#15 Villanova Basketball Preview: What to Expect at DePaul

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villanova basketball jay wright

Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright might become the chairman of the board for the next generation of college hoops individual brands. This is the final season for Coach K. Roy Williams has already retired. You have a couple voids there that need to be filled, and someone needs to step up and join the big boy table with John Calipari and Tom Izzo.

Wright, who recently entered the Basketball Hall of Fame, has something neither Izzo or Coach Cal have- two national titles. In fact, come next season, Wright will be the only active high major coach with two national titles.

villanova-basketball jay wright

Iona’s Rick Pitino is the only other active NCAA coach with a pair of championships.

Villanova Wildcats at DePaul Blue Demons FYIs

The tip time, on Sat. Jan 8, is 1pm Local. Villanova are substantial favorites, with the spreads on Betway showing them backed at -7.5. The over/under is 135.5, with the contest being televised on FS1.

Local radio coverage will be handled by WIND (560 AM). ESPN Matchup Predictor has a Villanova win forecasted at 82.8%; a DePaul win is 16.8%.

Villanova Basketball Preview (10-4, 3-1 AP 19, Coaches 15, Net 11, KenPom 6, Sagarin 8) 

In the two decades that Wright has been in charge, they have won six Big East titles and reached the NCAA Tournament 14 times. They are the unquestioned rulers of the Big East conference, and these days, they are just as much a blue blood as Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and Carolina.

Coincidentally, all of those teams also wear blue. The Wildcats have absolutely dominated this series, winning all 18 of the previous league meetings; and holding a 30-8 advantage overall.

For the most part, these meetings have been extremely one-sided, although DePaul has taken the Cats to overtime twice, most recently on January 14, 2020.

The two sides did not meet last season, as the two scheduled meetings resulted in covid-outs; three times actually. Nova will come in to this one, guard heavy as usual, with their two leading scorers, Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore, being backcourt players.

They will likely give the Blue Demons back court some fits on Saturday.

DePaul Blue Demons Preview (9-4, 0-3 Net 91, KenPom 102, Sagarin 98)

This season is starting to shape up a little bit like 2019-20, in which the preconference showed a lot of promise and potential, but the league season brought a cold, nasty reality check. DePaul won at Louisville, but this year’s edition is not your father’s or older brother’s Louisville.

The Demons knocked off Rutgers in the Gavitt Games, but the Scarlet Knights are only impressive when home at the RAC, and they’re rather blah on the road.

This is a sink-or-swim game for the Demons. Getting a win here could rejuvenate their season, and be the start of building their resume for a potential postseason berth of some sort. Lose, and well, 0-4 in the league, and just, same old DePaul. New coach, same results in league play thus far.

DPU had a second half lead at St. John’s but couldn’t hold it. At least it was better than the New Year’s Day outing at home versus #21 Providence- that was just plain ugly.

Javon Freeman-Liberty, Marcus Liberty’s nephew, is a baller, and if he’s on, well, he could keep them in it. At least for awhile.

Historical note from the DePaul-Villanova series- the pair were scheduled to play in the 2020 BIG EAST Quarterfinals before the tournament was canceled on the afternoon of the game, due to the beginning of the covid shutdown/transition to lockdown.

Prediction: #15 Villanova basketball 81, DePaul Blue Demons 69

Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”

He has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and co-hosts the After Extra Time podcastFollow him on Twitter and Instagram

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