DePaul pulled a first-round upset in the Big East tournament and now gets a crack at No. 8 Villanova when the event continues Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The 10th-seeded Blue Demons knocked off seventh-seeded Xavier on Wednesday, but the Wildcats - seeded second after finishing in a three-way tie for the Big East title - will certainly pose a much bigger obstacle.
Villanova has won seven of its last eight games, including a 20-point victory over DePaul, and enters Thursday's matchup with a 20-game winning streak over the Blue Demons. DePaul finished last in the Big East but has defeated Marquette and Xavier - two possible NCAA Tournament teams - in its last three games. Paul Reed carried the load in Wednesday's win with 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Charlie Moore chipped in 18 points and nine assists in the 71-67 triumph over Xavier. No fans will be allowed in attendance Thursday, the Big East announced late Wednesday night, due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: Fox Sports 1
ABOUT DEPAUL (16-16): Reed has posted three straight double-doubles and has recorded 18 overall this season, including 18 points and 15 boards in the first meeting with Villanova - a hard-fought 79-75 overtime defeat on Jan. 14. Moore had been mired in a bit of a slump prior to Wednesday, shooting 11-of-41 from the field and 3-of-16 from the 3-point line over his previous three outings, although he registered a season-high 29 points in the first meeting with the Wildcats. Jaylen Butz chipped in 11 points on Wednesday and has scored in double figures in four of his last six outings.
ABOUT VILLANOVA (24-7): The Wildcats boast five double-digit scorers on the season, led by Saddiq Bey (16.1 points) and Collin Gillespie (15.1), who have combined to make 149 3-pointers this season. Bey and Gillespie each made four 3-pointers in the first matchup with DePaul and then they both drained five in the second meeting for a Villanova team that averages nearly 10 made 3s per game. Justin Moore (11.3 points) has recorded double-digit points in five of his last six outings - a run that started with 17 points on 4-of-5 3-point shooting in the most recent matchup with the Blue Demons.
1. The winner of this game will face either third-seeded Seton Hall or sixth-seeded Marquette in the semifinals.
2. Over his last five games, Gillespie is shooting just 28.9 percent from the floor.
3. Villanova F Jermaine Samuels has not committed more than two turnovers in any of his last 13 games.