In their two losses this season, at Butler and against St. John’s, the Wildcats struggled from three-point range. They shot 12 for 35 (34.3 percent) against Butler and 8 for 33 (24.2 percent) against St. John’s.
For the season, Villanova is shooting 40.8 percent to lead the Big East. With the importance of the three-point shot in college basketball, Villanova is like so many other top teams that can be beaten if they’re not hitting from three-point range.
Asked if it is tough for his team to win when not on its game from beyond the arc, Villanova coach Jay Wright replied, “I think for the most part yes, but the best teams have balance.”
In other words, he doesn’t want Villanova to rely strictly on the three.
Villanova is fifth in the Big East in three-point defense, with opponents hitting 33.7 percent of their shots.
“I think generally most teams, especially in our league, have a lot of good three-point shooters, and if you take it away from them, it makes it difficult,” Wright said.
The Wildcats have three players in the top eight of the Big East in three-point percentage. Jalen Brunson (44.8 percent) is fifth, Omari Spellman (44.6 percent) is sixth, and currently injured Phil Booth is eighth at 43 percent.
Wednesday at Providence, 7 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
Saturday at Xavier, 4:30 p.m. (Fox29)
After Temple was pummeled, 75-42, in a Jan. 24 loss at Cincinnati, the players went to coach Fran Dunphy and requested that the Owls play a more up-tempo style. Since then, Temple has won five in a row, including an 81-79 overtime win over then-No. 16 Wichita State, a team the Owls will visit Thursday in the rematch.
“We had a team meeting after that Cincinnati loss and talked about what we did in South Carolina when we won the [Charleston Classic] championship and decided we could push the ball more,” Temple junior guard Shizz Alston said.
Redshirt senior point guard Josh Brown talked to coach Fran Dunphy about playing more up-tempo.
“Coach and Josh have a good relationship, and Coach trusts him,” said Alston, who is averaging 13.4 points.
Of course, there was one stipulation from Dunphy.
“Coach said we are the ones on the court and he trusts us to do what we want as long as we don’t turn it over,” Alston said.
Thursday at Wichita State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Sunday vs. Houston, 4 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
Penn sophomore AJ Brodeur is often the key figure in opponents’ game-planning against the Quakers. The 6-foot-8 Brodeur hasn’t forced the issue. A few games back, he had just two points and took only six shots in a 59-50 victory over Yale. The next game, he had 17 points and shot 8 for 12 from the field in an 82-65 win at Princeton.
“Teams put so much attention on him,” coach Steve Donahue said. “What I like is that whether he is scoring or not, he is always giving great effort.”
Brodeur is second on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg.) and leads the Quakers in rebounding (7.2 per game). Last season, he averaged 13.8 points and 6.9 rebounds.
Brodeur says it’s easy not to force the issue.
“For me, I have so many talented teammates around me,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be me who is the main scorer every night.”
Friday at Columbia, 7 p.m. (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
Saturday at Cornell, 6:30 p.m. (Ivy League Network)
The Explorers begin a three-game home stand Tuesday against St. Bonaventure, which was welcome news. Entering the game, La Salle was 8-2 at Tom Gola Arena.
Winning on the road has been the biggest struggle for the Explorers. They are 1-9 on the road and 1-4 in neutral-site games. The one road win wasn’t exactly a far trip, a 75-71 overtime victory at the Palestra against Penn. The Explorers have just two road games left: at Fordham and at St. Joseph’s, two teams the Explorers beat at Tom Gola Arena.
“I don’t have a good explanation for the road record; we are a veteran team,” La Salle coach John Giannini said.
Two of the road losses, to Massachusetts and Duquesne, were in overtime and triple overtime, respectively.
Saturday vs. George Mason, 2 p.m.
Tuesday vs. Rhode Island, 7 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
Drexel 6-8 senior Austin Williams suffered a lower leg injury in the Dragons’ 94-92 overtime loss to Towson on Feb. 8 and missed Saturday’s 87-69 loss at the College of Charleston.
Coach Zach Spiker says Williams is day to day and hasn’t been ruled out yet for Thursday’s game at Northeastern.
“Anytime you lose one of the nation’s best shot blockers, it can affect you, and we are hopeful we can get him back,” Spiker said during Tuesday’s Colonial Athletic Association conference call.
Through Monday’s games, Williams was ninth nationally in blocked shots, averaging 2.96.
Thursday at Northeastern, 7 p.m.
Saturday at Hofstra, 4 p.m.
Other than Rhode island, which entered Tuesday with a 12-0 mark in the Atlantic Ten, the rest of the league is fairly balanced. St. Joseph’s has a 5-7 mark, which entering Tuesday put the Hawks three games out of second place and two games out of the cellar. Beginning with Wednesday’s game at Fordham, the Hawks have six games left in the regular season, with four against teams that entered Tuesday with sub-.500 records.
“Every scouting report, we include the standings so the players recognize the significance of each of these games,” St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli said.
Wednesday at Fordham, 7 p.m. (Atlantic Ten Network)
Saturday vs. Duquesne, 6 p.m. (Atlantic Ten Network)