Skip to main content

Delaware-Villanova Preview

  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Villanova has been humbled by top-10 opponents twice in its last three games, but its contests against unranked foes have all been comfortable victories.

Tuesday night's visit from Delaware figures to fit the latter category for the 17th-ranked Wildcats considering the Blue Hens are still seeking their first-ever win against both Villanova and the Top 25 as a whole.

Villanova has won each of the previous 13 meetings, including last season's 78-47 victory. It was Delaware's 31st and most recent loss against the Top 25. The last 11 have been double-digit losses by an average of 23.5 points, while Villanova's eight victories this season against unranked opponents have come by an average of 23.6 points.

Five of those have been part of a 26-game home winning streak against unranked teams. It's also won 23 straight home games against nonconference foes.

But the Wildcats (8-2) are likely thinking more about their 86-75 loss at Virginia on Saturday, as well as a 78-55 defeat against Oklahoma on Dec. 7 in Hawaii.

"We played a better team today," coach Jay Wright said after the loss to the Cavaliers. "Their attention to detail, their execution is just on another level than ours right now."

The loss came despite shooting 49.1 percent against a traditionally great defensive team, but the Wildcats have struggled to defend the 3-pointer. In three games dating to the Oklahoma loss, they've allowed teams to shoot 50.9 percent from long range. Pile on Virginia's 31-19 rebounding advantage, and it didn't much matter how well Villanova shot.

"We have an inexperienced team," Wright told the school's official website. "We'll learn from this and we'll get better."

Individually, Kris Jenkins led the way against Virginia with a career-high 23 points, but the forward has been inconsistent offensively all season and is shooting 34.6 percent in his last three games.

That kind of production, however, will probably hold up against Delaware (5-4). The Blue Hens are coming off Saturday's 69-61 loss at Boston College after leading by three at halftime. The only reasons they were in the game at all were Kory Holden's performance and dominating the offensive glass. Holden had a career-high 35 points, while Delaware outrebounded the Eagles 42-34 and 13-2 on the offensive end.

But only Holden and Cazmon Hayes scored in the first half, and the Blue Hens had four players score for the entire game while totaling a season-low seven assists.

"You can't have two guys basically carry you," coach Monte Ross said. "We didn't have good enough play from other different guys that we needed to in a game like this. You expect in the second half other guys will contribute."

Holden has averaged 25 points in his last four games while the rest of the team has averaged 41.8 while shooting 35.7 percent.

"Kory was fantastic tonight, we've just got to get some more from our other guys," Ross told the school's official website. "It's very difficult to win on the road when you only score 61 points. We fought and battled and outrebounded them, so we were playing hard, we just weren't very efficient.

"We had a tough night but we have to pick ourselves up and get ready for Villanova."