March 13, 2013
NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Villanova Wildcats open play in the BIG EAST Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters on Wednesday night when they meet No. 10 seed St. John's (16-14 overall, 8-10 BIG EAST) in a second round game at 7 p.m. (ESPN2/Sportsradio 610 WIP).
The Wildcats have been off for a week after upending No. 5 Georgetown 67-57 at the Wells Fargo Center on Mar. 6. VU is 19-12 overall, 10-8 in the BIG EAST and hopes to bolster its post-season resume.
"It's nice to play meaningful games at this time of year," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "Going up to Seton Hall, at Pitt and Georgetown - you knew those were meaningful games. That's what you strive for." Villanova defeated St. John's 98-86 in overtime at the Pavilion on Jan. 2 in the teams' only meeting in 2012-13. Freshman Ryan Arcidiacono scored a season-high 32 points for the Wildcats and JayVaughn Pinkston added 26 more.
The Red Storm nearly defeated Marquette on Saturday, dropping a 69-67 overtime decision to the Golden Eagles at Madison Square Garden despite playing without forward Sir'Dominic Pointer. Pointer will be available for Wednesday night's encounter.
"I watched the tape of that game and they were impressive," said Wright. "Playing without Sir'Dominic, who is a heck of a player, they really were in position to win that game. We know we've got a tough opponent playing on its home court."
The winner of this contest advances to meet No. 2 seed Louisville on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.
Wright, meanwhile, looks forward to a return to the Garden, which has hosted this event since 1983.
"I love this," stated Wright. "I enjoy being in New York, the buzz in Manhattan and all the alumni that are in the city. I grew up watching this as a kid and then got to coach in it as a young assistant coach in the `80s. There are so many good people there and it's such a tradition for Villanova people."