And we're back to Big 5 action, perhaps the only place left where Villanova fans might feel safe about a W!
(Even that's a stretch after last weekend. Still gagging over it)
The Villanova Wildcats will host the Penn Quakers at The Pavilion on Saturday night, tip being set at 7:00 pm ET. The game will be broadcast of ESPN3.com.
In recent years, Penn hasn't posed much of a threat to 'Nova, but that could change this year. Penn has a star in Zach Rosen and gets pretty solid secondary scoring from it's role players as well. Outside of a 20-point beatdown at the hands of PItt, Penn has been competitive in every game they have played this year, posting a 4-4 record to date.
More on Penn and the Zach Rosen show after The Jump.
In a story that came out earlier this week, Zach Rosen admitted that he was almost a Villanova player. Unfortunate for Jay Wright and 'Nova, because Rosen has had a stellar career, something not many probably expected out of the diminutive point guard.
Rosen is posting career numbers so far this season, averaging 21.7 ppg, 5.6 apg and 3.3 rpg. Oh, and he's shooting a casual 57.1% from beyond the arc. Scared yet? I think I need a fresh change of drawers considering how we've been defending the longball.
But it's not just Rosen who can get it done on the offensive end. Tyler Bernardini (feels like he's been there for 10 years) averages 12.5 ppg and Miles Cartwright chips in with 11.1 ppg. Foreign import Marin Kukoc (I miss Toni Kukoc) went 3-3 from deep in their last victory of Manhattan, so he's basically a poor man's Nikita Mescheriakov who can hurt you when you forget about him.
Past that, there isn't much consistent offense, and as an Ivy League team, you can expect the Quakers will take a lot of jumpers. And more than likely have a career shooting night just like everyone else we play.
It'll be the job of Maalik Wayns to not only shut down Rosen, but win that battle when he's on offense as well. Villanova, right or wrong, is going to be leaning on Leek this year. He needs to step up.
The one glaring weakness as you would imagine is a lack of big bodies in the frontcourt for Penn. Literally, there is nobody that has a prayer of containing Mouphtaou Yarou, so he should be touching the ball basically every trip down the floor until Penn decides to take him away. Mouph has shown he's capable of dominating a game for short stretches, not he just needs to do it for longer intervals.
Barring a 3-point bonanza (anyone guess what the team worked on in practice this week?) 'Nova should be able to walk away from this one winners and gain some positive momentum for Tuesday's tilt with the Missouri Tigers.
PENN PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Prediction: Villanova wins 72-61
The game airs on ESPN3 at 7:00 pm ET. We'll have our game thread up at 6:30. See you there!
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