NCAA

Scouting reports: Villanova-Xavier and St. Joe's-George Mason

Scouting reports: Villanova-Xavier and St. Joe's-George Mason

A pair of City 6 schools are in action Tuesday night. Let's get you set for the matchups.

No. 3 Villanova (15-1, 3-1 Big East) vs. No. 15 Xavier (13-2, 3-0 Big East)
7 p.m. at the Pavilion on FOX Sports 1

Last time out
Villanova rebounded from its first loss since March 12, 2016, by beating Marquette, 93-81, on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wildcats looked laser-focused after having their 20-game win streak halted by a 66-58 loss at then-No. 18 Butler on Wednesday. As a result, Villanova lost its No. 1 perch atop the country.

Xavier dispatched hapless St. John’s, 97-82, on Saturday for its sixth straight win following back-to-back defeats at the hands of undefeated Baylor and Colorado. The Musketeers also own wins over Providence and Georgetown, making them the only Big East team without a conference loss.

Scouting report
Villanova is a nightmare when connecting from long range like it did against Marquette. The Wildcats made 14 of 23 (60.9 percent) from beyond the arc as Kris Jenkins (6 for 9), Mikal Bridges (3 for 3) and Jalen Brunson (3 for 3) went a combined 12 for 15. Villanova shares it (14.6 assists) and takes care of it (10.7 turnovers) with a 1.36 assist-to-turnover ratio, second best in the Big East. Josh Hart is the leader with averages of 19.8 points and 6.8 rebounds, but many Wildcats can hurt you.

Xavier receives a massive boost in the return of guard Myles Davis, who sat out the first 15 games serving an indefinite suspension handed down by head coach Chris Mack. The senior from Plainfield, New Jersey averaged 10.8 points per game last season while making 64 three-pointers and leading the Musketeers with 4.1 assists per game. Xavier ranks first in the Big East with a plus-8.1 rebounding margin as its guards boast terrific size. Trevon Bluiett (6-foot-6), Edmond Sumner (6-foot-6) and J.P. Macura (6-foot-5) all average 14-plus points per game.

What it means
A win for Villanova would push the Wildcats into first place of the Big East and only help their résumé and RPI for NCAA Tournament seeding. 

A loss would be Villanova’s second in conference play after it lost only two league games all last season.

Series history
The Wildcats spanked the Musketeers at the Pavilion last season, 95-64. Xavier got its revenge in the second meeting when it knocked off top-ranked Villanova in Cincinnati, 90-83. The Wildcats lead the all-time series, 22-5.

What’s next?
Villanova takes on St. John’s Saturday for a noon tip-off at Madison Square Garden.

Things don’t get much easier for Xavier, which travels to No. 12 Butler on Saturday to take on the Bulldogs at 2 p.m.

St. Joe’s (8-6, 2-1 A-10) vs. George Mason (11-5, 1-2 A-10)
7 p.m. at Hagan Arena on TCN

Last time out
St. Joe’s made easy work of Fordham, 70-55, on Saturday in New York to alleviate the sting of its 30-point loss to Rhode Island four days prior.

George Mason fell at St. Bonaventure, 82-72, on Saturday, dropping to 1-2 in the Atlantic 10 after going 10-3 in the nonconference.

Scouting report
The Hawks continue their push forward without Shavar Newkirk, a junior guard who was averaging 20.3 points per game before tearing his ACL, ending his 2016-17 season 12 games into the schedule. St. Joe’s does have James Demery back. The 6-foot-6 forward scored a career-high 27 points in the win over Fordham, his third game back since being out after injuring his left foot in the season opener. Demery averages 16 points per game, while sophomore Lamarr Kimble (14.1) and freshman Charlie Brown (10.2) follow suit.

The Patriots, who have already equaled their win total from last season, are led by first-year head coach Dave Paulsen, who came to George Mason from Bucknell, where he was a three-time Patriot League Coach of the Year. Marquise Moore does it all for the Patriots as the 6-foot-2 senior guard remarkably averages a double-double in points (18.0) and rebounds (10.6). He also leads George Mason with 3.6 assists per game. The Patriots don’t shoot the ball particularly well as they’ve made just 88 threes, second to last in the Atlantic 10 ahead of only the Hawks at 82.

