Three City 6 schools will hit the floor in some conference games Wednesday night. Let’s take a look at the matchups.
No. 2 Villanova (26-2, 13-2 Big East) vs. No. 22 Butler (21-6, 10-5 Big East)
9 p.m. at the Pavilion on FOX Sports 1
Last time out
Jalen Brunson and Kris Jenkins each had 22 points and shot a combined 15 of 17 from the field, as the Wildcats steamrolled Seton Hall, 92-70, on Saturday (see story).
Josh Hart chipped in 19 points, four rebounds, one assist and a steal. Brunson shot a perfect 7 for 7 from the field and racked up a double-double with 10 assists. Villanova got off on a 15-4 run early in the second half to build on a 42-31 lead entering halftime.
Thanks to four players scoring in double figures, Butler beat DePaul, 82-66, at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Sunday.
Butler trailed by five with just under five minutes to go in the first half, but the Bulldogs finished the frame on a 14-0 run, giving them a 36-27 lead entering halftime.
Nate Fowler led the Bulldogs in points with 15 off the bench on 7-of-9 shooting.
The Wildcats will return home on a seven-game winning streak after three straight road games.
Brunson has been red hot for Villanova on that streak. The sophomore guard has scored at least 15 points in five of the past seven games. He’s also shooting the ball at a 54 percent clip during that stretch.
Although Donte DiVincenzo didn’t have his best outings scoring-wise in the past two games against DePaul and Seton Hall, he’s been a huge help for Wildcats off the bench this season. Over the past seven games, DiVincenzo has had three games in which he’s scored more than 15 points.
Butler enters this game shooting 56 percent or better in back-to-back games. With Villanova possibly missing Darryl Reynolds for a fourth straight game, the Bulldogs could use the 6-10, 250-pound Fowler to take advantage of a smaller ‘Cats lineup.
Despite averaging 5.5 points per game, Fowler scored 15 on Sunday and 19 against Providence on Feb. 11.
What it means
If Villanova wins, it will clinch the No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament outright.
With a victory, Butler could solidify itself as the No. 2 seed in the Big East Tournament. Creighton is a half-game back of the Bulldogs in the conference standings.
This is the ninth time Villanova and Butler will play each other. Villanova leads the all-time series, 7-1. Butler’s only win over ‘Nova came on Jan. 4 in a 66-58 decision.
Villanova will host No. 23 Creighton Saturday at 3 p.m.
Butler will travel to Cincinnati to play Xavier at the Cintas Center.
Temple (14-14, 5-10 AAC) vs. UCF (17-10, 8-7 AAC)
7 p.m. at the Liacouras Center on ESPNU
Last time out
Temple led UConn by as many as 10 midway through the second half Sunday, but fell, 64-63, at the Liacouras Center thanks to a layup by Jalen Adams with 2.9 seconds left in the game (see story).
Daniel Dingle had a team-high 17 points for Temple while freshmen Damion Moore and Alani Moore II combined for 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting.
UCF on Saturday knocked off East Carolina, 61-58, after going on an 11-2 run late in the second half at the Minges Coliseum.
Nick Banyard led the way for UCF with his second double-double of the season, scoring 18 points and hauling in 11 rebounds.
Temple coach Fran Dunphy has gone with a different starting lineup in the past three games. Moore and Quinton Rose have replaced Ernest Aflakpui and Moore II in the starting lineup. Temple is 1-2 in that stretch, but the Owls have seen some flashes of talent out of their young group of players.
Against UConn, Moore looked comfortable in the offense and scored 11 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting. Rose is averaging 12.7 points, four rebounds and three assists per game in his three starts this season.
Obi Enechionyia’s minutes have decreased over those past three games even though he’s started all of them. Enechionyia, who averages 32.3 minutes per game, played 29 minutes against Memphis, 21 against East Carolina and 19 against UConn. He’s also shot the ball only 4 of 14 from the field with a combined 18 points in those three games.
Defense has been the staple of UCF's team this season. The Knights are second in scoring defense in the AAC, allowing opponents 60.8 points per game. Opposing teams are shooting 36 percent against UCF, too, which ranks first in the AAC in field goal percentage defense.
Those numbers can be attributed to 7-6 center Tacko Fall, who averages 2.4 blocks per game and alters countless other shot attempts.
UCF is led by its backcourt combo of B.J. Taylor and Matt Williams. Taylor averages 16.6 points per game, while Williams averages 15.5 points per game. Taylor has scored in double figures in nine consecutive games.
What it means
A win could help Temple try to find its way out of the bottom four of the AAC. Currently, Temple ranks eighth in the conference, and would play in the first round of the conference tournament.
If UCF wins, it will bump the Knights up to fifth in the AAC standings above Memphis.
Temple and UCF are meeting for the ninth time. The Owls hold a 5-3 lead in the all-time series.
Temple will play its final home game of the season against Tulane on Saturday at noon.
UCF will face Cincinnati at the CFE Center Sunday at 3 p.m.
St. Joe’s (10-16, 3-11 A-10) vs. St. Bonaventure (16-10, 8-6 A-10)
7 p.m. at Hagan Arena
Last time out
St. Joe’s fell, 83-68, to La Salle at Tom Gola Arena on Saturday (see story). The loss was St. Joe’s sixth consecutive defeat, its longest losing streak since a nine-game skid back in 2011.
St. Bonaventure lost a thriller in the final seconds to Dayton, 76-72, on Saturday at UD Arena. Darrell Davis of Dayton hit a pair of free throws with 0.9 seconds left to sink the Bonnies.
St. Joe’s hasn’t been lucky this season.
Its two starting backcourt players, Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble, both suffered season-ending injuries.
Kimble led the Hawks in scoring at 15.5 points per game, but since he's been sidelined two games ago against UMass, freshman Charlie Brown has played big.
Brown is averaging 16.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in Kimble’s absence. He’s also scored in double figures in every game except one since January.
St. Bonaventure enters this game winners in three of its last six.
Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure’s leading scorer, is tied for first in the A-10 in scoring with 21.6 points per game. Matt Mobley also averages 19.0 points per game for St. Bonaventure and shoots 41 percent from beyond the arc.
The Bonnies have the best scoring offense in the A-10, averaging 78.3 points per contest.
What it means
There really isn’t much to gain here for St. Joe’s. The best thing for the Hawks in this game is to test out some of their young talent on the roster for next season. They’re tied for last place in the A-10 with Duquesne and UMass.
A win for the Bonnies could improve their seeding in the A-10 Tournament. The Bonnies are a 1 1/2 games back of Richmond and Rhode Island, who are both tied for the third spot in the conference.
This is the 35th time the Hawks and Bonnies will square off. St. Joe’s holds a 23-12 advantage in the all-time series.
St. Joe’s will be on the road against Saint Louis on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
The Bonnies will be home against Duquesne on Saturday at 4 p.m.