March 7, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats have already secured the 2014 BIG EAST regular season championship but, for head coach Jay Wright and his No. 6 ranked Wildcats, the approach to Saturday afternoon's matinee against Georgetown (17-12 overall, 8-9 BIG EAST) is no different than it has been through the season's first 30 contests.
"It's next game," stated Wright. "Playing games is fun. We're going to be fired up to play that one and just try to get better."
The Wildcats bring a 27-3 overall record into the game against the Hoyas. It is already the third highest single season win total in program history, trailing only 2005-06 (28-5) and 2008-09 (30-8) in that department. The Wildcats' 15 BIG EAST wins are the most ever in league action.
It all helped Villanova deliver its first outright BIG EAST regular season title since 1981-82. The `Cats locked themselves into the No. 1 overall seed for the BIG EAST Tournament, which begins next week, with a 77-70 victory over Xavier on Thursday evening at the Cintas Center.
"We watched film, had a short practice and feel like we'll be ready to go on Saturday," said Wright of the fast turnaround.
On Jan. 27, Villanova grabbed a 65-60 victory over the Hoyas in a game played at the Verizon Center. James Bell led the way with 16 points, including several key baskets in the final minutes of a taut battle.
Georgetown is 6-3 since the return of Jabril Trawick to its lineup in late January. The Hoyas are led by guards Markel Starks (17.0 ppg) and D'Vaunte Smith-Rivera (16.9 ppg). The Hoyas upended No. 13 Creighton at home on Tuesday night by the score of 75-63.
"We have great respect for Georgetown and the way they play," stated Wright.
These two teams met last season when the roles were reversed. The Wildcats were considered to be on the NCAA Tournament bubble and in need of a signature win to bolster their resume for consideration by the Selection Committee. Georgetown, meanwhile, was a top ranked team nationally led by Otto Porter.
In last year's clash, JayVaughn Pinkston's 20 points helped the Wildcats spring the upset, their third of the season over a team ranked in the top five of the AP poll, by a 67-57 score.
This year, it's the Hoyas who are hoping to add a significant victory in the regular season finale before turning their attention to the BIG EAST Tournament, which gets underway next Wednesday with a doubleheader between the teams listed as 7-10 in the final standing.
Once this contest is complete, the Wildcats will shift their focus to the 2014 BIG EAST Tournament. As the top seed, Villanova will face the winner of the 8/9 game on Wednesday night.
Saturday's game begins shortly after 2:00 p.m. and can be seen on Fox Sports 1 with Gus Johnson and Bob Wenzel on the call. Ryan Fannon and Whitey Rigsby bring the Nova Nation the action on CBS Sports Radio 610.
Villanova will host the Nova Fan Fest prior to the game at Xfinity Live beginning at 11 a.m.
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