Villanova Basketball will plays their first and only exhibition game of the season in a Sunday matinee versus Division II Pace University. The game will be played downtown at the Wells Fargo Center, and admission is free for all fans. You can pick up the tickets starting at 10am at the arena, and doors will open at 11am.
Following the game, the team will hold an autograph session with the players.
Game Time: 12:00pm ET
Live Video Stream: 'Nova Nation All-Access (subscription required)
What to know about Pace
As a Division II school, the Setters were already going to be terribly overmatched vs. one of the best teams in the country. But as a bad Division II program, things could get out of hand quickly. Pace went 5-23 last season and just 1-19 in the Northeast-10.
Seniors Shelton Mickell (16.8 ppg) and Kyle Pearson (16.6 ppg) are back for head coach Matt Healing, and sophomore guards Mike Demello and Bryan Rivers ensure that the Setters have their top 4 scorers back from last season.
Offensively, the numbers aren't pretty. The Setters don't shoot the ball well inside or outside the arc, and their assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.79 is putrid. Defensively, they did force 11.7 turnovers per game, but opponents shot 35% from downtown. Bombs away, Villanova?
Finally, as you would expect, Pace doesn't have much in terms of height. Victor Jusino and Jarrod Evans both top out the roster at 6'8" - Evans is a freshman and Jusino was a role player last season. Daniel Ochefu should be able to do some damage.
What to watch for with Villanova
It's an exhibition game, so it will likely get out of control quickly if Villanova takes the game seriously and executes. Jay Wright will eventually play everybody on the bench, but keep an eye out for who starts. There's been plenty of chatter that Jalen Brunson is in line to start. While there's precedent (Scottie Reynolds), Jay typically defers to the upperclassmen, especially early in the season.
The rotation should also be interesting. If Phil Booth isn't starting, he's almost certainly the first man off the bench. But how do Darryl Reynolds, Mikal Bridges and Donte DiVincenzo fit in? They'll all play plenty of minutes, but how early they get in the game could be an indication of the pecking order for minutes.
Finally, the focus has been on defense for Villanova as they look to replace their three best defenders from last season. Mikal Bridges looks like he'll be more than useful at the top of the 1-2-2 press and in the halfcourt, but might we see some zone? Jay Wright had it on display in both Blue-White scrimmages this fall and it might help overcome some perimeter deficiencies.