How to Watch:
Date: Saturday, December 4th, 2021
Time: 12:00pm EST
Venue: Finneran Pavilion - Villanova, PA
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Spread: SJU: +22.5 (-110) | NOVA: -22.5 (-110)
The Villanova Wildcats (5-2) are set to play host to cross-town rival Saint Josephs University (4-3) this Saturday at the Finneran Pavilion.
This meeting between Saint Josephs and Villanova will be the 79th meeting all-time, with Villanova holding the series lead; 53-25.
In Philadelphia, there are five schools in the city that, while not in a formal conference, compete each year in a round-robin-style tournament to see who gets bragging rights throughout the city. The five schools involved in this rivalry include; Villanova, Penn, Temple, St. Joseph’s, and La Salle and are appropriately nicknamed the Big 5 (NOT the City 6, sorry Drexel). The Big 5 schools represent some of the oldest, and most successful programs in college basketball history, with four of the five schools being top-50 for all-time Division I basketball victories.
The ‘Holy War’ is a rivalry game in the Big 5 between Villanova and Saint Josephs which is considered to be the most intense rivalry of them all. The rivalry dates back to their first meeting in 1921 with Villanova winning 12 of the first 13 meetings. Saint Josephs would then rattle off 10 of the next 12 games in their favor, spanning a decade-long hot streak. Flip the calendars forward about 50 or 60 years and you will find yourself getting ready for this Saturday’s matchup. Although the rivalry is not as intense as it used to be, there is still a ton on the line for both of these programs and as the Big 5 creed reads: ‘They say there is no trophy for winning the Big Five. They must not be from Philadelphia’.
The 2021-22 Saint Josephs Hawks will look to flip the script and notch a win against Villanova for the first time since 2011. The Hawks will be led by redshirt senior Taylor Funk, who is averaging 17.4 points on the year, good enough for tops on the team. Jordan Hall and Ejike Obinna will be the other two names for Villanova to highlight on their scouting report as both forwards average 10+ points and 7+ rebounds per game. For Saint Josephs to be successful in this matchup, they will need to bring their A-game for forty minutes against this stingy Villanova team. The Wildcats are certainly exploitable, with early-season holes in the perimeter and interior defense, it will be interesting to see how Saint Josephs exploits them.
As for the Wildcats, Villanova will come into this game looking to go 3-0 in the Big 5 part of their schedule and pick up a tenth consecutive win over rival Saint Joseph’s. Collin Gillespie will lead the Wildcats into battle on Saturday, averaging just over 17 points per game this season. In this contest, look for Jay Wright to utilize his bench more than he has in previous games. With all due respect to the opponents, these games are just as much live-action tryouts for the rotation as they are competing for the starters. Games like these are going to be of paramount importance to monitor for Villanova fans as we will really get to take a look at who will be in the rotation come springtime. As always, some names to monitor off the bench in this one will be Jordan Longino, Trey Patterson, and Nnanna Njoku, but also take a lookout for super senior Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree to continue to rehab his legs and make an impact underneath.
This historic matchup between two rivaled teams will certainly be must-see-tv for all Big 5 fans out there. For Villanova, this will be their most tightly contested game in the Big 5 slate. Saint Josephs will play them harder than any team has played them so far and if they are not careful, could shock them at home. For Saint Josephs, this game, regardless of the outcome, will better them going deeper into the season. The odds will be stacked against them, but they do have the talent to hang around a contender like Villanova. Anything can happen in the Big 5, so this game will certainly be a joy to watch.
My Prediction: 78-63 Villanova