Villanova has looked every bit like the nation’s No. 1 team this season. The top-ranked Wildcats get a chance to make one final non-conference statement Friday when they face Hofstra at Uniondale, N.Y.
The Wildcats are technically the home team in this game even though they are nearly 130 miles from their campus, as the Pavilion is going through renovations all season. The location of their games hasn’t mattered much, as they are 11-0 with wins against Tennessee, Gonzaga and, most recently, Temple. Villanova routed the Owls 87-67 last Wednesday and will have nine days off to prepare for Hofstra, where Jay Wright coached before joining the Wildcats in 2001. The Pride had won four games in a row before falling to Manhattan their last time out.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
ABOUT HOFSTRA (7-4): The Pride continue to get terrific production out of Justin Wright-Foreman, who has scored in double figures in 33 straight games and leads the team at 23 points per game with at least 22 in six straight contests. Eli Pemberton is second on the team in scoring (16.9) but is just 4-of-17 from the floor over the last two games. Rokas Gustys (8.9 points) pulls down 10.7 rebounds per game - 11th in the nation entering Thursday’s action.
ABOUT VILLANOVA (11-0): Jalen Brunson scored a career-high 31 points against Temple and is averaging a team-best 18.5 points with staggering shooting percentages across the board. “He was incredible,” Wright said of Brunson, who is shooting 62.9 percent from the field and 53.5 percent from 3-point range, not to mention his better than 4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Freshman forward Omari Spellman added 27 points - 11 more than his previous career high - against the Owls and matched his personal best with four 3-pointers in seven attempts.
1. For a great rebounder, Gustys only has two blocks all season. In fact, Hofstra’s top eight scorers have a total of 11 blocks.
2. Brunson’s foul shooting has taken a hit of late, as he is 12-of-20 in the last three games.
3. After shooting at least 50 percent from the field in seven of his previous eight games, Villanova G Mikal Bridges is 7-of-21 in the last two outings.
PREDICTION: Villanova 90, Hofstra 74