How to Watch
Time: 2:30pm EST
Stream: FOX Sports Go
Spread: Nova -10
The No. 3 Villanova Wildcats (9-1, 4-0), now back in action after a pair of COVID pauses left them idle for 27 days, are coming off an impressive victory Tuesday night against a late surge from the Seton Hall Pirates. The Wildcats will now turn their attention to another conference foe, the Providence Friars (8-6, 4-4) this Saturday in the Finneran Pavilion.
The Friars will come into the main line this Saturday looking to conclude a four game road trip dating back to their January 10th matchup vs. the Xavier Musketeers. Although the Friars have gone 1-2 on their road trip thus-far, their one win was massive, coming against the No. 11 Creighton Blue Jays in Omaha on Wednesday, 74-70. The offense was led by senior Nate Watson posting a career-high 29 points on 12 of 19 shooting from the field. Freshman guard Alyn Breed also netted a career high 15 points while also adding on six rebounds and three assists in the win. The Friars are starting to get a reputation of being a thorn in the side of ranked opponents, winning seven of their last eight games against ranked teams. They will try to add to that number this Saturday afternoon.
As for the Wildcats, this will only be their second game since two COVID outbreaks suspended their season on December 23rd. However, there is reason to be optimistic for Wildcat fans, as the Cats’ looked sharp on Tuesday’s gritty win over Seton Hall. Colin Gillespie led the Wildcats in scoring with 22, and Jermaine Samuels added a huge spark off the bench with 20 points on 3-3 shooting beyond the arc. Another player that stepped up in a big way was junior Brandon Slater, adding seven points and three steals in addition to his tenacious defensive efforts. Caleb Daniels and Jermaine Samuels were both question marks going into the game on Tuesday, and subsequently came off the bench. While Jermaine Samuels had an incredible game, Caleb Daniels still seemed to be affected and his minutes were limited. It will be worth keeping an eye on coach Jay Wright’s starting lineup and rotations this Saturday.
This will be the first of two meetings between the Wildcats and the Friars this year, in a game that was originally scheduled to be played in the evening. This matchup will be very difficult to preview, due to the unpredictability surrounding the Wildcats level of play after the unprecedented, nearly-month-long, pause in the heart of the season. History favors the Wildcats, who are 32-14 all time against the Friars at home, including four wins in the last five matchups. However, if there ever was a time to beat the Wildcats, this would be it, for Ed Cooley’s Friars. Coming off a big win in Omaha they get a vulnerable Villanova team just four days after an emotional, hard fought, and tiring game against rival Seton Hall. I predict this game to be very close, very physical and very fun to watch for anyone who loves BIG EAST basketball.
My Prediction: 73-69 Villanova