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Big East Play Kicks Off Tonight

It's hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone already, 2011 is almost upon us, and Big East conference games start tonight, with the Connecticut Huskies taking on the Pittsburgh Panthers at 8:30 PM on ESPN 2.  Although a very appealing matchup between top 10 teams, it certainly wouldn't be surprising to see a sloppy game with the Christmas holiday only 2 days ago.  

For Villanova though, they've had a nice little break from the court, with their next game not until this Thursday at home against the Temple Owls.  With the rivalry intensifying over the last few years, this Big 5 clash has garnered some attention already in ESPN's Weekly Watch and Rivals' Weekly Watch.

ESPN says:

Despite losing only one game so far, Villanova has its share of doubters. That's thanks to a relatively soft nonconference schedule and the Wildcats' occasionally uninspired performances therein. Temple, meanwhile, has proved its defensive bona fides (no surprise, given the Owls' defense last season), while simultaneously struggling to find interior buckets and rebounds on the offensive end. Even at home, this counts as a legitimate test for Villanova, not to mention the marquee Philadelphia Big 5 matchup of the year.

 According to Rivals:

Villanova is 10-1, but its toughest opponent was UCLA. The Wildcats are shooting 44.9 percent from the floor, ranking 14th in the Big East in that category. It's not much worse than what the Wildcats shot last season. Still, Villanova faces Temple (Thursday, 7 p.m., ESPN2), which, as usual, is playing solid defense. The Owls are holding opponents to 37.7 percent shooting.

Some more links after the jump...

Below are some more links related to Villanova and the Big East as we start the week.

     - Andy Katz: How will the Big East shape up?    

     - City Six Power Rankings

     - Big East Hoops Update - 12/27/2010

     - Wildcats remain #8 in both polls

     - Seton Hall's Jeremy Hazell was shot on Christmas

     - Marquette freshman to transfer