A stretch of days off in Villanova's schedule

Villanova's Maalik Wayns leads the City Six with an 18.4-point average through Sunday. He ranks 33d in the NCAA.
Villanova's Maalik Wayns leads the City Six with an 18.4-point average through Sunday. He ranks 33d in the NCAA. (KEITH SRAKOCIC / Associated Press)
Posted: February 08, 2012

The Big East Conference schedule makers have dealt a rather bizarre hand to Villanova, which finds itself in a stretch of 17 days with just two games.

The Wildcats were off for seven days after losing a Jan. 28 decision to Marquette at the Wells Fargo Center. They played Sunday at Pittsburgh, a 79-70 defeat, and again barely 48 hours later vs. Providence Tuesday night at the Pavilion.

The Wildcats now begin another idle seven-day period before taking the court for their next game Feb. 15 at South Florida.

"It's a little crazy," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "At least we're getting in some quality practice time."

The Wildcats will have a more conventional schedule beginning at South Florida, with two games for each of the final three weeks of the regular season, including back-to-back Wells Fargo Center matchups, against Notre Dame (Feb. 18) and Connecticut (Feb. 20).

Hawks on the rise

Don't look now, but the team with the highest RPI behind Temple among City Six squads is - St. Joseph's.

According to the NCAA RPI chart released Monday, the Hawks moved up from No. 55 a week ago to No. 43. CollegeRPI.com, which says it uses the same mathematical formula as the NCAA to determine the ratings, had St. Joe's at No. 42 on Tuesday.

Using the NCAA numbers as of Monday, Temple is 22d, La Salle 70th, Drexel 86th, Villanova 97th, and Penn 105th.

In the Atlantic Ten, the Hawks have the third-best RPI behind Temple and St. Louis (34). Xavier, which gets an NCAA nod in some mock brackets, is fourth at No. 53.

The Hawks can help themselves gain some NCAA attention with home wins this week against St. Louis and Massachusetts.

Stat talk

Villanova's Maalik Wayns leads the City Six in scoring with an 18.4-point average through Sunday. He is tied for 33d in the NCAA, three spots ahead of Penn's Zach Rosen (18.3).

Wayns also is the city's best free-throw shooter at 90.2 percent, sixth in the nation.

Rosen is tops in the city in assists (6.0, tied for 18th nationally) and assist-turnover ratio (1.98, 80th). He has converted 88.1 percent of his free throws (23d).

C.J. Aiken of St. Joseph's has blocked 4.0 shots per game (fourth nationally). Two City Six players with the same last name (not related) are in the top 10 in three-point field-goal percentage - La Salle's Ramon Galloway (47.0 percent) and St. Joe's Langston Galloway (45.9).

Temple's Khalif Wyatt is the city leader in steals at 2.2 (27th nationally).

Finding the mark

That Drexel has improved significantly in two key shooting areas probably is helping coach Bruiser Flint sleep better at night.

The Dragons, who take an 11-game winning streak into Wednesday night's game at James Madison, are hitting 37.0 percent of their three-point attempts and 73.7 percent of their free throws.

Last year, Drexel's shooting marks were 31.0 percent from deep and 61.6 percent on freebies.

"We've got better offensive players," Flint said. "Guys have improved - Frantz [Massenat] and Derrick [Thomas] have really improved their shooting.

"We were a notoriously poor foul-shooting team [last season], and we've been able to shoot the ball better from the foul line and the field. I think it makes a big difference."

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