What it means
A win for St. Joe’s would give it a 3-1 mark in conference play, a real positive considering the Hawks went into their second A-10 game knowing they’d be without their leading scorer the rest of the season.

A loss would drop St. Joe’s to .500 in league competition ahead of a tough matchup against Richmond, currently 9-6 and 3-0 in the Atlantic 10.

Series history
George Mason has never beaten the Hawks, who lead the all-time series, 4-0.

What’s next?
St. Joe’s welcomes Richmond on Saturday for a 12:30 p.m. tip-off on NBCSN.

George Mason hosts Saint Louis on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., a game also on NBCSN.

Temple-UConn observations: Despite valiant effort from Marchi, Owls lose 1st homecoming game since 2008

Temple-UConn observations: Despite valiant effort from Marchi, Owls lose 1st homecoming game since 2008

BOX SCORE

That’s why football is a week-to-week game. Forget about momentum.

Temple found that out the hard way. After coming alive in a big road win over East Carolina last week, the Owls were humbled when a fourth-quarter rally fell short Saturday in a 28-24 homecoming loss to Connecticut at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Owls had one final shot at the victory with a drive in the final minute, but a Logan Marchi heave to the end zone was broken up.

The loss dropped Temple back under .500 at 3-4 (1-3 American Athletic Conference). UConn moved to 2-5 (2-2) with the victory.

• Say what you want about Temple quarterback Marchi (and you surely will after this game), but the guy is a fighter. Whether things are going his way or not, he continues to try to search for his receivers and attempt to squeeze the ball into those windows on the field. He made it two consecutive games with 300-plus yards passing as he was 33 of 54 for 356 yards with one touchdown and one interception Saturday.

• The game marked Temple’s first homecoming loss in nearly a decade. TU hadn’t suffered a homecoming defeat since a 7-3 loss to Western Michigan on Sept. 27, 2008. On that day, former Eagles DB Jaiquawn Jarrett was beaten in coverage on a double move in the third quarter for the game’s lone touchdown. Coming into Saturday, the Owls had won eight straight homecoming matchups by an average margin of 19.3 points.

• There was a rare sighting for Temple at the Linc: a rushing touchdown from a tailback. In fact, there were two. David Hood, who became the first Owls tailback to score on a run this season in last week’s rout of East Carolina, punched it in from one yard out to open the scoring in the first quarter. Ryquell Armstead weaved his way into the end zone for a 10-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter.

• Delvon Randall is simply a playmaker. The Owls’ leading tackler, Randall added another five stops in Saturday’s win. The junior DB also made a beautiful play along the sideline in the first quarter when he undercut an out route for an interception. It marked Randall’s third straight game with a pick. The Owls only have four interceptions this season and Randall has three of them.

• My colleague Greg Paone touched on college football’s targeting rule a couple of weeks ago (see story)We agree on pretty much all of the nuts and bolts of the rule. I’m glad it’s in place to protect players from violent and unnecessary hits. However, the more I see it called each week — and it seems like there is at least one in every game now — the more I’m starting to dislike the implementation. Temple defensive lineman Sharif Finch was ejected for targeting on Saturday when he went high on Huskies quarterback Bryant Shirreffs on a third-quarter touchdown pass. Shirreffs sold the hit by jerking his head back as he fell to the ground, but it was definitely worthy of a penalty. Was it a late hit? Yes. A bone-headed hit? Absolutely. But one worthy of Temple losing a top defensive player for the remainder of the game? I don’t think so.

• Speaking of Shirreffs, it’s easy to see why the Huskies have the best passing offense in the AAC. He didn’t show it with yardage in this tilt (just 105), but he was able to connect on three touchdowns through the air. He also added 39 yards on the ground, including a key run up the middle late in the fourth quarter.

• The Owls simply aren’t a good enough team to overcome 12 penalties for 117 yards.

