After a full six days off, Villanova looks to rebound on Friday night against the St. Joseph's Hawks after sustaining their first loss of the season last week to the Tennessee Volunteers. Not only are the Cats trying to continue their 41 game winning streak at The Pavilion, they are also trying to retain bragging rights against their Philadelphia rival. Known as the "The Holy War," this annual Big 5 matchup features two crosstown universities that genuinely hate each other in every way.
Preview of the game after The Jump...
Time: 8:45 PM ET
Location: The Pavilion in Villanova, PA
TV: ESPNU with Scott Graham and Bill Raftery calling the action
Radio: WNTP (990 AM)
About the Hawks
One thing really jumps out when glancing at the Hawks roster; St. Joe's is a very young team. 13 players fill out the roster, which consists of 2 seniors, 1 junior, 5 sophomores, and 5 freshmen. Thus far, the Hawks have been led by sophomore guard Carl Jones, who is averaging 16.2 points per game, and freshman guard Langston Galloway, who has put 12.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. They definitely don't wow you with any marquee names or signature wins yet, but when it comes the Holy War, you can throw everything out the window. These are always tight, heated games with a lot of passion and no love lost.
What to Expect
Over the course of Jay Wright's tenure, you can usually tell a lot about a Villanova squad in how they perform after a loss. Losing last week at Madison Square Garden was a surprise to some, but the game tomorrow night is what will stand out to me. Can this Cats team put a bad performance in the rearview mirror and focus on the task at hand? I can't guarantee anything, but I think the veterans and the coaching staff will have this team chomping at the bit tomorrow night against a hated rival. With a week off, everyone should be fully rested, and I really expect Corey Fisher to come back rejuvenated after that disappointing performance against the Volunteers. Look for him to be quite aggressive on the dribble drive against a lesser athletic team and setting up his teammates all night long instead of hoisting up forced shots. And of course, I can't wait to hear Raf open the game up with "and Villanova starts....man to man."
-St. Joe's Official Athletic Site: Men's Basketball Takes on 12th-Ranked Villanova on Friday
-Philly Hoops Insider: Here comes the Holy War
-One of my favorite stories to illustrate the Nova-St. Joseph's rivalry: Kyle Lowry vs. Phil Martelli