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Villanova Basketball vs. Seton Hall Preview

The ‘Cats return home for a MLK Day game against the Pirates.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Providence Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

After taking down St. John’s 70-57, the Villanova Wildcats have a quick turnaround and will take on the Seton Hall Pirates on Monday night. Since the formation of the new Big East, the Pirates have caused the most trouble for the ‘Cats, handing them one loss each of the last three seasons. However, two of them were at Madison Square Garden in the Big East Tournament, and the other was at the Prudential Center.

This season, Seton Hall is 12-5 overall, and 2-3 in the Big East. They have a few resume building wins against Iowa, Cal, South Carolina, and Marquette. The only bad loss was against Stanford back in November. With the game taking place at the Pavilion the Wildcats will be favored to grab their 18th win of the season. Here’s three things to watch for on Monday:

Angel Delgado is a Double-Double Machine

Seton Hall has played 17 games, and in 13 of them the 6’10” center from the Dominican Republic has had a double-double. For the season, Delgado is averaging 14.7 points and 12.4 rebounds per game. Additionally, the junior is top 20 in the country in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage, per kenpom.com. On offense, he’s grabbing 15.5% of possible rebounds, and on defense, it’s 28.4%.

The last two seasons Delgado has been contained by Daniel Ochefu, but with him now playing for the Washington Wizards, the responsibility falls on senior Darryl Reynolds and red shirt sophomore Eric Paschall. It’ll be interesting to see how both of them match up with Delgado, but they’ve played against guys similar to his size and/or skill set and succeed (Caleb Swanigan, Isaac Haas, Tacko Fall).

Free Throws

Over the past few years Villanova has had excellent success from the free throw line, and this season is no different. As a team, they’re making 78.1% of their free throws, good for 8th in the country. Mikal Bridges currently leads the ‘Cats, going 27-30 (90%) from the line. Kris Jenkins (88.5%), Jalen Brunson (82.5%), and Josh Hart (78.7%) are all hitting above 78% of their freebies, while Donte DiVicnenzo has made 73%.

For Seton Hall, it’s the polar opposite. Currently, they make only 61.2% of their free throws, checking in at 341st in the nation. Freshman guard Myles Powell has the best free throw percentage of their seven main rotation guys at 85.7%. Madison Jones is the only other player above 70%. Ismael Sanogo has shot only 48% from the free throw line, while Michael Nzei (51.3%) and Delgado (53.8%) haven’t had much more success.

If the game is tight at the end, or both teams are in the bonus, it could allow for Villanova to pull away.

Two Great Back Courts

Both Villanova and Seton Hall have fantastic back courts. 6’4”guard Khadeen Carrington leads the Pirates in scoring at 18.5 points per game and knocks down 44.6% of his threes. 6’2” Wake Forest transfer Madison Jones only averages 5.9 points per game but dishes out 3.6 assists a game, compared to only 1.8 turnovers. Guard/forward Desi Rodriguez averages 16.6 points, and 5.4 rebounds per game while hitting 40.6% from deep.

For the ‘Cats, point guard Jalen Brunson struggled a bit against St. John’s but is still averaging 14.0 points and 4.1 assists per outing. And then there’s National Player of the Year candidate Josh Hart. He’s leading the Wildcats in scoring with 19.3 ppg, while also contributing 6.7 boards, 3.6 assists, and 1.3 steals.