Happy Game Day Nova Nation! Tonight’s the big night. Villanova and Providence, the top two teams in the conference, finally face off in a game that sets up the home stretch of the season. If Providence wins, they’ve got a virtual lock on the Big East Title and open a path to a possible #1 Seed in the NCAA Tournament. If Villanova wins, the Big East still runs through the Main Line and the Wildcats have a shot at their eighth Regular Season Championship in nine seasons.
With that in mind, I’ve been combing through the data and found some interesting tid-bits about tonight’s big game:
Providence’s First Regular Season Title
While Providence has a pair of Big East Tournament Titles to their name, they’ve never won the Big East Regular Season Championship. Of the current Big East members, only Providence, Butler, and DePaul haven’t won in the regular season. Butler’s had less than a decade to accomplish the feat, and DePaul is... well DePaul. But Providence’s drought is over 40 years long. This would be a huge bucket list item for the Friars, and knocking off the team that’s dominated the conference in order to do it would be icing on the cake.
First Top 10 Matchup For These Schools
Villanova and Providence have never faced off while both teams were in the AP Poll Top 10. The closest they’ve come was back in 2016 when #11 Providence hosted #3 Villanova at the Dunk, a game which Nova won handily. The truth is that Providence hasn’t been ranked in the Top 10 outside of this season and 2016 since the Big East began. If this truly is the best season Providence has had, a win over a Top 10 team would go a long way in solidifying that.
Cooley vs Wright
Jay Wright has gotten the better of Ed Cooley over the course of their careers. Wright is 17-6 against Cooley all time, but that ratio has started to swing more towards Cooley’s favor. The pair of split their last four meetings, going 2-2. They’re also 2-2 in their last four meetings at the Dunk, dating back to 2018. Wright’s still way out ahead, and in their last 10 games he’s 7-3. But the lesson here is that Cooley has split with Wright when playing at home with unranked teams. What can he do when his team is Top 10?
Close Games are Common at the Dunk for Villanova
Everyone’s talking about how “lucky” Providence has been this year, winning all nine of their two possession games. That’s not necessarily good news, because close games have been the theme when these two face off at the Dunk. Villanova vs Providence games in Providence have been decided by six points or less in 7 of their 10 games, including all of the last four. All signs point to this being another close one, so Wildcat fans will have to hope that Providence’s luck has finally run out.
At the end of the day, none of this means anything. These are two very different teams than those that have faced off in the past, and it should be a fantastic game. The question to you Nova Nation is simple, who will win?
Which team will win in tonight’s Top 10 Showdown?
This poll is closed
#10 Villanova Wildcats
#8 Providence Friars
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