The 2-0 Villanova Wildcats will host the 3-0 Towson Tigers on Sunday, November 17th at the Pavilion. Game time is set for 5 pm ET, with coverage on Fox Sports 1. After a dominating 31-point victory over Mount St. Mary's, Villanova will look to improve to 3-0 over an impressive Towson team who just beat Big 5 rival Temple by six points last week.
Here are the keys to the game:
Limit Jerrelle Benimon
The 6' 8'' Georgetown transfer is a handful. Benimon posted a career high 31 points and also added 11 rebounds in the victory over Temple. Fran Dunphy, Temple's head coach, had nothing but positive things to say about Benimon after the loss.
"I think he's got a really good chance to be in the league next year because he's got good energy, he's got good enthusiasm, he finishes at the rim," Dunphy said after watching the 6-foot-8, 245-pound forward score a career-high 32 points and grab 10 rebounds in the Tigers' 75-69 win against the Owls Wednesday night at SECU Arena.
On the year, Benimon is averaging 20 points and 13 rebounds per contest.
"Benimon presents one of the toughest matchups we've seen," said Jay Wright.
It will be interesting to see who Jay Wright puts on Benimon. It could be James Bell, who is arguably the 'Cats best defender. However, Benimon has two inches on Bell, and could bully him in the low post. Jay Wright could potentially mix it up and put a number of different guys on him throughout the game. You could see JayVaughn Pinkston, or even Daniel Ochefu guard Benimon. He is a matchup nightmare for Villanova. Jay Wright is well aware that if they focus too much on him, Towson has enough good pieces around him to beat you.
"We also have to contain Benimon. But they have many other scorers and if we give him too much attention, those other scorers could go off."
Rebound, Rebound, Rebound
Towson is dominating the opposition on the glass. They have posted a 44-33 rebound margin in the three games thus far. The whole Wildcats roster will have to hit the glass to avoid giving the Tigers extra possessions. They had 22 offensive rebounds vs Temple. JayVaughn Pinkston will need to play a bigger rebounding role in this game. In the 'Cats victory over Mount St. Mary's he was often the "big" on the floor with Ochefu in foul trouble and only playing eight minutes. Pinkston only had two rebounds in that contest. He needs to be more involved on the glass.'
"We've got to rebound," said Wright. "We're concerned about their ability to get on the offensive glass.
James Bell will be the X-Factor in this match-up. He has to continue playing like he has in the first two games, which has been a drastic improvement over last year. He is averaging 18 points per game and is taking the ball to the rim more and more. He has shown a consistency in his play that will bode well for Villanova if it continues throughout the season. Bell is also leading the team in rebounds with 8.5 per game. He might be the man who is assigned to Benimon for the majority of the game. He will need to play solid defense and avoid getting in foul trouble. With the new defensive rules in place, Bell will have to be cautious in the way he defends.
The Wildcats will improve to 3-0. Final score 76-68.