Feb. 1, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - After a successful two-game stint at its home-away-from home, the Wells Fargo Center, Villanova returns to its campus venue Sunday when Providence comes to the Pavilion for a game that tips off shortly after noon Sunday (6 ABC/Big East Network/Sportsradio 610 WIP).
The Wildcats (13-8 overall, 4-4 BIG EAST) defeated a pair of Top 5 teams, Louisville and Syracuse, last week in South Philadelphia before journeying to Notre Dame, where they dropped a 65-60 decision to the Fighting Irish on Wednesday. Villanova last saw action at the Pavilion on Jan. 16, when it fell to Pittsburgh 58-43 in a game that was deadlocked with just over five minutes left to play.
"I thought that the Notre Dame game was a dose of reality for us," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "I don't think we played as well in that game as we did the previous two games. You give Notre Dame credit for that. But if we've shown we can play better than that, you know that means we didn't play as well as we could have. Being on the road has something to do with it but we also know we still have to get a lot better."
Providence (10-11 overall, 2-7 BIG EAST) defeated the Wildcats 69-66 on Jan. 19 at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
The Wildcats owned a 31-24 lead at the half in Providence before faltering in the second half as the Friars capitalized on 19 offensive rebounds and forced 25 `Cat turnovers. JayVaughn Pinkston led VU with 20 points and has averaged 24 ppg in two lifetime appearances against the Friars.
"When we watched the tape of that game, one of the things we saw was that a lot of those turnovers came from sloppy execution," noted Wright. "The turnover is the pass but the reason it may be a turnover is the execution - it's not always the passer's (mistake). The receiver might not have been in the right spot.
"In practice after that, we have had a more focused mentality in our execution. I think that helped us against Louisville and Syracuse."
Providence out-rebounded the Wildcats 41-35 despite a frontline that features less height than VU's. Wright believes that is a product to the tenacity and quickness of the Friars.
"They have great quickness and athleticism," states Wright of Providence. "It isn't always size and bulk - it's quickness to the ball. That's where they killed us last time. They are just so quick to the ball and we'll have to deal with that."
This is the first game on the February calendar for Villanova. The second comes just two nights later, when Villanova visits DePaul at 7:00 p.m. in Rosemont, Ill. (ESPN2/610 Sportsradio WIP).