#8 Villanova Wildcats (10-0) vs. Rider Broncs (5-4)
When: Saturday, December 21, 4 p.m.
Where: The Pavilion
Coverage: Fox Sports 1
Rider Previous Season Record: 19-15, Lost to East Carolina in Second Round of CIT
Key Players for Rider: #10 Anthony Myles (6-5, 205) Sr., G; #13 Daniel Stewart (6-7, 215) Sr., F; #3 Jimmie Taylor (6-3, 180) Fr., G
Scouting Report: Rider had a rocky start to their season, but recently they are in the middle of a three game win streak. This is a team that is similar in nature to Lafayette, they shoot the ball well. The Broncs will follow the lead of their senior captains Anthony Myles and Daniel Stewart. Myles has been a weapon since he first stepped on the court for Rider, he surpassed the 1,000 point milestone this season and continues to keep pouring it on. He is the team’s leading scorer and has stepped his game up this season, averaging 18.7 points per game (up from 12.1 points per game). He does it pretty efficiently too, with a 49.5% field goal percentage so far this season. He is capable of shooting the three ball, but not as well as other teammates. This does not mean teams should sag off on him when he’s on the perimeter, he will shoot the open three but he also loves to drive his way to the basket. Myles has put up double digit figures in scoring in every game so far this season except for the most recent one against Wagner, where he only had eight. Before that, he was on a streak of four games where he scored 20+ points. Stewart is no stranger to the area, hailing from Upper Darby, PA. He is right behind Myles when it comes to scoring, averaging 16.9 points per game and leads the Broncs in rebounding with 6.0 rebounds per game. Stewart is a threat inside, he can throw it down beautifully. He gets open inside, and will find his way to the basket from there. He isn’t just a one trick pony who can just make the open layup or dunk, but he can also shoot from beyond the arc well. He is 50% (11 for 22) from long range and is more than capable in dealing damage from the line where he is relishes his role as Rider’s best free throw shooter. Stewart shoots an impressive 89% from the charity stripe and capitalizes on every trip to the line. On the defensive side of the ball, he is definitely one of their better defenders on the team. Keep an eye out for guards Jimmie Taylor and Zedric Sadler. These young guys have been a great supporting cast to the seniors. Taylor is a freshman, but he has been playing like a veteran. He is one of the many threats from long range and boasts the highest three point shooting percentage (61.9%). He is an efficient shooter and is shooting 51.9% overall. However, Taylor falls short when he is sent to the line. He is shooting a sub-par 60% from the line. Sadler is a sophomore guard who is averaging 11 points per game. He quietly reaches double digits in scoring in each game, but when he is heating up from long range, everyone notices. Sadler is another threat from beyond the arc, and the Wildcats will have to be wary about him and Taylor as they try to contain their top threats.
Outlook: Rider’s style of play is very similar to Lafayette. They look to punish opponents with their shooting and perimeter game. The one problem is that Rider is much more talented than Lafayette. The numbers don’t lie, Rider shoots the ball better and even has the better record at the moment. Should Villanova be concerned? Lafayette handed them a run for their money during most of the game and gave them quite a scare. Rider is statistically better in almost every shooting category. Rider is still, just Rider. I don’t believe Villanova should be too concerned, after all, they dismantled Lafayette when they started to go inside offensively. For the most part, Rider’s interior game is lacking. On offense, their big guys don’t play huge role at all. When it comes to rebounding, the Broncs are ranked 275th overall when it comes to rebounds per game. JayVaughn Pinkston should have a field day and Daniel Ochefu should dominate the boards. The press should be effective against these guys, and the Wildcats just need to watch the perimeter; no easy shots. They can’t afford to leave anyone alone, as anyone of the Broncs’ starting lineup can get hot and start scoring. Villanova should win this game and go on to the Carrier Dome undefeated.