During Villanova’s last three seasons, campaigns that saw them win Big 5 titles each time, the Wildcats have won every game against their city foes.
There doesn’t seem to be much competition anymore, as each of those 12 victories dating back to 2013 have come by a margin of at least 14 points.
Still Jay Wright’s squad, the No. 1 team in the country, doesn’t overlook Philly foes like La Salle, St. Joes, UPenn and Temple.
“We are really proud of where we are and any Big 5 game we win,” Wright said Wednesday night after a 83-67 Wildcats victory over Temple in North Philly.”Every Big 5 game is totally different.
“We know how special this is to the city.”
For the last 38 years at least one team from the Big 5 has made the NCAA Tournament and this year will be no exception, as Nova and fellow main-liners St. Joes have a combined 55-7 record this season (and are both likely shoe-ins). The Owls also have an outside shot boasting three wins over ranked opponentsbut a less-impressive 16-9 mark.
“There’s nothing like playing a road game in the Big 5,” Wright said, citing a raucous crowd, the biggest in the history of the Liacouras Center Wednesday evening.”We play those games early purposefully to prepare us for the Big East. A road game in the Big 5 is as tough as any in the Big East, sometimes tougher. This one we wanted to play at the end of the year to get us prepared for the postseason.”
Villanova has exactly five games remaining before the postseason starts, with Butler slated to travel to Philly Saturday before the Wildcats hit the road to play at Xavier and Marquette in the midwest next week.
Two home games roundup the regular season in the beginning of March, on the 1st against DePaul and the 5th against Georgetown.
And don’t expect the Cats to be the least bit complacent down the stretch. Wright has a list of things his team needs to improve on (despite being the top team in the nation).
“We need to get a lot better and turnovers have been a big issue,” Wright said. “We have to take care of the basketball.”