In the Big East Teleconference, Jay Wright said DePaul looked "out of sync" in the last meeting between these two teams. Back on January 10th, Villanova coasted to an 81-64 win over DePaul to halt the Blue Demons' 3-game winning streak to start conference play. Since that game DePaul is 2-3 with wins over struggling St. John's and then-ranked Seton Hall. It's safe to say "DePaul-sanity" has been put to rest.
No matter, a conference game shall never be overlooked. A win would put the `Cats at 6-2 in the conference, tying them for a few hours with Providence. More importantly, a loss could drop Villanova to 4th. Here are some things to consider in today's matchup vs. DePaul:
DePaul's wins have come against the WORST teams
It was hilarious when everyone jumped on a mini DePaul bandwagon after they took first place in the conference with their 3-0 start. While a better start than the rest of the conference, the Blue Demons faced the worst teams in the conference (other than themselves). The teams they played received either zero votes in the AP Poll, or the least of those Big East schools who did. The other wins have come against the Johnnies, who are in 8th place after being ranked just a month ago, and Seton Hall who had lost 3 straight. While Wright blamed the blowout on January 10th on `Nova being "hot" throughout the game, he may be able to account for DePaul just being a fluke.
The Blue Demons have four double-digit scorers in Myke Henry (13.2 PPG), Billy Garrett Jr. (13.1), Tommy Hamilton IV (11.4) and Jamee Crockett (10.8). They trade off scoring captain each game, making it difficult to know who will be the guy on that particular day. In that last game against Providence, BGJ5 lead his team with 16 on 5-11 shooting, but the game before vs. Xavier Hamilton had 15 and Garrett Jr. only took four shots.
This game is not like most teams where there is one player that you know will be taking control throughout. If all Wildcat defenders (especially the forwards) can keep their own assignments in check, Villanova will leave Illinois with a W.
Can Darrun Hilliard carry the team again?
In the last DePaul-Villanova meeting, Hilliard had his best game of the season with a team-high 21 points on 8-12 shooting (4-8) along with 4 steals. That was his last 20-point effort before putting up a new season's-best 24 points on Sunday vs. Creighton with 6-three pointers. If Hilliard can once again be a catalyst for a quick lead (Villanova jumped to a 16-5 lead), DePaul will be waving a white flag early.