Temple at Villanova
When: 7:00 PM ET, Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Where: The Pavilion, Villanova, Pennsylvania
PHILADELPHIA – (Wire Service Preview) – The Big 5 is a generally competitive round-robin played annually among the Philadelphia schools. However, Villanova has turned this series into a laugher in recent years and the top-ranked Wildcats look to sweep their city rivals Tuesday when they host Temple.
Villanova has won 17 straight Big 5 games and has a chance to send its seniors – Josh Hart, Darryl Reynolds and Kris Jenkins – to an unblemished Big 5 record in their four years with the Wildcats. “It’s unbelievable to think about,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said recently. “I don’t want to think about it because it’s monumental. It really is.” Hart in particular is enjoying another terrific season, most recently scoring a career-high 37 points in Saturday’s win against then-No. 22 Notre Dame. He and Jenkins will likely be the defensive focus for Temple, which is 3-0 in Big 5 games this season and can snatch the annual crown from Villanova with an upset on Tuesday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
ABOUT TEMPLE (7-3): The Owls have some good wins this season – Florida State and West Virginia, to name a couple – and their three losses have come by a total of 11 points. In Saturday’s win over DePaul, Obi Enechionyia scored in double-figures (15 points) as he has in every game this season, and the junior’s 4-of-6 3-point shooting raised his season percentage to 49.2. Shizz Alston Jr. also scored 15 points on Saturday, although he committed four turnovers after entering with six total turnovers in the first nine games.
ABOUT VILLANOVA (10-0): The defending national champions haven’t lost since last season’s Big East tournament, reeling off 16 wins in a row with Hart excelling in most of those contests. The senior swingman is averaging 19.5 points on 57.3 percent shooting, grabs a team-high 7.1 rebounds and chips in 3.8 assists and 1.4 steals. On the other hand, Jenkins’ scoring in the last four games has dipped from 22 points to 20 to 12 to a season-low seven against the Fighting Irish, and he failed to make multiple 3-pointers in that game for just the second time all season.
1. Temple G Josh Brown has played four games this season in his return from a torn Achilles’ tendon, and the senior has increased his scoring in all four outings.
2. Wildcats G Jalen Brunson, whose father Rick starred at Temple, was 9-of-11 for a career high 25 points in last season’s 16-point victory. He surpassed that mark two games ago with a 26-point effort versus La Salle.
3. Villanova G Mikal Bridges is shooting 61.8 percent and has shot at least 50 percent in all 10 games.