After a double digit victory at Xavier, where head coach Jay Wright won his 500th career game, the Villanova Wildcats have a quick turnaround when they take on the DePaul Blue Demons on Monday night. The ‘Cats have already faced DePaul once this year, and they were able to squeak out a 68-65 win at the Pavilion in a game that was much closer than it probably should’ve been.
DePaul hasn’t beaten Villanova since January 3rd 2008, and the ‘Cats have a good shot at keeping that streak going. Here are three things to watch for in Monday night’s game:
The Blue Demons are not very good
Going into their December 22nd game against Wyoming, DePaul was sitting at a respectable 7-4. Since then, the Blue Demons are 1-13 and are currently 197th in the country per kenpom.com. They lost five in a row, including that Wyoming game, before grabbing their first Big East win at home against Providence, by a score of 64-63.
DePaul is coming into Monday night’s game on an eight game losing streak, and having lost 13 of their last 14. Most of them haven’t even been close, but they did take Butler to overtime before losing 70-69, and only fell to Georgetown by a score of 76-73, with both games coming at home. Villanova does have a very quick turnaround, but if your going to have two conference road games in three days, at DePaul is the one you’d one on the back end.
How will Darryl Reynolds’ injury change things?
Center Darryl Reynolds missed Saturday’s win over Xavier with a rib injury, and is officially listed as day-to-day. That would imply he has a chance to play against DePaul, but it seems unlikely. If he wasn’t ready to go on Saturday, he probably won’t be ready after only one additional day of rest. Especially, against a team like DePaul. But, how will that effect the lineup?
Jay Wright played six guys for the majority of the Xavier game, with freshman center Dylan Painter playing three minutes. However, he did play a season high 11 minutes just last week against St. John’s, and that was with Reynolds healthy. DePaul is more than 100 spots lower than St. John’s on kenpom, so if there was a game for Wright to get his guys some rest and get Painter some time, it’s this one.
Will Donte DiVincenzo keep up his terrific play?
Due to Phil Booth’s injury, red shirt freshman guard Donte DiVincenzo has gotten a lot of playing time this year, and he’s made the most of it. DiVincezo’s first big game came January 14th at St. John’s, when he poured in 19 points, grabbed three rebounds, and dished out two assists.
He struggled the next few games, including scoring only three points in the win over Virginia, but he did have the game winning tip-in. In the last three games, DiVincenzo is averaging 17.3 points, and 5.0 rebounds, including a career high 20 points against St. John’s.