Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinal will look to bounce back tonight from their 70-68 home loss to Syracuse over the weekend as they take on the Villanova Wildcats on the road. As Rick Pitino mentioned at his press conference yesterday, this isn’t the Nova team that we’re used to seeing. Jay Wright’s team is 11-7 overall and 2-3 in Big East play. Nova had won seven straight games before losing their last three, including a 69-66 loss to Providence on Saturday.
Talent doesn’t appear to be the issue for Jay Wright’s team. As Rick Bozich of WDRB.com noted on Twitter earlier today, Nova has signed two 5-star recruits and eight 4-star recruits in the last four seasons.
Louisville is currently an 11.5-point favorite in tonight’s game. The Cards have a 9-8 advantage in the overall series, but are just 2-3 when playing Villanova on the road.
Nova is led in scoring by sophomore forward JayVaughn Pinkson who surprisingly comes off the bench for the Wildcats. He is averaging 13.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Ryan Arcidianco is averaging 11.6 points per game.
Senior big man Mouphtaou Yarou was expected to be a big piece for Jay Wright’s team, but Yarou hasn’t quite developed like some expected.
It’s usually a very competitive match-up when these two teams play each other, but unfortunately for Villanova, they’ve had a lot of trouble with turning the ball over this season, which is something Louisville will certainly look to take advantage of.
I’d be surprised to see anything other than man-to-man defense from Jay Wright’s team tonight, but he may decide to switch things up, considering Louisville had some struggles against a zone on Saturday.