March 5, 2013
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats wrap up the 2012-13 regular season on Wednesday evening at the Wells Fargo Center against the No. 5 Georgetown Hoyas in a late-season game with plenty of post-season implications.
The Wildcats (18-12 overall, 9-8 BIG EAST) are hoping to enhance their post-season resume and in Georgetown face one of the nation's hottest teams, winners of 11 consecutive games.
"We understand there are implications to this game," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "Georgetown/Villanova is always a big game. But we have a saying that the next game is always a big game because we're playing in it. The next game is always where we want our focus to be.
"We're playing good basketball. We had a couple of tough losses on the road but we're happy to be at home."
This will be Villanova's third game at the Wells Fargo Center this season -and the third time the Wildcats have met a top 5 team in the Associated Press poll there. In late January, it was No. 5 Louisville and No. 3 Syracuse,that came into South Philadelphia. Both squads were upended by the `Cats. But this challenge will be no less imposing than were those two on paper: this is a Hoya team that has steamrolled its way to a 23-4 overall record and the top of the BIG EAST standings (13-3).
"Playing in the Big East Conference, you aren't phased by playing a top 10 team," notes Wright. "I think that's something that has always helped our teams in the NCAA Tournament - we play top 10 teams all the time. That's not what phases you - it's Georgetown's offense and defense that are impactful.
"I think Georgetown is one of the most underrated defensive teams in the country. They do a great job of taking away threes and defending the paint."
The Hoyas are led by national player of the year candidate Otto Porter, who gets Wright's vote as BIG EAST Player of the Year.
A win would give Villanova a winning mark in the BIG EAST for the first time since 2009-10 and helped boost the Wildcats' case for a post-season bid. Wright says his team is aware of all the surrounding buzz but believes it is best not to get caught up in it.
"When you have a young team like this it is a challenge to keep the young guys focused," he states. "We all watch ESPN and the games and hear everyone talking about the NCAA Tournament. You see it and hear it. Our challenge as a staff is to make sure the guys are paying attention to how we execute and all of the little things that go into winning."
The contest will tip off shortly after 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening and air on ESPN2 and 1340 WHAT Radio.