A historic offensive performance against the St. John’s Red Storm sent the Villanova Wildcats to the Big East semifinals, where they’ll take on the Seton Hall Pirates on Friday night inside Madison Square Garden.
The ‘Nova-Hall matchup has been hotly contested in recent years with the Pirates having more success than any other Big East program against the ‘Cats, but two laughers this year – Villanova won by 30 and 22 in the regular season – have cooled the hype a bit for a rematch of last year’s Big East Championship game.
Here are three things to watch for on Friday night:
How will ‘Nova handle Angelo Delgado?!
Yes, that’s mostly in jest. Delgado is a hell of a player who can put up big numbers on the stat sheet. He proved as much with a near triple-double in the win over Marquette. But for some reason the media has taken to a storyline that Villanova can’t handle Delgado with a smaller front line. History tells a different story, but media gonna media.
With Darryl Reynolds back and Dylan Painter starting to play a more serviceable role in expanded minutes, the ‘Cats should be able to limit Delgado’s impact inside.
Now if Delgado gets cooking and the rest of the supporting cast shows up, we could have a game on our hands.
Big Smoove heating up?
One of our favorite storylines on the site – the ‘Cats need Kris Jenkins to find his shot heading into March if they’re going to accomplish what they’re capable of. Jenkins seemed notably aggrieved at his Big East Honorable mention selection (in fairness I thought the Big East got it right).
And then he dropped 24 points on St. John’s, including 5 three-pointers. Smoove back!
Mikal Bridges a.k.a. Patient Zero
Bridges sent Twitter – and the MSG stands – into a frenzy on Thursday afternoon when he lasted about 90 seconds before heading to the locker room. The official diagnosis from Villanova was a stomach virus, which is a big sigh of relief.
Hopefully Bridges is okay in the coming days, and that it isn’t any type of virus that hits the rest of the team. Villanova looked just fine without Bridges on Thursday, but they’ll need him and the rest of the rotation for a deep run in March.