• Like any other major college football game around the country, Saturday’s matchup at the Linc had scouts from NFL teams listed to attend. Of course, the Eagles were listed for several scouts in their home stadium. While the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers were also among those expected to have representatives at the game, there was only one other team labeled for more than one scout besides the Eagles — the New York Giants. At 0-5, they can certainly use all the help they can get right now.

• Temple will look to rebound when the Owls travel to play their final non-conference opponent in Army at 12 p.m. next Saturday.

Temple eyes streak, Penn looks to dethrone Columbia, Villanova on the road

usa-logan-marchi-temple.jpg
USA Today Images

Temple eyes streak, Penn looks to dethrone Columbia, Villanova on the road

Temple (3-3, 1-2 American) vs. UConn (1-4, 0-3 American)
Lincoln Financial Field, ESPNews
Noon Saturday

Last time out
Temple beat East Carolina, 34-10, last Saturday.

UConn lost to Memphis, 70-31, last Saturday.

Scouting report
Last week, quarterback Logan Marchi finally got on track with his first 300-yard game of the season against East Carolina. This week, the redshirt sophomore will face UConn, the team he initially committed to in high school under former coach Paul Pasqualoni. Marchi was then denied after a coaching change was made. The Huskies have the worst passing defense in the AAC, giving up 399.8 passing yards per game, and have allowed 19 touchdowns through the air in 2017. If Marchi can play well for a second week in a row, look for Temple’s offense to put up some points. 

Another matchup to look at is UConn’s passing attack against Temple’s defense. The Huskies’ boast the best passing offense in terms of yards in the AAC, averaging 325.8 yards per game, but have only scored nine touchdowns this year. Temple, on the other hand, allows the eighth-most passing yards in the conference (253 yards per game), but is ranked fourth in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 26 points per game. Connecticut must convert drives into touchdowns against this Owls defense if it wants to compete.

What it means
Temple’s hopes to reach the AAC championship game might not be realistic anymore but its bowl hopes are still alive. A win against UConn would put the Owls just two victories away from becoming bowl-eligible, which after their start would be good for Owl fans.

Series history
Temple holds the 12-5 series advantage over Connecticut, and is currently on a three-game win streak.

What’s next?
Temple travels to Army.

UConn hosts Tulsa. 

Penn (2-2, 0-1 Ivy) at Columbia (4-0, 1-0 Ivy)
Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium
1:30 p.m. Saturday


Last time out
Penn lost at Central Connecticut State, 42-21, Saturday.

Columbia defeated Marist, 41-17, Saturday.

Scouting report
Penn’s strength is its rushing attack. They rank second in the Ivy League averaging 204 yards per game on the ground. Karekin Brooks has 543 yards rushing and five touchdowns so far this season. Getting the ground game going will be key for the Quakers this week.

Columbia defense has been strong so far this season. The Lions rank second in the Ivy League in total defense only allowing 316 yards per game and are third in the Ivy in pass defense. The Lions allow 194.8 yards per game through the air.

Series history
This is the 96th meeting between the teams. The Quakers hold a 73-21-1 advantage and have won the last 19 editions.

What’s next?
Penn hosts Yale.

Columbia is at Dartmouth.

Villanova (4-2, 2-1 CAA) at James Madison (5-0, 2-0 CAA)
Bridgeforth Stadium
6 p.m. Saturday


Last time out

Villanova defeated Maine, 31-0, Saturday.

James Madison beat Delaware, 20-10, Saturday.

Scouting report
Villanova has allowed just 1.6 yards per carry and 52 rushing yards per game this season. The Wildcats boast a strong scoring defense as well, the best in the Colonial allowing only nine points per game.

James Madison boasts the second-best rushing offense in the CAA averaging 223 yards per game and is second in scoring defense. The Dukes allow just 10 points per game to opposing offenses. Look for this game to be defensive showdown.

Series history
This is the 26th meeting between the teams. James Madison leads the series 14-11 and won 20-7 last season.

What’s next?
Villanova hosts Elon next Saturday.

James Madison travels to William & Mary next Saturday.