College Basketball: Why St. Joe's vs. Villanova Is the Game to Watch This Week
This week, action around the nation in college basketball comes to halt with most going through finals week.
However, there is one big game during the week that fans of the sport must keep their eyes on.
St. Joseph's (5-2) at Villanova (5-4), 7 p.m. ET Tuesday, The Pavilion, TV: ESPNU
That game takes place at The Pavilion on the campus of Villanova University between the Wildcats and the St. Joseph's Hawks.
Tuesday's game is also a clash of two rivals from the Big Five schools in the Philadelphia area.
Both teams come into Tuesday's game with different motives to win over a fellow Big Five team.
Villanova is in the middle of a rebuilding process under coach Jay Wright, and the Wildcats' play on the court shows that they have much to learn before becoming a contender for the Big East title again.
The Wildcats have rebounded from an early rough stretch in the season and have won two of their last three games.
In their last game, the Wildcats improved their record against Big Five opposition to 1-1 by beating Penn 68-55 thanks to a strong performance from freshman center Achraf Yacoubou, who scored 13 points and came down with six rebounds against the Quakers.
Through the first nine games of the season, the Wildcats have received strong performances from almost every player on their roster.
Freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono was the top player to begin the season, but when opposing defenses began to shut down Arcidiacono, it was JayVaughn Pinkston and Mouphtaou Yarou would stepped up to carry the team on their shoulders.
The Wildcats do not have a superstar on their roster, and they will need a different player to step up in each game to win a good amount of games this season.
Who Wins on Tuesday?
St. Joseph's came into the season as one of the favorites to win the Atlantic 10 Conference, and the Hawks lived up to the hype in just their second game of the season, when they upset Notre Dame.
The win over Notre Dame was a signature win for Phil Martelli's team, but they failed to prove their worth in losses to Florida State and Creighton in the past month.
The Hawks are winning the games that they are supposed to win this season, with their latest victory coming over Coppin State at home on December 4th.
Unlike their opponent on Tuesday, the Hawks are a team filled with veteran leadership.
The top four scorers in the Hawks lineup are upperclassmen, they are led in the scoring category by senior guard Carl Jones, who has averaged 15.4 points per game for the Hawks this season.
Other key players to watch for on Martelli's club are juniors Langston Galloway, Ronald Roberts Jr. and C.J. Aiken.
With more experience than the Wildcats going into Tuesday's game, there is no doubt that the Hawks will go into The Pavilion as heavy favorites.
Although this may end up becoming a lopsided result at the end of the game, the game between St. Joe's and Villanova may be one of the few entertaining games on a light college basketball schedule this week.
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