Villanova Wildcats

2017-2018 Villanova basketball schedule

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2017-2018 Villanova basketball schedule

Villanova’s full 2017-18 schedule is out and the Wildcats will be making themselves at home in South Philadelphia in the upcoming season.

With the Pavilion undergoing a $60 million renovation project, Villanova will play the bulk of its home games at the Wells Fargo Center in '17-18. Instead of the usual few games 'Nova normally plays at the home of the Sixers and Flyers, the Wildcats will play 12 games at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Big East slate features challenging road games at Xavier, Butler and Georgetown. Jay Wright’s squad will compete in the Battle for Atlantis in the Bahamas, play a non-conference game against 2016-17 runner-up Gonzaga at Madison Square Garden in the Jimmy V Classic as well as a neutral-site game at Nassau Coliseum against Hofstra.

Wright spent seven seasons as the head coach at Hofstra from 1994-2001 where he amassed 122 wins.

Villanova, which finished 32-4 (15-3 Big East) last season, will be led by 6-foot-2 junior guard Jalen Brunson, who averaged 14.7 points and 4.1 assists per game in his second year with the Wildcats.

Here's a look at Villanova’s full schedule:

Nov. 10: Columbia (WC)
Nov. 14: Nicholls State (WC)
Nov. 17: Lafayette (PPL)
Nov. 22: Western Kentucky *
Nov. 23: Tennessee or Purdue *
Nov. 24: Battle for Atlantis *
Nov. 29: Penn (JN)
Dec. 2: at Saint Joseph’s
Dec. 5: Gonzaga (MSG)
Dec. 10: La Salle (WC)
Dec. 13: at Temple
Dec. 22: Hofstra (NC)
Dec. 27: at DePaul
Dec. 30: at Butler
Jan. 6: Marquette (WC)
Jan. 10: Xavier (WC)
Jan. 13: at St. John’s 
Jan. 17: at Georgetown
Jan. 20: at Connecticut
Jan. 23: Providence (WC)
Jan. 28: at Marquette
Feb. 1: Creighton (WC)
Feb. 4: Seton Hall (WC)
Feb. 7: St. John’s (WC)
Feb. 10: Butler (WC)
Feb. 14: at Providence
Feb. 17: at Xavier
Feb. 21: DePaul (WC)
Feb. 24:  at Creighton
Feb. 28: at Seton Hall
March 3: Georgetown (WC)
March 7-10: Big East Tournament

WC — Wells Fargo Center
PPL — PPL Center, Allentown Pa.
JN — Jake Nevin Field House, Villanova, Pa. 
MSG — Madison Square Garden  
NC — Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y.
*Battle 4 Atlantis, Bahamas

Up-and-down week has Villanova steady in AP poll

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Up-and-down week has Villanova steady in AP poll

For the second week in a row, Jay Wright's Villanova squad endured a stunning upset and then followed it up with a statement victory.

And for the second week in a row, the Wildcats held steady in the AP Poll.

After falling 76-71 at Providence on Valentine's Day and then forcefully handling No. 4 Xavier 95-79 in enemy territory on Saturday, Villanova checks in at No. 3 in the AP Poll for the second straight week. This after the 'Cats spent the five weeks prior sitting pretty as the No. 1 team in the land.

The commanding victory at Xavier wasn't enough to propel Villanova ahead of No. 1 Virginia and No. 2 Michigan State. The Cavaliers received 42 first-place votes and the Spartans received 19 first-place votes. The Wildcats garnered four first-place votes for themselves.

Xavier held firm at No. 4 and Duke checked in at No. 5 to round out this week's top five.

March is looming and that means the Big East grind is winding down. The Wildcats, 11-3 in conference play and sitting in second place in the Big East behind 12-3 Xavier, own the tiebreaker over the Musketeers after Saturday's win. They have four regular-season contests left, starting with a home date vs. DePaul on Wednesday night. This week ends with a trip to Creighton on Saturday afternoon.

Take care of business and once again it looks like the Big East goes through Villanova, which has won the last four Big East regular-season titles.

