INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The No. 1 ranked Villanova Wildcats completed a brisk practice Friday morning at Hinkle Fieldhouse after landing here on Thursday afternoon. Villanova and Butler (11-3 overall, 1-0 BIG EAST) will do battle on Saturday in a contest that will air nationally on CBS at 4 p.m. (Tom McCarthy and Bill Raftery) as well as on 610 Sports Radio (Ryan Fannon and Whitey Rigsby).
Last season, the Bulldogs became only the second team to sweep a season series from the Wildcats since the BIG EAST was reconfigured in 2013 (Creighton did it in 2013-14). On Jan. 4, 2017, Butler snapped a 14-game Villanova winning streak with a 66-61 win here. Then, on Feb. 22, it halted the Wildcats’ 48-game winning streak at the Pavilion with a 74-66 triumph.
Both teams earned road victories in their BIG EAST opener Wednesday. Butler rallied from a 20 point deficit to down Georgetown 91-89 in double overtime.
When asked to pinpoint areas where his squad can improve, Wright has consistently pointed to the unit’s newcomers – Omari Spellman, Collin Gillespie, Samuels and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree – as the group that can help the Wildcats make further gains. Gillespie is currently sidelined by a broken bone in his left hand but Wright is encouraged by what the growth of the group can do for the Wildcats.
hile the Wildcats led from start to finish in a 103-85 win at DePaul’s new Wintrust Arena.
Spellman, meanwhile, registered his fifth double-double of the campaign in the win over the Blue Demons (12 points and 12 rebounds). The Cleveland native is now second in the BIG EAST to Brunson in 3-point field goal accuracy (.514).
“We’ve had guys at that position who could step out and make 3’s but they weren’t that big,” stated Wright of the 6-8 Spellman. “Omari has great size and can score inside, defend big guys and rebound. That’s really valuable.
“We’re really proud of Omari’s development. I didn’t know if he would shoot it this well this early in game situations but we’re really impressed with his development.”
The 2017-18 Villanova Basketball season is presented by KeyBank.