Saturday will be a busy day in the City 6, with five of the six schools playing in games that should be challenging for each of them. One of the most intriguing matchups will be between two of them, as La Salle and St. Joe's square off in a Big 5 battle:
Saint Joseph’s (14-9, 5-5 A-10) at La Salle (17-6, 7-3)
The Palestra, 1 p.m., NBC Sports Network
The winner of this game can clinch at the very least a share of the Big 5 title, but if La Salle were to win and then defeat the Temple on Thursday, the Explorers would claim their first outright Big 5 title since the 1989-90 season.
La Salle enters on a three-game winning streak with convincing wins over George Washington and Fordham, plus an overtime victory over St. Bonaventure. Ramon Galloway currently sits at third in scoring in the A-10 behind Temple’s Khalif Wyatt and Rhode Island's Xavier Munford.
The Explores are 5-1 this season in games decided by three points or less.
The Hawks have won four of their last six and have four players averaging in double figures. Senior Carl Jones leads the team in scoring at 15.0 ppg, and is followed by Langston Galloway (13.3), Ronald Roberts (11.3) and C.J. Aiken (11.2).
Saint Joseph’s leads the all-time series, 63-53.
Villanova (15-10, 6-6 Big East) at Connecticut (17-6, 7-4)
XL Center, Noon, ESPN
The Huskies are coming of a big upset win over No. 6 Syracuse, while the Wildcats are hoping to recover from a demoralizing 68-50 loss to Cincinnati on Tuesday.
Villanova led by a basket early in the game, but even with the squad shooting 52.2 percent from the floor in the first half, the team still trailed going into the half and never regained its footing from there. Momentum is something the Wildcats have had trouble keeping in the second half of the season, winning emphatically against Syracuse and Louisville in late January but being decidedly mixed since then.
The Wildcats have just six games left this season and three of those are against ranked teams.
When the two teams met last season, the Wildcats fell, 73-70, in overtime.
Temple (16-8, 5-5 A-10) at Massachusetts (16-7, 6-4)
Mullins Center, 6 p.m.
The Owls are coming off an incredibly disappointing loss to Duquesne, which was 0-9 in the A-10 going into Thursday night before beating Temple.
The Owls will hope to rebound, building on the strong bench play that has flashed from time to time in February. Khalif Wyatt continues to lead the A-10 in scoring, averaging 19.6 ppg. Yet, Temple's shoddy defense has often proved its undoing. The Owls rank in the bottom half of the A-10 in defensive rebounding (13th), rebounding margin (13th) and defensive FG pct (11th).
The Minutemen last played Thursday, falling in an 86-68 thrashing at the hands of VCU. However, Massachusetts has strong rebounding (37 per game) and three players averaging three double-figures: Chaz Williams (15.7), Jesse Morgan (13.4) and Terrell Vinson (12.0).
The Minutemen are seventh in the A-10 and Temple is ninth.
Pennsylvania (5-18, 2-4 Ivy) at Dartmouth (6-15, 2-5)
Leede Arena, 7 p.m.
Both the Quakers and Big Green come of double-digit loses Friday night. Penn fell, 73-54, at Harvard and Dartmouth lost, 73-53, versus Princeton. Dartmouth ranks worst in the Ivy League in scoring (60.9 ppg) and field goal percentage (39.9 percent).
Penn has yet to win back-to-back games this season, but with games against the 6-15 Big Green and 12-12 Cornell Big Red -- to whom they lost by two points earlier in February -- Penn should fancy its greatest chance this season of stringing together some wins.
The Quakers have knocked off the Big Green in 29 of the last 31 matchups between the two squads.