Dec. 30, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - A venue steeped in history is the next stop for the Villanova Wildcats (11-1 overall, 0-0 BIG EAST) as they travel to historic Hinkle Fieldhouse to meet Butler (10-2 overall, 0-0 BIG EAST) in the conference opener for both teams. This will also mark the Bulldogs' debut in the conference regular season as a member of the BIG EAST.
The contest is set for New Year's Eve at 7:30 p.m. The game will air nationally on Fox Sports 1 as the fourth in a series of five BIG EAST openers that begins at noon and won't end until around midnight eastern time. Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery will have the call.
The radio call will be handled by Ryan Fannon and Whitey Rigsby on CBS Sports Radio 610.
"This is the most important and exciting part of the regular season schedule - our Big East schedule," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "To be able to open it up at Hinkle Fieldhouse is a thrill."
The Bulldogs are 10-2 and rank second in the conference in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 62.5 ppg. The Bulldogs also rank second in the BIG EAST in 3-point field goal percentage defense, holding their foes to a .291 mark from beyond the arc. They also have a +6.2 rebounding margin.
"Butler is a very intelligent and disciplined team," noted Wright. "They are also a better rebounding team than people talk about."
Sophomore Kellen Dunham leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 18.1 ppg, which ranks fourth in the BIG EAST. Senior Khyle Marshall contributes 17.0 ppg, fifth among all BIG EAST players.
Villanova, now ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press poll after climbing to No. 8 last week, hopes to bounce back from its first defeat of 2013-14, a 78-62 loss at No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday. The Wildcats were led in scoring by senior swingman James Bell, who on Monday was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll after tying a career-best with 25 points against the Orange.
"Syracuse was outstanding," stated Wright, "but we needed to be sharper."
Villanova hosts its BIG EAST home opener this Sunday evening against Providence at 7 p.m. in the Pavilion (Fox Sports 1).
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