The structure of the Legends Classic dictates that Villanova hosts a few games at the Pavilion before automatically advancing to the bigger-stage in Brooklyn. The first of those games happened on Monday night -- an easy demolition of the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore (a school better known for it's pre-1970 football teams) -- the next installment of the Legends Classic comes tomorrow as the Wildcats will host coach Jay Wright's alma mater, Bucknell.
The Bison had a 16-14 record last season, but won six of their final seven games in the Patriot League to finish the season strong. They have started off this season 1-1, winning their opener against Marist, 75-72 but losing at Michigan, 53-77, on Monday in another Legends Classic warm-up game. While the Bison will certainly be ready to give Villanova their best, the Patriot League squad will have an up-hill climb against the ranked-'Cats
The last meeting between the two programs occurred four years and one week ago, with the 'Cats taking a 68-52 win at the Pavilion.
The Wildcats have five players who are averaging 10 points or more per game (through two games) and should have no issues scoring against the 1-1 Bucknell Bison. Bucknell has allowed each of its opponents to score over 70 points.
Here are the 3 biggest match-ups to watch in this one:
Daniel Ochefu vs. Nana Foulland
A 6'9", 220 lbs Freshman, Foulland is the leading rebounder for the Bison through two games, playing 20 and 25 minutes, respectively. Against #24 Michigan, he scored 9 points and grabbed 7 boards with 1 block, shooting 4-of-5 from the field. He will be charged with battling Daniel Ochefu moreso than any other Bison player.
Ochefu should be able to take advantage of his experience and size-advantage over Foulland, who will likely need to try and out-work the Wildcat forward to gain an advantage inside. The Bison's center has not been in foul trouble yet, but if the Wildcats are able to get Ochefu going offensively, Foulland might be baited into foul trouble with this match-up.
Dylan Ennis vs. Steven Kaspar
Kaspar is the senior leader for Bucknell, manning the point and looking to create opportunities. He leads his team with 2.5 assists per game this season, and averaged 4.6 assists per game last year. His scoring number has increased from 6.5 ppg last year to 8.5 ppg this season, and he has become the team's second-leading scorer.
Based on skill-sets, it seems to make sense to use Dylan Ennis to cover the Bison point guard, where he can use his athleticism to smother the opposing guard and limit him.
As a distributor, Kaspar will not necessarily be looking to blow past his man (though, if Ennis allows it, he'd be remiss not to oblige), but will seek passing lanes to find an open shooter. For Ennis to be effective, he will need to stay on top of Kaspar and close off the more dangerous passes to outside shooters like Chris Hass and Ryan Frazier.
Ryan Arcidiacono vs. Chris Hass
Hass is the show for Bucknell this season. Shooting 50% from deep, he has averaged a team-leading 13ppg and 4 rebounds. His danger zone is on the perimeter, however, as he is only 3-for-12 from inside the arc. Containing Hass means keeping a hand in his face on the perimeter, and working to shut down passing lanes for his teammates to find him. Ryan Arcidiacono should be able to stick to Hass on the outside -- if Hass tries to blow past the point guard, a little help inside may be effective.