Villanova (1-0) at Purdue (1-0)
When: Monday, November 14th 2016
Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, IN
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: Big Ten Network
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The defending National Champions, Villanova Wildcats, will get their first test of the young season when they travel to West Lafayette, Indiana to take on the 15th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers on Monday night. The Wildcats won the Final Four on Kris Jenkins’ 3-pointer at the buzzer and started off the new campaign with an 88-48 thumping of Lafayette. Jalen Brunson had 17 points and Jenkins added 16 on Friday and Villanova races out to a 49-17 halftime lead. Preseason All-American Josh Hart scored 13 points in 23 minutes. The Wildcats held Lafayette to 29.2% shooting, including 6-of-32 from the beyond the arc, and dominated on the boards 53-33. Mikal Bridges came off the bench to contribute 16 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals against the Leopards. The Wildcats will get Western Michigan up next on Thursday.
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Purdue also had an easy time in their season opener with a 109-65 win over McNeese State. The Boilermakers got a big game from sophomore Caleb Swanigan, who recorded 23 points, 20 rebounds and six assists on Friday, including a 17-point, 10-rebound effort in the first half. He and Isaac Haas make up a terrific frontcourt for Purdue. Haas added 22 points, while Vince Edwards had 19 and 11 rebounds for Purdue, which played without three scholarship players including Basil Smotherman, was suspended for a summer arrest for marijuana use but will be available for Monday’s tilt. Haas, who shot 59.4% last season, was 9-of-11 from the field in the opener. Guard Spike Albrecht, a transfer from Michigan, contributed seven points, four rebounds and two assists in his Purdue debut.
Villanova is going to have a target on their back all season as the defending champions. Purdue is no slouch and I expect their frontcourt of Haas and Swanigan to have no problem tonight. Villanova might have the advantage in the backcourt, but this will be a tough environment for them to play in. I’ll take Purdue.
Pick: Purdue +2