NCAA Tournament East Regional Third Round
Site: First Niagara Center, Buffalo, N.Y.
Time: Saturday, about 9:45 p.m.
TV: TBS (Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery, Allie LaForce)
Radio: WTIC-AM 1080, WILI-AM 1400, WELI-AM 960, WGCH 1490 (Joe D'Ambrosio, Wayne Norman)
Series history: Villanova, 33-30
Last meeting: Villanova, 70-61, Feb. 16, 2013 at XL Center
Streaks: UConn W1, Villanova W1
13 SHABAZZ NAPIER, G, 6-1, Sr., 17.6 ppg. – Scored 24 points, nine in OT, vs. St. Joe's
11 RYAN BOATRIGHT, G, 6-0, Jr., 12.0 – Went 5-for-10 from floor vs. St. Joe's
2 DeANDRE DANIELS, F, 11.2, Jr., 12.7 – Has scored 51 points in past three games
00 PHIL NOLAN, C, 6-10, So., 3.7 – Started, but played only 8 minutes vs. St. Joe's
5 NIELS GIFFEY, F, 6-7, Sr., 8.6 – Played 24 minutes in 2011 national championship game
35 AMIDA BRIMAH, C, 7-0, Fr., 4.4 – Scored nine critical points vs. St. Joe's
32 JAMES BELL, G/F, 6-6, Sr., 14.4 ppg. – Leads team with 44 steals
22 JAYVAUGHN PINKSTON, F, 6-7, Jr.,14.2 – Leading rebounder with 6.2 a game.
23 DANIEL OCHEFU, C, 6-11, So., 5.7– Leads team with 51 blocks
15 RYAN ARCIDIACONO, G, 6-3, So. 9.7 – Scored 25 vs. UConn on Feb. 16. 2013
4 DARRUN HILLIARD, G, 6-6, Jr.,14.3 – Named, with Ochefu, Big East's most improved player
3 JOSH HART, G, 6-5, Fr., 8.0 – Played 30 minutes, had 11 points, seven rebounds in first NCAA game
What To Watch
Threes company: Villanova is among the top teams in the country in three-point attempts (824) and efficiency (293 made, 35.5 percent), so UConn's ability to get out to the perimeter and contest shots will be important. Arcidiacono hurt UConn from outside at the XL Center last time these teams played, but he is shooting 34 percent this season.
Conference call: These are two old-time Big East teams, and players on both sides expect a physical game in that tradition. Villanova, with Pinkston's size, could have an advantage there.
UConn's big men: Brimah and Daniels have become more of a factor in recent games against Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Joe's, and the Huskies need more of everything from them – scoring, rebounding, physical toughness. Pinkston, 260 pounds, poses a challenge down low.
All that Shabazz: Napier opened the tournament with a slow first half, productive second half. It would be hard to imagine the Huskies winning without Napier having a big game, though he has only 10 points in his three career games against Villanova.
Bench marks: Villanova, building a big lead, was able to get its bench heavily involved in its first tournament game. Kevin Ollie used 10 players but relied heavily on seven in UConn's OT victory in the first round. So the 'Cats could have fresher legs.
The late show: This will be UConn's eighth game starting 9 p.m. or later. After losing the first three, the Huskies have won the past four, so perhaps they have found a sleeping, eating, practicing routine that works. Or maybe it's just coincidence.
DOM AMORE | firstname.lastname@example.org