Feb. 11, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - It's back to the road for the Villanova Wildcats this week as they get set for a pair of BIG EAST battles away from the Pavilion. First up, is a visit to Cincinnati, where the Wildcats will take on the Bearcats (18-6 overall, 6-5 BIG EAST) on Tuesday evening at 8:00 p.m. (PHL 17/Sportsradio 610 WIP).
Later in the week, Villanova travels north to meet the University of Connecticut at noon Saturday (ESPN/1210 WPHT).
The first matter of business for the Wildcats is a Cincinnati squad that has been nationally ranked for most of the season and comes in off losses at Providence (60-54) and to Pittsburgh (62-52) last week.
"How you play on the road in this league really shows what you are about," noted Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "We've got to go in to Cincinnati and play well. I don't think we were bad at Notre Dame but we weren't good enough. We realize that. We realize that we have to get better.
"We have to get better from what we did (against USF). What we do on the road will prove what kind of team we are. You've got to win on the road in this league and it's tough to do."
The Wildcats are 2-3 away from home in BIG EAST play thus far, with victories at USF and DePaul. The losses came at Syracuse, Providence and Notre Dame.
Villanova comes in off its first back-to-back BIG EAST victories of margins greater than 20 points since January 1999 (home wins over Notre Dame and Pittsburgh). The Wildcats defeated DePaul 94-71 on Feb. 5 in Rosemont, Ill.
"Cincinnati," added Wright, "will be a tough one. But we like playing on the road. I think this group has played well on the road."
The Bearcats took both meetings against Villanova last season in games that were close into the final minute. In the January meeting, VU held a 45-40 lead before the Bearcats rallied in the second half. Maalik Wayns scored 39 points for the Wildcats. Cincinnati then picked up a 72-68 victory in the final regular season game of 2011-12 at the Pavilion in March.
Cincinnati is led by an experienced backcourt which features Sean Kilpatrick (18.2 ppg), Cashmere Wright (13.5 ppg) and JaQuon Parker (10.5 ppg).
Darrun Hilliard, meanwhile, has averaged 16.2 ppg in his last eight outings and scored 17 points in each of his last three games.
Following this contest, six regular season games remain on the Wildcats schedule, with three on home court and three on the road.