Villanova has slipped into a three-game funk after beginning its Big East slate with two wins. Jay Wrights Wildcats have a chance to snap their skid, but it must come via upset as Rick Pitino and No. 5 Louisville visit the Wells Fargo Center tonight.
Heres a closer look at the game, tonight's lone contest involving a City 6 team:
Villanova is coming off a 69-66 loss at Providence. The Wildcats led by seven points at intermission and held a two-point advantage with 5:30 remaining but failed to hold off the Friars.
Louisville looks to rebound from one of its two losses on the season after dropping a nail-biter to Syracuse at home. A pair of costly turnovers lost the Cardinals a one-point lead with 29 seconds left, as the Orange secured a 70-68 win and Louisville lost its No. 1 ranking.
Handling the pressure
A young Villanova backcourt must tackle the stingy, pressure-oriented defense of Louisville, which harasses opponents as much and as well as anyone in the country.
The Cardinals defense forces opponents into 19.7 turnovers per game, second-most among the nation, by utilizing a full-court press and defending 94 feet for large portions of the game.
Meanwhile, Villanova turns it over at a league-worst clip of 16.3 per game and its starting backcourt is anchored by a freshman and sophomore.
Freshman point guard Ryan Arcidiacono has the hurdle of running the Villanova offense against the vaunted Louisville defense.
Arcidiacono leads the Wildcats with 3.3 assists per game but also hands it over to the opponent three times on average.
Backcourt mates Russ Smith and Peyton Siva wreak havoc on both ends of the floor. The duo leads Louisville in scoring, while Smith and Siva also rank third and fourth in steals, respectively, in the Big East.
Louisville topped Villanova last season, 84-74, at the KFC Yum! Center.
The Cardinals outscored the Wildcats by 15 points in the second frame after trailing by five at half.
Louisville holds a slim lead in the series history with a 9-8 edge.
What is the biggest key to a Villanova upset of Louisville?
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