Temple vs Villanova Preview and Prediction
Temple vs Villanova Preview
To say No. 21 Villanova (6-2) has dominated the Big 5 recently would be an understatement. The Wildcats are looking for their 24th consecutive Big 5 victory when they host the Temple Owls (7-1) tonight at Finneran Pavilion.
Nova has won four in a row after a 85-78 victory over La Salle on Saturday night at the Palestra. The game against the Owls will be the second of four Big 5 matchups this season. The others are against Saint Joseph’s and Penn.
“I don’t know if some of our young guys were ready for this early,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said of the Big 5 battle. “I think they got a good taste of it today. But to have two seniors like Eric and Phil who have been in games like this is probably the difference in the game.”
Villanova hasn’t lost a Big 5 game since falling to Temple on Dec. 5, 2012. The Wildcats will enter the matchup against the Owls on a four-game winning streak.
Of course, if you’ve followed MFST, you know we were live covering the AdvoCare Invitational–a tournament Villanova won, kick-starting their streak.
Temple is off to its best start since the 2012-13 season, when it began 8-1 before losing its second game. The Owls will be facing their first Top 25 team of the season against Villanova.
The Owls have dropped five in a row to Villanova but have won three of the last nine (if that’s any consolation).
In Temple’s most recent game (also a Big 5 matchup), it defeated Saint Joseph’s 77-70 on Saturday at Hagan Arena. Senior Shizz Alston Jr. and junior Quinton Rose scored 15 points each to lead Temple. Both players were a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.
Heading into this matchup Temple is 2-0 this season versus the Big 5 and it’s a big deal to their players.
“Just one of my goals is to win the Big 5 championship,” Alston told Philly.com. “They (Villanova) won it for a number of years in a row and beating Villanova would help toward that goal, and that is my goal.”
“We’re 7-1 and have been shooting terrible from 3,” Alston told Philly.com. “That is a good thing in my mind because if we can get that together, we can be a scary team.”
“I am still looking for it,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said of a possible weakness in Villanova.
LINE: -11 Villanova
A few interesting stats outside of Nova’s recent four-game winning streak and domination at the AdvoCare Invitational:
- 1-3 at home in their last four games
- 1-3 as home favorites in last four games
- 4-4 ATS in last eight games
Temple on the other hand is 2-0 on the road as underdogs this season.
The line of double-digits is high between two rivals who I see playing a tight game. Villanova will win, but not by double-digits.
Villanova 73 Temple 66