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Wildcats to Visit Providence Wednesday
Mikal Bridges
Jan. 31, 2017

TV: FS1 (Joe Davis and Steve Lavin)

Radio: 610 Sports Radio (Ryan Fannon and Whitey Rigsby)

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- With the potential for snow in New England on Tuesday night, the Villanova Wildcats packed their bags a bit earlier than anticipated. The Wildcats' scheduled evening flight was moved up to the morning in advance of the storm as the team looks ahead to the resumption of BIG EAST Conference play on Wednesday night against the Providence Friars (14-9 overall, 4-6 BIG EAST).

The Wildcats, now ranked at No. 4 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, knocked off No. 9 Virginia, 61-59, in a thrilled played before a record setting sellout crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.

"It was an incredible atmosphere," noted head coach Jay Wright of the scene in South Philadelphia.

Now Villanova turns its attention back to BIG EAST play. The Wildcats own a 7-2 record at the halfway point of the conference season and sit atop the league standings with 7-3 Butler on its heels.

The second half begins at the Dunkin Donuts Center against a Friars team that knocked off Marquette on Saturday in Milwaukee just days after the Golden Eagles upended Villanova there last week. The Wildcats held off Providence 78-68 when the two teams met at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 21.

"They're an explosive team, especially at the Dunk," stated Wright. "They're tough to prepare for because they have so many weapons -- Rodney Bullock, Kyron Cartwright, Jalen Lindsay. It's a hard group to defend and they're playing with a lot of confidence after their win at Marquette."

Providence dropped in 11 3-point field goals in the first meeting between the two squads. It took a stellar effort from seniors Josh Hart (25 points, eight rebounds) and Kris Jenkins (19 points) to subdue coach Ed Cooley's squad.



Five of the Wildcats remaining nine regular season contests will be played on the road, where VU is 2-2 in conference play thus far.

"Life is tough on the road and we know how passionate the crowd is at the Dunk," stated Wright. "We look forward to that challenge."

On Monday, it was announced that sophomore guard Jalen Brunson, who scored 15 points and added four assists without a turnover in the win over Virginia, is one of 10 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award. That award recognizes the nation's top point guard.

In addition, redshirt sophomore Mikal Bridges was selected to the BIG EAST Honor Roll after averaging 17.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in the two games last weekend. Bridges was 13-of-25 from the field and 7-of-14 from beyond the 3-point arc in the games against Marquette and Virginia.

After they meet the Friars, Villanova has a pair of home games on tap. It hosts St. John's Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center (8 p.m/CBS Sports Network and 610 Sports Radio) and then returns to the Pavilion on Feb. 7 to face the Georgetown Hoyas on campus for the first time since 2006 (FS1 and 610 Sports Radio).