The Big East landscape was turned on its head today when No. 16 Villanova blew out No. 6 Xavier in Philadelphia this afternoon, 95-64. Ryan Arcidiacono led the way with 27 points and eight assists, drilling seven three-pointers along the way, and Josh Hart scored 15 points while not missing a shot.
On the whole, five Villanova players finished in double figures and the defense was in top form. The Wildcats clamped down on the Musketeers from start to finish and forced 19 turnovers, not to mention almost every single one of Xavier’s shots. Xavier, who fell to 12-1 on the year, shot just 39.2 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from long range. The lone bright spot was out-rebounding Villanova 31-26.
Free throws were also an issue for Xavier, who made just 69.2 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe.
Such was not the case for Villanova, who shot 63.2 percent from the field and 52 percent from long range. In this game, the Wildcats looked reminiscent of the team that ran the Big East table all the way to the NCAA Tournament, where they were a No. 1 seed who lost to No. 8 N.C. State in the Round of 32.
And Villanova can now look forward to a bump in the rankings, though how big it will be remains to be seen. The team already has two non-conference losses on the season, albeit to tough programs in Oklahoma and Virginia, but could still crack the Top 10 depending on how the rest of the weekend pans out. Next on coach Jay Wright’s docket is a trip to Omaha to play Creighton on Saturday, with tip-off slated for 10 p.m. ET.
Xavier, on the other hand, gets thrown right back into the fire when it hosts Butler on Saturday.
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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports