I was going to hold off writing a post until after this week's action and the Big 5 match up between Villanova and St. Joseph's Saturday night took place but after this weekend of hoops and Villanova's return to the Top 25 in today's AP and coaches poll, well I just could not resist.
# 5 Penn Quakers- (2-4)
The Quakers are led this year by a pair of super sophs, Darien Nelson Henry(16.8 ppg)and Tony Hicks(16.3)lead the team in scoring. Penn scored a victory vs Niagara this past week with a 85-66 win at the Palestra. Tony Hicks poured in a career high 33 points. Penn then lost at Lafayette 79-76, in which Lafayette secured their first win of the season. Things do not get easier for the Quakers as they travel to the Pavillion to battle Villanova on Wednesday.
#4 LaSalle Explorers (3-4)
LaSalle entered the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands, and defeated Morgan State, 78-59. The Explorers then lost to Providence 71-63. LaSalle had Tyreek Duren and Jarell Wright with 16 points each in the loss. LaSalle lost to Northern Iowa 65-50, which secured a fourth place finish for LaSalle. This loss is the kind that can keep you out of the NCAA tournament. Upcoming opponents Hartford and Stony Brook should secure some much needed W's for LaSalle.
#3 Temple Owls (3-3)
Temple finished out a fifth place finish at the Charleston classic with a 87-66 victory over UAB. Anthony Lee had 16 points and 11 boards in the win. Dalton Pepper had a career high 24 points and 6 rebounds on 10 of 14 shooting from the field. Pepper was named to the All Tournament team and was Big 5 player of the week ending 11/24. Temple hosts St. Joseph's Wednesday and plays Texas at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.
#2 St. Joseph's Hawks(4-2)
The Hawks also came away with a fifth place finish. They participated in the Old Spice Classic at Walt Disney World. After losing to LSU, the Hawks marched to victories over Siena, 78-66 and Washington State 72-67. Ronald Roberts Jr became the school's 51st player to score 1,000 career points including 21 vs Washington State. Langston Galloway scored a game high 27 points in the victory vs Siena. The Hawks battle Temple and Villanova this week in Big 5 match ups.
#1 Villanova Wildcats (7-0)
The Wildcats may have had the most impressive weekend in college sports, second to the Alabama-Auburn ending. Villanova won the Battle 4 Atlantis with victories over USC,93-79 and then #2 Kansas, 63-59, and finally over #23 Iowa, 88-83. Wins over Top 25 teams from major conferences will build their tournament resume nicely. Villanova has 4 players averaging double figures in points and plays a gritty, hard nosed defense. This is becoming and easy team to like. James Bell scored 20 points vs Iowa and was named MVP. Bell was also the Big 5 and Big East Player of the week ending 12/1. Ryan Archidiacono made the most valuable shot in both the Kansas and Iowa games . The Cats should get by Penn unscathed, and will travel to Hawk Hill on Saturday, in a battle for the #1 ranking in the Big 5 Poll. Look for a tight game but a Wildcat Win .
One added note-CSN Philly's Reuben Frank recently blogged that he thinks Drexel is the city's second best team, after Villanova. The Dragons played #4 Arizona tough in a 66-62 loss at Madison Square Garden in the NIT Tip Off Classic. Their second game was just as entertaining, a triple overtime 85-83 win over Alabama. Right now, the Dragons are the second best team.
Enjoy the games.