Rutgers 65

(9-4, 0-1 Big East)

(8) Villanova 81

(12-1, 1-0 Big East)

    Coverage: ESPNU/WatchESPN

    1:00 PM ET, January 2, 2011

    The Pavilion (Villanova), Villanova, Pennsylvania

    1 2 T
    RUTG 37 2865
    #8VILL 33 4881

    Top Performers

    Rutgers: J. Mitchell 17 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Villanova: C. Stokes 23 Pts, 1 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

    Rutgers-Villanova Preview


    After spending much of the first seven weeks of the season beating up on overmatched opponents, Villanova coach Jay Wright is feeling good about heading into Big East play coming off a gritty win over a ranked city rival.

    The eighth-ranked Wildcats look to build on that victory and win their 44th straight at the Pavilion on Sunday against Rutgers in the conference opener for each team.

    Villanova (11-1) defeated No. 25 Temple 78-74 on Thursday to complete a sweep of its four city rivals for the fourth time in six years. Senior Corey Stokes led all scorers with 24 points and sophomore Maalik Wayns had a season-best 21 points to help the Wildcats win their sixth in a row since losing to then-No. 24 Tennessee at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 26.

    It was the first big win for Villanova, which had not faced the toughest schedule to start the season. Only three of the Wildcats' victories prior to Thursday came over teams with winning records -- UCLA (9-5), Bucknell (8-7) and Delaware (6-5).

    "Going into this game, we hadn't really played well against a really good team," Wright said. "We wanted to see. Let's see where we are. I feel good about where we are."

    Opening conference play at home against Rutgers, picked to finished 15th in the 16-team Big East, might also have Wright feeling good.

    Villanova, predicted to finish second in the conference, has won six of the last seven in this series and won at Rutgers 94-68 in the only meeting last season. Dominic Cheek led Villanova with 17 points against the Scarlet Knights last January, while Stokes scored 16 and Corey Fisher added 15.

    This will be one of just four Big East games for the Wildcats at the Pavilion, where they've won 43 in a row, including 17 victories against conference opponents. Villanova is 7-1 all-time against Rutgers at its on-campus arena.

    The Scarlet Knights (9-3), losers of four straight Big East openers since defeating Seton Hall in 2006, are set to open league play after losing to North Carolina 78-55 on Tuesday at MSG. Rutgers had won its previous six games, but those victories came over teams with a combined 25-48 record.

    Jonathan Mitchell had 20 points against the Tar Heels but no other Rutgers player scored more than eight. The Scarlet Knights shot 33.9 percent and were outrebounded 46-31.

    "No time to hang our heads," senior guard James Beatty said. "We got to come back in practice and get better the next few days we have to prepare for 'Nova."

    Rutgers coach Mike Rice might have a good idea on how to prepare for the Wildcats.

    Rice was the coach at Robert Morris last season, and nearly upset second-seeded Villanova in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats hung on for a 73-70 overtime win.

    Rice is now leading Rutgers to its best start under a first-year coach since 1945-46 when the Scarlet Knights won 10 of their first 12 games under Donald S. White.

    To have success in the Big East, Rice will have to figure out a way to beat Top 25 teams.

    The Big East currently has seven of them, and the Scarlet Knights went 1-6 against Top 25 foes in 2009-10 and have lost 23 of their last 24 road games against ranked opponents.


    School Info

    Conference Big Ten Big East
    Nickname Scarlet Knights Wildcats
    Type Public Private

    2010-11 Season

    » Jan 2, 2011 @VILL 81, RUTG 65Recap
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