Bridges leads Villanova to massive road win over fellow top-5 team

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Bridges leads Villanova to massive road win over fellow top-5 team

BOX SCORE 

CINCINNATI — With the Big East's bragging rights at stake, Villanova showed it's not ready to relinquish its reign.

Mikal Bridges led an early 3-point shooting spurt that put Villanova in control, and the third-ranked Wildcats beat No. 4 Xavier 95-79 on Saturday in a showdown for control of the league.

As it has nearly every time, this one went to `Nova.

The Wildcats (24-3, 11-3) have won all four regular-season titles since the league was reconfigured. Xavier (24-4, 12-3) had a chance to take control of the race, but simply wasn't up to the Wildcats' level in the biggest game of the season.

Now, Xavier's lead is down to a half-game and Villanova has swept the head-to-head series.

"I think we wanted to send ourselves a message, not necessarily about the title race but about playing Villanova basketball," said Dante DiVincenzo, who finished with 21 points. "We knew we weren't playing Villanova basketball."

Bridges scored 25 points in a balanced attack that got the best of a matchup between the league's top offenses. Trevon Bluiett had 26 points for Xavier, which had its nine-game winning streak snapped. Villanova made a season-high 16 3-pointers, the most ever by a Xavier opponent.

"They hit a lot of tough 3s, but we've just got to play tougher," said Xavier's Naji Marshall, who had 11 points. "When you play elite teams, there's little margin for error."

The Wildcats ended their three-game shooting slump by making 11 3s in the first half, when they pulled out to a 19-point lead and silenced a raucous crowd at the Cintas Center, where Xavier had been undefeated this season.

"We came out together and played harder than we usually do," Bridges said. "We've got to keep that up. We can't settle. We can't relax."

Bluiett led a second-half surge that cut it to 64-61 with 11 minutes left before Bridges' basket blunted the comeback. Xavier had a pair of turnovers, and DiVincenzo hit back-to-back 3s as the Wildcats rebuilt their lead to double digits and pulled away.

"When they shoot the ball the way they did today, it will take a monumental effort to beat them," Xavier coach Chris Mack said.

In the end, it was like the last four games between the league's heavyweights. Villanova has won 10 of 11 against Xavier in the Big East, the last four by margins of 25, 22, 24 and 16 points. Xavier hadn't lost since an 89-65 defeat at Villanova on Jan. 10.

Big picture
Villanova: The Wildcats rely on their 3-point shooting but had been in a slump the last three games, going 17 of 71 from beyond the arc. They had their worst game of the season during a 76-71 loss at Providence , going 3 of 20. Villanova went 11 of 19 from beyond the arc in the first half on Saturday. After missing their first seven 3-point tries in the second half, they found their mark and pulled away, finishing 16 of 34.

Xavier: The Musketeers came out overly aggressive -- three fouls in the first 26 seconds -- and missed eight of their first 12 shots, including several layups. They've had bad first halves in their last four games against the Wildcats, leading to the double-digit losses.

"We were excited playing `Nova in our gym," Marshall said. "I think we came out a little too excited."

Big win
It was the second-largest win by Villanova against a Top-5 team under coach Jay Wright, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Getting heated
Villanova's Omari Spellman and Xavier's Paul Scruggs got technical fouls for yelling at each other during the Musketeers' comeback in the second half. The two had to be separated.

Big matchup
It was only the second time in the Cintas Center's 18-year history that a pair of Top 5 teams faced off. The other time resulted in Xavier's only win over Villanova in Big East play. The No. 5 Musketeers beat the No. 1 Wildcats 90-83 on Feb. 24, 2016.

Moving up
Bluiett surpassed David West for second place on Xavier's career scoring list with 2,140 points.

Up next
Villanova: Wildcats host DePaul on Wednesday, followed by games at Creighton and Seton Hall before finishing at home against Georgetown.

Xavier: Musketeers play at Georgetown on Wednesday. They beat the Hoyas in overtime 96-91 at the Cintas Center on Feb. 3. They finish at home against Providence -- one of the teams that beat them -- and at DePaul.