By Sean Kennedy
7:00 PM: Drexel (10-7, 2-2 CAA) vs. Delaware (12-7, 4-0 CAA)
Drexel overcame a terrible first half to take down UNC-Wilmington over the weekend, but will find things much more difficult against a Blue Hens squad that sits undefeated atop the Colonial. Delaware has one of the better offensive attacks in the country, led by senior guard Devon Saddler. Saddler is among the nation’s leaders in scoring at 21.7 ppg, shooting 50% from the field and 42% behind the arc. The Blue Hens aren’t a one-man show, however, as point guard Jarvis Threatt and swingman Davon Usher each average over 17 points per game as well. The effective three-guard attack is very reminiscent of what Drexel featured this season before the team was felled down by injuries.
The Dragons were happy to welcome Dartaye Ruffin back to the lineup last game which will be a big boost on the defensive glass for the team. However, it will ultimately be up to Chris Fouch and Frantz Massenat to keep pace with the high-powered attack of the Blue Hens. They’ve really stepped their games up in recent weeks but it’s tough to carry such a scoring burden each and every game. If Freddie Wilson could duplicate his career-best effort against UNC-Wilmington, it would go a long way to helping those guys out. Still, at less than full strength, it’s going to be an uphill battle for the Dragons, even at home.
7:00 PM: Villanova (16-1, 5-0 Big East) vs. Creighton (15-3, 5-1 Big East) – Fox Sports 1
It’s a battle of top-25 teams as the 6th-ranked Wildcats play host to the 20th-ranked Bluejays. Creighton is coming off a disappointing loss to Providence that snapped the team’s 10-game winning streak and will be looking to take out that frustration on the Wildcats. Any discussion about Creighton begins with star forward Doug McDermott, who is 2nd in the country in scoring at 24.9 ppg. McDermott is an elite outside shooter, with the ability to either run off screens and drop catch-and-shoot daggers, or work for his own shot off a pull-up dribble drive. The likely Wooden Award finalist is projected as a late-lottery pick in this spring’s NBA draft, with concerns about defensive limitations being the only thing holding him back from going higher.
The Wildcats will have to make a concerted effort to focus on McDermott at all times transitioning from their three-quarter court press back into their zone defense. If they lose him for even a second, he could punish Villanova from the outside. Earlier this season, we saw St. Joe’s employ almost a constant double-team against McDermott and it wouldn’t surprise me to see something similar tonight from Jay Wright’s bunch. Still, Villanova is by far the more balanced team, which I think should carry the day for them at home against Creighton.