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St. Joseph's Hawks vs Villanova Wildcats Prediction & Match Preview - December 19, 2020 | NCAA Men's Basketball

2K Empire Classic
2K Empire Classic
Trent Bixby
ANALYST
Modified 18 Dec 2020, 04:00 IST
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Match Details

Fixture: St. Joseph's Hawks vs. Villanova Wildcats - NCAA Men's Basketball

Date & Time: Saturday, December 19, 2020, 6PM ET

Venue: William B. Finneran Pavilion, Villanova, Pennsylvania

The No. 7 Villanova Wildcats were initially scheduled to play the No. 17 Virginia Cavaliers on this date, but due to complications in the schedule via COVID precautions, the Wildcats will now host fellow Big East member St. Joseph's Hawks. Villanova has won four straight games, including both of their first two conference games. This will be St. Joe's first Big East matchup.

St. Joseph's Hawks Preview

The St. Joseph's Hawks have had a very unfortunate start to their 2020-21 season. St. Joe's began its year with the Fort Myers Tip-Off Tournament, in which they played the Auburn Tigers and No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks. St. Joe's lost both of these games but kept both games close and looked relatively strong overall.

Fort Myers Tip-Off
Fort Myers Tip-Off

Then, as many teams have experienced this season, positive COVID tests led to the cancellation of the next three scheduled games for St. Joe's. Now, with their last game more than 20 days ago, the Hawks open their conference games against the preseason Big East favorite Villanova Wildcats. 

Key Player - Taylor Funk

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Despite only having a two-game sample size, the St. Joesph's offense has shown quite impressive numbers. Averaging over 80 points per game, the Hawks have many offensive scoring threats. The key player for the Hawks' could be their standout from the Fort Myers Tip-Off, Taylor Funk.

Funk averaged 16.5 points in the Hawks' first two games, and also collected a combined 13 rebounds and 3 assists. Funk will need a very strong outing on Saturday if St. Joe's is going to upset Villanova.

St. Joseph's Hawks Predicted Lineup

Jordan Hall, Taylor Funk, Dahmir Bishop, Greg Foster Jr, Ryan Daly

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Villanova Wildcats Preview

Michigan v Villanova
Michigan v Villanova
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With the Villanova Wildcats' 76-63 victory over the Butler Bulldogs on Wednesday, head coach Jay Wright celebrated his 600th win as the Villanova head coach. Wright is recognized as one of the best coaches in all of college basketball and has made Villanova basketball a consistent contender for a national title.

The Wildcats are currently unbeaten in conference play and have looked dominant in each of their six wins this season. The Wildcats' only loss came to the unranked Virginia Tech Hokies on November 28, but they have since looked to be in great form.

Key Player - Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

The Villanova Wildcats are hoping for a big night out of 2019-20 Big East Freshman of the Year Jeremiah Robinson-Earl on Saturday. Robinson-Earl has been excellent all year for the Wildcats, averaging over 15 points and nearly 8 rebounds per game. He has been a force on both ends of the court and should have a big night against an undersized St. Joe's defense.

Villanova Wildcats Predicted Lineup

Collin Gillespie, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Justin Moore, Caleb Daniels, Jermaine Samuels

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St. Joe's vs. Villanova Prediction

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Athough we have only seen this St. Joseph's Hawks team in action twice, I have seen enough out of the Villanova Wildcats to feel confident in a Villanova victory on Saturday. The St. Joe's offense does have some weapons, so I think the game will be closer than most would expect, 74-66 Villanova.

How to watch St. Joe's vs. Villanova

The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports One.

Published 18 Dec 2020, 04:00 IST
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