#4 Villanova (16-2, 6-0) at Seton Hall (13-4, 3-2)
When: Wednesday, January 20th 2016
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: CBS Sports
The Villanova Wildcats look to remain perfect in the Big East when they visit the Seton Hall Pirates on Wednesday night in Newark. Villanova has won 21-straight conference games and their only two losses in the Big East the last two years were to Seton Hall. The Wildcats beat the Pirates 72-63 in Philadelphia on January 6th. The Wildcats shot only 36.2% in that game, but hit 26-of-32 free throws – 11 more than the Pirates. Villanova is coming off a 55-50 victory over Georgetown on Saturday were Josh Hart posted 15 points and 12 rebounds. Hart is leading the team averaging 15.5 points a game, but has missed his last ten three-point attempts over his last three games. The junior has three double-doubles in his last four contests and has four on the season, while he has scored in double-figures every game. Daniel Ochefu, who is averaging 10.1 points and 8.4 rebounds a game, dominated the Pirates with 20 points and 18 boards in the first meeting to set season highs in both categories. Villanova has four players that have hit 20 or more three-pointers led by Kris Jenkins (34) and Ryan Arcidiacono (31).
Seton Hall is in the middle of a tough five-game stretch in which they play Villanova twice, Providence, and Xavier. The Pirates were able to pull of the upset at Providence on Saturday with an impressive 81-72 win. Seton Hall outrebounded the Friars 50-36 and were led by Khadeen Carrington, who had 22 points including 12-for-12 from the free throw line. Isaiah Whitehead (15.1 points) may be the team’s leading scorer, but he’s definitely not their best shooter. Whitehead is shooting just 36% for the season form the field and 30.9% from 3-point land. He also has turned the ball over multiple times in 15 of his 17 games. Sophomore Angel Delgado is a force inside averaging 9.2 points and 9.6 rebounds a contest. Senior Derrick Gordon is heating up with 29 points in his last two games including a season-high 15 against Providence. The transfer from UMASS is only hitting 7 of his 28 three-point attempts this season, however. In fact, Seton Hall is ranked just 224th in the nation in 3-point percentage (33.5). They are very strong on the boards ranking 49th in rebounds a game (39.9).
I think the Pirates can keep this one close for a half, but Villanova’s defense will clamp down and pull away in the second half.
Pick: Villanova -7