Tonight the Villanova Wildcats head to the famed Palestra in downtown Philadelphia for another Big 5 matchup, this time against the Penn Quakers. After a disastrous season last year in which they only won 6 games, new coach Jerome Allen has this year's squad looking much better with a 4-3 record to start the season.
Guard Tyler Bernardini is back after playing less than 2 games last season, and he is supported by Jack Eggleston, Miles Cartwright and Zach Rosen - all 3 average over 10 points per game.
For 'Nova, Isaiah Armwood and Maurice Sutton missed the last game due to back and ankle injuries, respectively. There has been no official word on their status heading into this game, although it's thought that Armwood may be back. Jay Wright also revealed on his weekly radio show that Corey Stokes is having a bout with the flu. Fun times in Wildcat land.
Game coverage is after The Jump.
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: The Palestra in Philadelphia, PA
TV: SNY (New York), Comcast Network (Philadelphia)
Radio: WXPN 88.5 FM in Philadelphia
The View From Vegas:
Villanova are 16 point favorites and the over/under is set at 136.
The Quakers lost two of their first three and got crushed at Pittsburgh on November 27 before bouncing back with wins over UMBC and Army. Rosen led the way with 20 points on Saturday and Tyler Bernardini scored 11 of his 13 in the second half to spark the 68-52 triumph over Army. Villanova dominated the meeting last season, getting 16 points from Wayns and 14 from Stokes in a 103-65 rout.
The Nova Blog's Thoughts:
This isn't the same Penn team that we embarrassed at The Pavilion last year. They're playing for a new coach, and when you have that, you have a lot of extra motivation and a renewed sense of hope. We've got a painfully short bench at the moment now that JayVaughn Pinkston is gone, and that Armwood and Sutton are both struggling with injuries. Not to mention that James Bell is still working his way back. Oh, and Corey Stokes has the flu.
Can we even field a team?
I expect this to be a tough 1st half, with us pulling away late. I'm not sure we cover that 16 point spread though. If I were a betting man, I'd say not a chance we do. This will be tougher than most think.