Tyreek Duren versus Maalik Wayns? Okay, I mean, I guess I'll watch.
After seeing Temple's Juan Fernandez and Ramone Moore go head to head (to head?) with Penn's Zack Rosen last evening, Big 5 fans will be treated to their second uber-talented guard on guard match up in as many nights.
The Villanova University Wildcats are set to host the La Salle University Explorers. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. from inside the Ski Lodge on the campus of Villanova (ESPN 3 / 950 AM / 990 AM).
The big news for the Explorers is that they will be without junior transfer Ramon Galloway, who suffered a concussion in the team's win over 79-53 win over Lafayette last Friday night. Though a newcomer, Galloway is expected to bring some veteran leadership to a program now without Aaric Murray, Jerrell Williams, Reuben Gillandeaux and (even) Cole Stefan, who transferred to Minnesota after only one year with the program. Surely, a concussion won't stop the former South Carolina Gamecock from attempting to fill that role for the rest of the season, but it will keep him out of tonight's matchup with Villanova.
For the 'Cats, they'll be glad to be taking this series back to the friendly confines of their own Pavillion. Villanova has, for whatever reason, struggled with the Explorers in recent years. Though the Big 5 isn't what it "once was" in the eyes of many, differences in talent seems to drastically diminish when it comes to these still important intra-city rivalries. Last year, the Wildcats just barely escaped the Tom Gola Arena with an 84-81 win. As they tend to be at their best on their own campus, it should be an added leg up for the 'Cats, who are already heavily favored—in some cases by double digits. That said, La Salle actually leads the series 5-4 in games played at the Pavillion.
Players to Watch:
Yes, yes, all eyes will be on Duren and Wayns, but if I just listed the obvious, this section would be boring. Anyway...
Lost in the coverage surrounding his back court partner, Dominic Cheek racked up a game-high 27 points against Monmouth last Friday night. Going 9-15 from the field and 5-8 from behind the arc, Cheek would also pull down 6 rebounds and dish out 2 assists, while only surrendering the ball twice. On the inside, Mouphataou Yarou contributed with 24 of his own and would register 10 rebounds to finish with what 'Nova fans hope will be the first of many double-doubles this season. Considering La Salle's remarkable lack of height, the big man could be on his way to another big night.
For La Salle, guards Earl Pettis, Taylor Dunn and Sam Mills will need to help shoulder some of the load from Duren. Of the three—and really four if you count freshman forward D.J. Peterson—who all played substantial minutes against Lafayette, only the senior Pettis has a standing higher than that of a sophomore.
--All-time Series: Villanova leads 34-26.
--At the Pavillion: La Salle leads 5-4
--Wright versus La Salle: 9-1
--Giannini versus Villanova: 0-7
--Last Meeting: The Wildcats defeated the Explorers by a final score of 84-81 (12/12/10, Tom Gola Arena). La Salle's Jerrell Williams posted a game-high 20, while Maalik Wayns lead the way for Villanova with 19.
See you post-game.