#17 Villanova Wildcats (8-2) vs. Delaware Blue Hens (5-4)
When: Tuesday, December 22, 2015, at 7 p.m.
Where: The Pavilion
Coverage: Fox Sports 1
Delaware’s Previous Season Record: 10-20
Key Players for Delaware: #1 Kory Holden (6-2, 180) So., G; #21 Marvin King-Davis (6-7, 230) Sr., F; #22 Kazmon Hayes (6-4, 195) Sr., F
Scouting Report: The Blue Hens continue their December road trip with a game against the Villanova Wildcats on Tuesday night. They’ll be lead by their one-two punch of Kory Holden and Cazmon Hayes. The two kept it pretty close in the loss to Boston College on Saturday. They scored all of Delaware’s 35 first half points. Holden leads the team with 17.8 points per game. He is the Blue Hens’ primary scoring option and can get it done in a variety of ways. Holden is a quick guard that can drive and finish around the basket, or he can pull up with confidence and drain his shots. He is building off of a solid freshman season that included First Team All-CAA honors. So far this season, Holden’s shooting percentage numbers are about the same, but he has seen improvement in his scoring output and handling of the ball. Turnovers were a big issue for Holden as a freshman last season, but the year of experience seems to be treating him well. He’s taking better care of the ball, turning it over 2.1 times per game instead of the 3.3 from last year. As for Hayes, he is averaging 14.4 points per game and 7.3. rebounds per game. The junior guard has respectable numbers, however, he tends to take too many ill advised shots. He doesn’t take the best shots, shooting only 34.2% overall and an even worse 25.7% from long range.
While Holden and Hayes do most of the scoring, they can’t do it alone. In fact, in three of their four losses, only two or three players scored in double figures. Most of their wins came with a balanced scoring effort.The Blue Hens don’t really use a deep rotation. Marvin King-Davis is the team’s top rebounder. He’s averaging just short of a double-double, with 13.7 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game. Maurice Jeffers teams up with King-Davis in the paint. He doesn’t contribute much on the scoring end, but he is a solid rebounder. The team is still looking for consistent replacements for Devonne Pinkard and Chivarsky Corbett, both of whom suffered injuries that will set them back for a while. Coach Monte Ross has turned to Anthony Mosley and Skye Johnson. Both players won’t light up the scoreboard, but they have done an okay job of filling in the holes left from Pinkard and Corbett, two of Delaware’s reliable contributors.
Outlook: Villanova takes another skid down the polls after the loss to Virginia. For the first time since the 2013-2014 season, the Wildcats are at the bottom end of Big East ranked teams. Three Big East teams are now in the top 10 – Xavier (6), Butler (9), and Providence (10). The Wildcats are looking to get back there, with their first game since the Virginia game tomorrow night. Villanova is the clear favorite in this one. Delaware doesn’t boast a lot of size, with no players standing in at 6-foot-10 or taller. Daniel Ochefu scored 13 points off of 6-of-8 shooting in Saturday’s game, and should be able to replicate that success, even surpass it. He should be able to have his way inside. Villanova may have lost on the glass in Saturday’s game, but I don’t see the same happening again.
As for the back court, the Wildcats’ defense should be focused on limiting Holden and Hayes, who take a majority of the Blue Hens’ shots. On the offensive end, Villanova has to keep up or build on its last performance. As a team they didn’t do so badly against Virginia, making 26-of-53 (49.1%) of their shots and going 10-for-26 (38.5%) from long range. The Wildcats should win this one and bounce back. Their schedule calms down a bit until New Year’s Eve, when they begin conference play against Xavier.