'Nova will likely be their last tough opponent of the season as they face the likes of Memphis and Houston to finish off the season. With all of their tough games out of the way this season, this will Temple's last chance to show they can play against the big boys.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
Radio: WTEL 610 AM (Villanova) || 1210 AM WPHT (Temple)
Stream: Streaming will be available via WatchESPN.
Odds: Villanova opened as a 9.5-point favorite via OddsShark. The line has ticked down to 8 and 8.5 points in other locations since.
Record ATS: Villanova (13-11) || Temple (13-9)
3 things to watch for
1. Balanced offense by 'Nova: Villanova's offense has to be one of the most feared units in college basketball. Five players are averaging double figures, with Josh Hart leading the way at a mark of 15.2 points per game. Anyone can go off in any game and that was evident in 'Nova's win over St.John's when Daniel Ochefu went off with a 25-point performance while Hart struggled with a seven-point performance of 1-of-6 shooting. It's all about balance for Villanova.
2. Better 3-point shooting by the Wildcats: Although 'Nova won against St.John's, their effort from deep was one to forget. The Wildcats shot an abysmal 21.1 percent (4-of-19) from the 3-point line and must get better as the season comes to a close. Look for a better effort from players like Kris Jenkins and Phil Booth, who both went a combined zero of nine from the 3-point line against the Johnnies.
3. Big test for Temple: This is the last test for Temple of the season. Looking at the Owls' schedule, there are no other big threats to them after this game against 'Nova. They're a quality team as shown by their standing in the AAC, and the fact that they were able to defeat both SMU and UConn this season. If the miracle comeback against the Huskies showed anything, it was that the Owls are a dangerous team and that Villanova should take them seriously.