March 18, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa.. - One week will have passed between game days for Villanova when it takes the floor at the First Niagara Center on Thursday evening in Buffalo, N.Y. and the Wildcats are eager for the opportunity to face No. 15 seed Milwaukee (21-13 overall).
Villanova dropped a 64-63 decision to Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden in a BIG EAST Tournament quarterfinal in its last action on March 13.
"When you are disappointed, as we were after that one, you're really excited to start preparing for your next game," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "We wanted to play for a Big East Tournament championship on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. We weren't able to do that. Now we are so excited to have another opponent to prepare for."
Thursday's contest will air nationally on TBS with Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery and Allie Laforce on the call. The Villanova radio broadcast can be heard via 1210 WPHT with Ryan Fannon and Whitey Rigsby describing the action. Tip time is listed as approximately 9:26 p.m.
Milwaukee put together a terrific week at the Horizon League championship to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. On its path to the title the Panthers knocked off top-seeded Green Bay and No. 3 seed Wright State. Its coach is Rob Jeter, who played for and later coached alongside Chester, Pa., native Bo Ryan of Wisconsin.
The Panthers, much like the Wildcats, feature a balanced roster that includes four players with double figure scoring averages: senior Jordan Aaron (15.0 ppg); senior Kyle Kelm (12.6 ppg); sophomore Matt Tiby (12.1 ppg) and sophomore Austin Arians (10.9 ppg).
"This is a tough, well-coached Milwaukee team," stated Wright. "They have dynamic guards and skilled forwards. This will be a tough matchup."
Villanova recorded a program record 28 regular season victories in 2013-14 and also claimed its first outright BIG EAST regular season championship since 1982. It is led by a trio of double figure scorers in senior James Bell (14.5 ppg); junior Darrun Hilliard (14.3 ppg) and junior JayVaughn Pinkston (14.2 ppg) and point guard Ryan Arcidiacono, whose scoring average is a tick shy of that margin (9.9 ppg).
"We've had some good practices and we're excited about the opportunity to compete in the NCAA Tournament," stated Wright.
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