No. 4 Villanova has sailed through its first six games, but Big 5 play always adds a new twist. The Wildcats begin their Philadelphia area round-robin with a matchup against visiting Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
After a few easy wins to begin the season, the Wildcats went 3-0 at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, disposing of Western Kentucky, Tennessee and Northern Iowa - all by at least eight points - to win the title. Mikal Bridges scored 18 points to fuel the win over the Panthers in the final but cautioned his team not to get too complacent with an early-season championship. “It gives us great confidence right now, knowing that we’ve played pretty well as a team,” Bridges told reporters. “But it can also hurt if you get too satisfied with this and get complacent.” Villanova has won 14 straight meetings with Penn and has never lost to the Quakers (10-0) when playing on its own campus.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 2
ABOUT PENNSYLVANIA (5-3): The Quakers are coming off one of their most exciting victories in recent memory - a four-overtime win against Monmouth on Saturday night. Ryan Betley had 26 points and Antonio Woods added 23 for Penn, which scored the final 10 points of the fourth overtime to prevail 101-96. Betley (16.9 points) is the top scorer on the squad, while AJ Brodeur chips in 11.9 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds, although he fouled out with only four points in 19 minutes against Monmouth.
ABOUT VILLANOVA (6-0): The Wildcats likely are not going to be an offensive juggernaut this season, but they have plenty of options who can score the ball efficiently. Their top four scorers all shoot at least 50 percent from the floor and they only turn the ball over 12 times per game as a unit. Jalen Brunson (18.7 points) and Bridges (18.5) are the top two scorers and both shoot over 80 percent from the foul line with terrific 3-point percentages, as well.
1. Penn hasn’t won in the series since December 2002.
2. Villanova F Eric Paschall is 1-of-14 from 3-point range
3. Brunson has 26 assists with only seven turnovers in 186 minutes.
PREDICTION: Villanova 78, Penn 66