Friday, November 22, 2013
When: 7:00 pm Eastern
Delaware Blue Hens (2-2) vs Villanova Wildcats (3-0)
RPI: Towson: 145 | Villanova: 47
KenPom: Towson: 105 | Villanova: 16
The Pavilion (Capacity: 6,500)
Where: Villanova, PA
TV: Fox Sports 1
Radio: 610 WIP
Line: Villanova -16.5
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Delaware enters the game on a two-game winning streak after dropping their first two games to Richmond and Charleston Southern, while Villanova has handled Lafayette, Mt. Saint Mary's and Towson in their first three games.
Villanova has faced the Blue Hens seven times in team history, winning all seven. They have met often in recent seasons, with the 'Cats taking a 75-65 victory on December 16th last season. Villanova has won it's seven games against the Blue Hens by an average of 18.7 points.
Villanova plays its second consecutive CAA opponent this week, when the Delaware Blue Hens make the short trip north to the Pavilion. The Hen's were picked to finish fourth in the CAA this season and have been just 2-2 to open the season, with wins over Hampton and Army in their last two contests. The Hens may have the chance to finish that high in the realignment-depleted CAA, but they should be overmatched by the Big East's Villanova.
With the CAA likely a one-or-two bid league, Delaware isn't a favorite to head to the NCAA tournament this season, but being pretty familiar with Villanova's line-up, the Hens could give Villanova a pretty good challenge this season.
The Hens are led on the scoreboard by 59th-year senior Devon Saddler, who has put up 23 points per game on 53.3% shooting. Saddler won't be on the Pavilion court on Friday night because he was suspended for the next month, however, leaving junior guard Jarvis Threatt to try to fill his shoes. Threatt has averaged 17 points per game while adding 6.5 rebounds and 6 assists, while Kyle Anderson has joined him, scoring 24 and 16 points in the last two games.
Delaware's backcourt emphasis has made them a heavy three-point shooting team, a fact that may see them feast or famine, expect the Hens to land some upsets on their good days. Against Army, they were 7-for-22 (32%) from deep, but are shooting 34.8% from deep, over their first four games.
With four players available who have averaged double-digit points this season, the Blue Hens have a seemingly-balanced attack that should challenge the Wildcats' defense to put consistent pressure across the floor. Their defense leads the team with an impressive efficiency through three games, ranking 9th-best in the NCAA's Division I.
KenPom.com gives the Wildcats a 90% chance of victory in this game.
Monté Ross is a Philadelphia native who has been leading the Blue Hens since 2006, after serving as an assistant coach at St. Joseph's (where he helped coach Delonte West and Jameer Nelson), Drexel and Lehigh. He has compiled a 54-72 record in Newark, with his best seasons coming in the last two years, with a 5th-place finish in the CAA and an invite to the CBI two years ago, and a 19-win, CAA second-place finish last season.
Football alumni Joe Flacco and Rich Gannon are among the Hen's most famous alums, along with former Texas Ranger and Hanshin Tiger Kevin Mench, and who can forget Vice President Joe Biden or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
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