Villanova Wildcats (3-0) vs. Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens (2-2)
When: Friday, November 22, 2013, 7 p.m.
Where: The Pavilion
Delaware Previous Season Record: 19-14, Lost in CAA Semifinals
Key Players for Delaware: #0 Davon Usher (6-6, 200) Sr., G; #4 Jarvis Threatt (6-2, 170) Jr., G; #13 Kyle Anderson (6-3, 200) Jr., G
Scouting Report: The Delaware basketball team is coming into town to set the stage for the their football team and the annual “Battle of the Blue”. Both games perfectly fell on the same weekend. One player that won’t be taking part in the rivalry festivities is guard Devon Saddler. Saddler is currently serving a one-month suspension for violating team rules. Saddler was easily the best player on a Delaware squad, and is currently listed as the second-highest scorer in program history. He was on pace to easily take the top spot (currently has 1,716 points, the record is 2,030). With Saddler out of the picture, the Fightin’ Blue Hens will look in other directions. Sophomore Marvin King-Davis will be replacing him in the lineup. King-Davis is not going to put up big time numbers that Saddler would, but he is a decent rebounder and is contribute some on offense. The majority of the offense will go through the trio of Kyle Anderson, Jarvis Threatt, and Davon Usher. Anderson is a real threat from three-point range and should not be taken lightly. He is currently shooting over 50% from long range, and in the game against Hampton scored 24 points including a perfect 6 for 6 in three point shooting. Threatt is what his name implies. He is an excellent slashing guard who can drive to the rim, if he can get himself going he can easily produce points. Don’t let his low 35.4% shooting percentage fool you. If he does not punish his opponents with his driving ability, he will be able to do so from the free throw line. Through his first three games, Threatt has scored a majority of his points from the free throw line. He is also coming off of back-to-back 20+ point performances. He can occasionally hit threes, but will look to drive first when he can. The last but not least is Usher, the new guy on the block. Transferring in from Mississippi Valley State, Usher is a wildcard. If he’s hot, he’s hot; he will take many shots on the floor, and is capable of having a big night, or just another night. The scoring duties will be spread out, so unlike the teams that came before Delaware, there is no lone star player that will do it all. Carl Baptiste is the big man down low, and although he is not receiving the attention that his fellow teammates are receiving, he has a pretty good mid-range jump shot and can grab rebounds when needed. He can quietly put up double-digit scoring figures, which he has in the last three games.
Outlook: Villanova has been rolling through the competition so far. Delaware is an interesting team in that anyone on the floor is capable of scoring. Four out of the starting five players average double digits in scoring. They have no problem sharing and playing team ball. Despite the multiple weapons, it’s not something to be too afraid of. Anderson is the only real three-point threat, as he is the only one shooting above 50% from long range. The second best three-point shooting percentage in the starting rotation is Davon Usher’s 29.2%. So far, the Villanova defense has done a great job on closing down on three-point shooters. It helped give the Wildcats separation in the second half of the Lafayette game, and it made a big difference when they held Mount St. Mary’s and Towson for a combined 10 for 44. Ryan Arcidiacono is going to have to keep Anderson in check and not allow him to settle in to take good shots. Anderson also takes good care of the ball and does not turn it over much, the defense will have to change that. Darrun Hilliard and James Bell will share responsibilities in dealing with Threatt and Usher. Both have done well in previous games in containing their match ups, so this should be the same. The Villanova defense has to be wary of avoiding getting in foul trouble when it comes to Delaware’s physical game. On offense, the Wildcats should not have any real issues. Delaware’s defense isn’t exactly the greatest there is. Villanova’s three best scorers this season (Hilliard, Bell, and Pinkston) will outdo Delaware’s trio. It is important that Villanova does not allow Delaware to grab offensive rebounds. Delaware’s wins so far in the season have a lot to do with second chance points and being able to out-rebound their opponents. However, in their losses, their rebounding numbers are much lower. Villanova is heating up and this is their last chance to prepare themselves for the bigger competition at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Villanova should improve to 4-0 and win comfortably by double digits.