Seton Hall vs Villanova
When: 6:30 PM ET, Saturday, March 16, 2019
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
NEW YORK – Villanova has endured its ups and downs this season, but the team is 40 minutes away from making history. The 25th-ranked Wildcats can become the first team ever to win three straight Big East Tournament titles when they face Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden.
The top-seeded Wildcats rallied past Xavier on Friday, escaping with a 71-67 overtime win thanks to some clutch baskets from Phil Booth, Jermaine Samuels and Eric Paschall. “It feels great for this young group to do that. It feels like we’ve come a long way. Everybody’s learning day by day to play Villanova basketball,” Paschall said. Villanova slammed Seton Hall by 28 in the first matchup on Jan. 27 before the Pirates won the rematch 79-75 on March 9. Third-seeded Seton Hall outlasted Marquette late Friday night, escaping with an 81-79 win behind Myles Powell’s 22 points and seven assists.
TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, FOX
ABOUT SETON HALL (20-12): The Pirates have won their last four games in impressive fashion – two victories over Marquette, a win over Villanova and a blowout against Georgetown. Powell has made at least four 3-pointers in five consecutive games and scored at least 20 points in six straight. Michael Nzei had 15 rebounds on Friday – five more than his previous season high – and added 14 points for his second double-double of the campaign.
ABOUT VILLANOVA (24-9): The defending national champions had four players account for 67 of the team’s 71 points in the semifinals, led by Booth (28 points), who also contributed seven rebounds and five assists. Paschall had 12 points but is just 4-of-20 from 3-point land over the last five games. Samuels had 17 points against Xavier, his third double-digit scoring effort in the last five games following an 11-game run of single-digit scoring efforts.
1. Powell shot 6-of-19 from the floor in the first two meetings with the Wildcats this season.
2. Booth was scoreless in 19 minutes (on 0-of-5 shooting) in Villanova’s overtime win over Providence in last season’s Big East Tournament title game.
3. Seton Hall G Myles Cale has only one turnover in 88 minutes over the last three games.