Event: Boston University Terriers (4-6) Vs. Villanova University Wildcats (5-4)
Date/Time: Tuesday December 13-7 p.m.
Location: Wells Fargo Center (Capacity: 20,444)-Philadelphia, PA.
Broadcast Info: Tuesday's game will pit the Terriers and Wildcats on ESPN2, with Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy on the call. Doug Brown and Brian Maurer will provide a radio broadcast of the game on 1510 AM in Boston.
All-Time Series: Boston University is still looking for their first win against the Wildcats in a series that dates back to the 1937-38 season. Villanova won their third straight game between the programs last year when they hosted the Terriers as part of the NIT Preseason Tip Off. Matt Griffin had a big game in his first trip back to Philadelphia with the Terriers scoring 10 points and adding four assists but Villanova came away with an 82-66 victory.
Last Time Out: Saturday's game against Harvard, was as ugly as a game as the Terriers have played all season. The Terriers shot just 30 percent and allowed then #24/25 Harvard to shot a blistering clip from the field and dominate the board as well, as the Terriers dropped their second consecutive game by a 76-52 margin.
Villanova comes into the game sporting a two-game losing streak of their own after dropping contests to Missouri and to fellow Big 5 member Temple on Saturday. Despite keeping it even for 32 minutes, Villanova fell 78-67 as the Owls went on a 24-11 run down the stretch, handing Villanova it's first loss in the state of Pennsylvania.
Storylines: The Boston University-Villanova storyline continues as Joe Jones fills Pat Chambers' place, as the ex-Nova assistant taking on his former boss, Jay Wright. For the second consecutive season, the two teams will face off in Pennsylvania, giving a former Wright assistant the chance to beat his mentor, and a heavily Philadelphia dominated roster another homecoming.
For the Terriers, it's their second of three trips to the city of Brotherly Love in December, after the team dropped a 75-68 decision last Wednesday to St. Joseph's. The loss ended the Terriers season-high, four-game winning streak as Boston University's defense couldn't slow down the Hawks and the team turned the ball over 14 times. Add in Saturday's loss, albeit to a far superior opponent in Harvard, and there are reasons for concern for the Terriers. In consecutive games, the team has struggled to defend, a problem that had been constrained to halves rather than earlier games this year.
On the other side, Jay Wright's team has continued to decline since the team reached the Final Four in 2009. The Wildcats have dropped four of their past five games, after opening the season with four consecutive victories and were selected to finish 8th in the Big East. Villanova is 4-1 in home contests this season but this will be their first game at their second home, the Wells Fargo Center, which also hosts Philadelphia 76ers and Flyers games.
Three juniors are the next generation of Wildcats stars, as Maalik Wayns, Mouphtaou Yarou and Dominic Cheek lead the team in scoring, rebounding and assists. Wayns is the leading man for the Wildcats with 18.7 ppg and 5.2 apg and has the quickness to keep up Terrier point guard D.J. Irving.
Players To Watch:Pat Hazel has cooled down significantly for the Terriers after a hot start to the season, where he served as the team's number three scoring option. After finishing in double figures in four consecutive games, including his first career double-double, the Terriers best big man has posted just 15 points in the team's past two games. While Boston University's advantage is usually in the back court, Hazel will need to be assertive, as Irving and Darryl Partin will have their hands full against the Wildcats guards.
Dominic Cheek, is the third scoring option for Wright and has had very mixed results. Despite averaging 12.4ppg, the talented swingman is averaging just 9.5ppg in the team's four losses, including just five points in the team's first loss of the season to St. Louis. Cheek will likely draw the task of defending Partin, who came into Saturday's game as the nation's second leading scorer. If Cheek can be aggressive early and potentially get Partin in foul trouble, the Wildcats should be able to blow by the Terriers, despite their recent struggles.
Prediction: Boston University needed their four-game winning streak badly because of the looming schedule that greeted them in early December, with Villanova serving as the third of three very difficult opponents. I'd love to say the Terriers can come away with their second victory over a BCS opponent of the season, but Villanova's length, home-court advantage and the Terriers play of late, doesn't inspire much confidence.
Villanova 75, Boston University 58