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preGame: Villanova vs. Rutgers

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The Villanova Wildcats open BIG EAST play with a visit from the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Villanova is coming off of it's biggest win of the season over the Temple Owls (Owls vs Wildcats coverage), in which they battled a barrage of Temple 3's and fought back from large deficits to register a very good win.

Corey Stokes (24 points) and Maalik Wayns (season-high 21 points) led the way for the 'Cats, but they'll need to start getting a more complete team effort if they are going to survive the meat-grinder known as the BIG EAST.

Rutgers, under new coach Mike Rice, had won six straight games before falling to the North Carolina Tar Heels 78-55 on Tuesday. They have lost 4 straight BIG EAST openers. Rice was the coach at Robert Morris last season, who nearly upset 'Nova in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament.

More coverage after The Jump.

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Location: The Pavilion in Villanova, PA

TV: ESPNU

Blogosphere Coverage:

ESPN

Nova Beat

VUHoops - Closest To The Pin

On the Banks

The View From Vegas:

Villanova are 15 point favorites. Both the money line and over/under are OFF.

The Nova Blog's Thoughts:

This shouldn't be much more difficult than most of the OOC schedule was. Mike Rosario has transferred and Hamady Ndiaye has moved on from school into the pros.

Villanova will need to start getting a more consistent effort from Antonio Pena, Mouphtaou Yarou and Maurice Sutton. They cannot afford to be missing in action as we head into conference play. The 4-guard lineup is fun to watch, but we're going to need frontline support against the upper-tier teams.

Look for 'Nova to win their 45th straight at The Pavilion.