College Basketball Game of the Week: Seton Hall vs. Villanova

Story posted February 6, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Andrew Field

On Saturday, No. 10 Villanova (17-5) will host No. 12 Seton Hall (17-5) for the first of two meetings in a Big East battle at the Wells Fargo Center. Let’s preview the matchup that should be an entertaining contest in Philadelphia. 

No. 10 Villanova

With Wednesday night's loss to Butler on the road, the Wildcats are now on a two-game losing skid. Prior to those losses, Villanova hadn’t dropped a game since January 4 when it fell to Marquette 70-61.

Sitting in second in the Big East, Villanova is having another solid season. Head coach Jay Wright, who’s in his 19th season at the helm, is used to having success. Wright has taken Villanova to the NCAA tournament 14 out of the last 15 seasons and has won two national championships in since 2016.

The Wildcats continuously reload talent, which makes them so difficult to beat because they’re always a contender year in and year out. This is seen in their starting lineup as all five players average over 10 points per game. Junior point guard, Collin Gillespie, leads the way for the Cats with 15.9 points, 4.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Already a national champion from the 2017-2018 season, Gillespie knows what it takes to have success in the Big East.

A pair of freshman in Justin Moore and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl have bought into the Wildcat system and have reaped the benefits. Moore averages 10.8 points per game, and Robinson-Earl, a fromer five star recruit, leads the team in rebounds per game with 9.4

The bench depth has been a cause for concern in Villanova’s recent losses. Other than Cole Swider, nobody else on the bench averages more than two points per game.

No. 12 Seton Hall

The Pirates have lived up to preseason expectations as they sit atop the standings with a 9-1 conference record.

Senior guard Myles Powell, who is just coming off a 34-point performance against Georgetown, is expected to carry the load again for Seton Hall on Saturday. Powell is ninth in the NCAA in scoring, as he averages 22.0 points per game. Powell came back to school for his senior year to not only try to help Seton Hall win the Big East, but also a national championship as well.

If Seton Hall wants to accomplish these expectations, they’re going to need more than one go-to player. Enter Quincy McKnight. McKight, a senior guard out of Bridgeport, Connecticut, facilitates the offense. He leads the team with 5.5 assists per game and also is dangerous on the defense end as he chips in 1.7 steals per game.

The lethal combination of McKnight and Powell might just be what head coach Kevin Willard is looking for to push this team over the hump and win its first Big East title since the 2015-2016 season. Willard has had success with the program in recent years, but this is by far his most talented team since that championship season.

Prediction

This is an important match up for both teams. Villanova needs to gain ground, while Seton Hall wants to maintain its lead in the league.

Expect Seton Hall to come out with energy early on the road, but Villanova’s depth in the starting five will carry it to a big conference victory.

Prediction: Villanova 79, Seton Hall 70

 

 

Andrew Field is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email aaf5329@psu.edu.