Jan. 21, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova (11-7 overall, 2-3 BIG EAST) makes its first appearance of 2012-13 at its home away from home, the Wells Fargo Center, when it hosts No. 5 Louisville at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday night (ESPN Regional Television/PHL 17 TV/610 WIP Radio).
The Cardinals (16-2 overall, 4-1 BIG EAST) were the nation's No. 1 ranked team until losing 70-68 in the final seconds on Saturday afternoon at the KFC Yum! Center.
The Wildcats enter this contest seeking to rebound from a 69-66 loss at Providence on Saturday. Villanova held a 12-point first half lead and was up 31-24 at halftime over the Friars. But a turnover filled second 20 minutes spelled trouble for the `Cats, who established a new season-high in that category with 25 at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Louisville, meanwhile, is second nationally in turnover margin (+7.5 per game). The Cardinals have forced 19.7 turnovers per game and generated 33 percent of their points off errors by their opponents. Louisville averages 11.4 steals per game.
Taking care of the basketball will be of paramount importance for Villanova squad which features a freshman and sophomore in its starting backcourt (Ryan Arcidiacono and Darrun Hilliard). The Friars came up with 12 steals in their victory on Saturday.
"Our guys have not lost confidence," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "They really feel like they're getting better. They look forward to facing a team that will be coming after us.
"Turnovers have been a problem for us. The last game we gave up 30 points off of turnovers and lost by three. We look at that and know that if we get a little bit better at taking care of the ball, it gives us a better chance to win games."
Villanova is led in scoring by JayVaughn Pinkston, who drained 8-of-10 field goal attempts on Saturday at Providence in just 24 minutes of action.
The Wildcats' challenging week continues on Saturday when another top ten team, Syracuse, visits the Wells Fargo Center at 11 a.m. (ESPNU/610 WIP Radio). The Orange posted a 72-61 victory over Villanova on Jan. 12 at the Carrier Dome in front of the largest crowd to witness a college basketball game this season.