For the second time this season, Villanova battles DePaul in Friday night hoops | Villanova vs. DePaul Preview
Written by David Szczepanski on January 12, 2024
After a disappointing double-digit loss to St. John’s, Villanova looks to rebound against DePaul tonight at 8:30pm. The Blue Demons have not yet won a Big East matchup in their first four conference games. They are 3-12 overall with their last win coming on December 30th against the Chicago State Cougars. DePaul is currently sitting in last place in the Big East.
Villanova is now 10-5 overall, and they have won four of their last five games. The Wildcats are 3-1 in Big East play and just a half a game out of first place in the conference. However, the loss to the Red Storm raises a lot of concerns about this Villanova team as the up and down season continues on the Main Line.
Despite the Wildcats’ disappointing result against the Red Storm, TJ Bamba had an excellent game with 23 points. Eric Dixon did not have his best game against Joel Soriano and St. John’s, but he still scored 14 points and is averaging 14.7 points per game. Justin Moore has not yet been officially ruled out for tonight’s game, but he has not played since December 5th with a right knee sprain. He is considered day-to-day.
The Wildcats dominated the Blue Demons, 84-48, on December 23rd. in Chicago. Villanova played one of their most complete games of the season. They made 53.6% of their shots from the field and knocked down 12 of 22 three-point attempts. Hakim Hart led the Wildcats with 20 points in 20 minutes off the bench. DePaul converted just 30.4% of their field goal attempts.
Villanova leads the all-time series, 34-9, against DePaul. Coach Neptune is 2-1 against the Blue Demons. This is the first Big East opponent that Villanova is playing for the second time this season.
DePaul’s 0-4 Start to Big East Play
The Blue Demons have lost three consecutive games since their non-conference double-digit win against Chicago State. DePaul’s most recent game was an 84-58 loss to #22 Creighton. The Blue Demons took only 10 three-point attempts in that game with a 50% success rate. However, they struggled defensively and made just 38% of their field goal attempts. DePaul has allowed at least 84 points in three of their four Big East matchups with the exception being against Georgetown. They have yet to win a game on the road this season.
Their leading scorer is still Chico Carter Jr. He is averaging 11.9 points per game, but he had two turnovers and just four points against the Bluejays. Carter Jr. scored 11 points against Villanova in December. Da’Sean Nelson, a senior from Ohio, has scored at least 11 points in each of his last five games. Jeremiah Oden, a Chicago native, almost had a double-double against Creighton with nine points and nine rebounds. The Blue Demons average 65 points per game.
As a team, DePaul also struggles with rebounding and turnovers. They average just 30.8 rebounds per contest. They turn the ball over about 13 times per game.
My Thoughts on Villanova vs. DePaul
DePaul is obviously a much easier opponent than St. John’s for Villanova and the Wildcats already confidently defeated the Blue Demons. However, Villanova should use this game to improve their inbounding and clean up bad turnovers and passes. The Wildcats are heavy favorites to win this game, and I believe they will win by double-digit points. Villanova is 4-0 against Quad 4 opponents this season, and this game against DePaul will be a Quad 4 game. Hart struggled against St. John’s, but I think he will rebound against DePaul. I also expect Bamba to continue his progress and efficient scoring from the St. John’s game.
Tune into tonight’s game between Villanova and DePaul on WXVU beginning with pregame coverage at 8pm. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30pm from the Finneran Pavilion.