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Villanova Readies For Visit From South Florida

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Matt Leon Matt Leon
Coming on board at KYW was a homecoming for Matt Leon. Born and raised...
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By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Villanova Wildcats will look to put together back-to-back victories on Saturday afternoon as they welcome South Florida to the Pavilion.

Villanova sits at 14-9 (5-5 in the Big East) after that 94-71 win over DePaul on Tuesday night.  In that one the Wildcats went bonkers in the second half on offense, scoring 54 points on 69% shooting – including 6 of 7 from three-point land.

“It was an interesting second half,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright tells KYW Newsradio.  “We felt good about our offense in the first half, our defense was a little shaky, but DePaul was hitting threes.  We got some easy baskets off our defense early (in the second half) and then we just started feeling it.  Sometimes it happens, your guys get in that rhythm hitting threes and everybody’s hitting them.  But it started by creating easy baskets with our defense.”

Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Jay Wright:

Freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono had 23 points in the win and Wright says he continues to play good basketball.

“He’s got a lot of pressure (on him), the ball’s in his hands all the time, he’s one of our leading scorers and he just handles it all with class and great toughness,” Wright says.

South Florida has struggled this season.  They are 10-12 overall and just 1-9 in Big East action.  One of those conference losses came at the hands of the Wildcats, Villanova taking a 61-53 decision back on January 9th.  Despite the struggles, the Bulls still make it very uncomfortable for other teams when they have the ball.  South Florida is holding opponents to 61.9 points a game and 41% shooting from the field.

“(Head coach) Stan Heath is a (Michigan State head) coach (Tom) Izzo disciple,” Wright says. “They play that physical, tough, pack line defense.  When you get at that three-point line, everything is a battle.  And then they have some good length and athleticism that covers the ground from (the) three-point line in.  So there’s really no driving lanes, there’s not a lot of open shot opportunities.”

Wright says they compliment that defense with what they do when they have the basketball.

“On the offensive end, they are really deliberate,” Wright says. “So you realize every offensive possession, you’re not going to get a lot of chances and it puts a lot of pressure on you with their defense.”

The Wildcats shot 42% from the field in that earlier win against the Bulls.

Villanova and South Florida will tip-off at 3:00pm on Saturday afternoon.

You can follow Matt on twitter @mattleonkyw.

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