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The Sun’s Arizin: Expectations For Villanova Basketball vs Xavier

Will we see the same Wildcats that put a thumping on Xavier to start this win streak?

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Happy Game Day Nova Nation! The Wildcats are out in Ohio today to take on Xavier in what’s always a difficult to play in Cintas Center today at 6:30 PM ET on FS1. That’s right, an early tip-off. Enjoy them while they last!

Today we’re going to look at what we can expect to stay the same and what may look different from the last go around with the Musketeers. In Brian Grave’s Xavier Game Preview yesterday, he already covered expected bounce backs for Xavier’s 3pt Shooting, Zach Freemantle, and their turnover rate. So today, we’re going to focus on what should look different for the ‘Cats.

Expanded Rotation

In the last meeting, Villanova went almost exclusively with a six man rotation. The starters plus Caleb Daniels all played at least 28 minutes, with Chris Arcidiacono and Jordan Longino each logging just four minutes a piece. Well things have changed since then, and for the better.

Let’s not kid ourselves, Jay Wright will always get a little starter heavy in the minutes category if the game is close. But we are starting to see Bryan Antoine pick up 10-20 minutes in those types of games, and I’d expect him to get similar run tonight. Longino and Arch will likely still get 0-5 minutes as late first half breathers or foul substitutions dictate, but the expanded rotation should keep guys fresh longer and help spread out those fouls.

Dixon’s Role Remains The Same

Some things shouldn’t change from Villanova’s gameplan in the first meeting between these two teams, and that includes an effort to get the ball to Eric Dixon in the paint. Xavier doesn’t really have a player that can body up effectively against Dixon’s 6’8”, 255 lb frame. Their best options are Freemantle, Hunter, or their lanky 7-footer Nunge off the bench. None of these guys could contain Dixon the first time around, as he went 6 of 8 from the field and 3 of 4 from the line for 15 points, adding eight rebounds as well. Expect Villanova to try to establish Dixon early and often to exploit his size down low, or force Xavier into fronting him which opens up lanes for dribble penetration.

The Shooting Slump Is (Fingers Crossed) Over

Villanova finally had a great shooting night from three against DePaul, going 9 of 22 for 40.9%. This was their second straight game shooting either around or above their season average, and a far cry from the stretch of sub 30% performances. And as we’ve already covered, it’s not because they took more threes. Villanova has maintained that better balance in shot attempts, making better shot selections and finally seeing their better shooters like Gillespie, Moore, and Daniels emerge.

We know that Xavier was extra-awful from deep last time around, which was the main reason Villanova came back and pulled away in the second half. But the Wildcats weren’t exactly hot from deep either, shooting just 28.6% themselves. I’d expect the Wildcats to bounce back here as well, making threes an important aspect but not driving force behind tonight’s outcome.

And that brings us to today’s poll, and we’re bringing back the classic question. We know that it’s pretty likely that either Collin Gillespie or Justin Moore will lead the team in scoring. So we put it to you Nova Nation: Outside of those two, who will lead Villanova in points against Xavier tonight?


Excluding Gillespie and Moore, who will score the most Points for Villanova vs Xavier?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Jermaine Samuels
    (105 votes)
  • 12%
    Brandon Slater
    (62 votes)
  • 33%
    Caleb Daniels
    (172 votes)
  • 3%
    Bryan Antoine
    (17 votes)
  • 28%
    Eric Dixon
    (146 votes)
  • 0%
    The Rest Of The Bench Combined
    (4 votes)
506 votes total Vote Now

In other news, Xavier previews, Moore’s big week, and a look inside Villanova Waterpolo. Enjoy!

Villanova at Xavier

No. 14 Wildcats to Visit No. 17 Xavier Wednesday | Villanova University
Villanova meets Xavier Wednesday night in Cincinnati

There is no one clear way to beat Villanova | Banners On The Parkway
Jay Wright’s squad has lost more than normal this year, but not in any discernible pattern.

Villanova at Xavier: 2021-22 college basketball game preview, TV schedule | Busting Brackets
A rematch between two top 25 teams takes place when Xavier and Villanova face off on Wednesday. Can the Wildcats complete the season sweep?

Big East: No. 17 Xavier hosts No. 14 Villanova on Wednesday |
Cintas Center will host a top-20 showdown on Wednesday night when No. 14 Villanova visits No. 17 Xavier

Villanova Men’s Basketball

College Basketball: Villanova’s Moore has a week to remember | thereporteronline
Justin Moore has been on a tear over the last four games and Monday the junior guard from Villanova was rewarded for his hot streak.

Villanova Athletics

Inside Water with Isabel | Villanova University
Senior center Isabel Herbst brings you a behind-the-scenes look at the 2022 Villanova Water Polo season with her weekly blog.