Nov. 30, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats return to action on Saturday afternoon when they make their first visit to Vanderbilt's Memorial Gymnasium. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 at 5:00 p.m. and can be heard on the airwaves on 1210 WPHT.
The Wildcats hope to rebound from a tough stretch that has seen them drop their last three in a row after opening the season with three consecutive victories. Vanderbilt enters Saturday's contest with a 2-3 record.
In its most recent action, VU dropped a 77-74 decision to La Salle in overtime on Sunday at Tom Gola Arena.
"There were a lot of good things to take out of the La Salle game," stated Wildcats head coach Jay Wright. "Obviously, our end of game execution was not good but we're going to build on the positives and try to fix the mistakes at the end of the game. A lot of that comes from experience. We have a freshman point guard and even Tony Chennault is with us for the first time.
"You feel bad after the game. But when you watch the film, you see a lot of good things. We're going to keep building on that and work to get better."
Vanderbilt and Villanova have met just once before, in the 1994 final of the National Invitation Tournament, which the Wildcats claimed at Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats will see the unique layout of Memorial Gymnasium - where the court is elevated and team benches are located on one baseline - for the first time at Friday's practice.
"I did coach there once before with a really good Hofstra team and we got blown out there because it's just a weird (setup)," states Wright. "We are going to practice in there the day before.
"I see a Vanderbilt team that is very skilled and intelligent. An inexperienced defensive team can get sliced. They are young - last year's team was incredible - and we know they shoot extremely well at home. They've lost some games where they just haven't made shots. We expect them to shoot a lot better."
Senior Mouphtaou Yarou led the Wildcats with 20 points and seven rebounds at La Salle, his most efficient offensive game of 2012-13.
"We played Maurice Sutton with Mouph and that helps Mouph," says Wright. "Mouph feels more comfortable facing the basket and is most effective when he is there. When you have Mo in there, it allows Mouph to face the basket more. He really did have a good game."
Following Saturday's game, Villanova will turn its attention to a stretch of three Philadelphia Big Five contests, beginning on Wednesday when Temple comes to the Pavilion (9:05 p.m/ESPN2).