By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Villanova has been one of the nation’s top teams, and this Thursday, the Wildcats plan on showing why in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The No. 2 seed Wildcats open with Horizon Conference Champion Milwaukee, which got hot at the right time, winning its conference tournament after going 7-9 in the Horizon during the regular season.
Here’s a look at Villanova-Milwaukee.
Site & Time: First Niagra Center, Buffalo, N.Y.
Second Round at 9:25 PM Thursday
No. 2 Villanova Wildcats
Record: 28-4 (16-2, 1st BIG EAST)
Coach: Jay Wright (12th year)
Key Wins: Kansas, Iowa, Providence (2)
Record vs RPI Top 50: 6-3
NCAA Record: 49-33 (34th appearance)
Last Appearance: First Round (2013)
Best Finish: National Champions (1985)
JayVaughn Pinkston F Jr. 6-7 14.2 ppg
Daniel Ochefu F So. 6-11 5.8 ppg
Ryan Arcidiacono G So. 6-3 9.9 ppg
Darrun Hilliard G Jr. 6-6 14.3 ppg
James Bell G Sr. 6-6 14.5 ppg
No. 15 Milwaukee Panthers
Record: 21-13 (7-9, 5th Horizon) – Horizon Tourney Champion
Coach: Rob Jeter (2011 Horizon League Coach of the Year) Key Wins: at Green Bay (2), at Davidson, Wright State (2) Record vs. RPI Top 50: 0-1
NCAA Record: 3-3 (4th appearance)
Last Appearance: Round of 32 (2006)
Best Finish: Sweet Sixteen (2005)
Kyle Kelm F Sr. 6-9 12.6 ppg
Matt Tiby F So. 6-8 12.1 ppg
Austin Arians F So. 6-6 10.9 ppg
Jordan Aaron G Sr. 5-10 15 ppg
Steve McWhorter G Jr. 6-2 8.0 ppg
Why Villanova will win: Despite the subpar display against Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament, the Wildcats are still a very good team, with more athleticism than Milwaukee. The Panthers will want to slow down Villanova. That won’t happen. Milwaukee sometimes has problems holding the ball. Villanova averaged 16.7 points a game off turnovers, which was the most in the Big East.
The pick: Villanova big—88-70. Someone has to pay for the Seton Hall debacle.