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BIG EAST Leaders Set to Duel Monday Night as Creighton Visits Wildcats

January 20, 2014


VILLANOVA, Pa. - The two teams atop the BIG EAST standings are set to meet on Dr. Martin Luther King Day at the Wells Fargo Center Monday night, when No. 20 Creighton (15-3 overall, 5-1 BIG EAST) visits Villanova (16-1 overall, 5-0 BIG EAST) at 7:00 p.m.

Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery will call the action on the national television broadcast via Fox Sports 1. Ryan Fannon and Whitey Rigsby will be on the radio call on the Villanova network (1210 Radio).

Both teams played Saturday. Villanova downed DePaul 88-62 at the Pavilion while the Bluejays absorbed their first conference loss at Providence, 81-68.

Wildcats head coach Jay Wrightsays the short turnaround is familiar territory for the Wildcats.

"I think the players like that a lot better and are much more comfortable," stated Wright. "The coaches like to have a little more time to prepare but in the end it's really what's best for the players because they get it done. This is normal in the old BIG EAST, Saturday and Monday is a normal thing so it's all good, it's not a concern."

Creighton is led by the nation's only returning first team All-American, senior Doug McDermott (24.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg, .426 accuracy from beyond the 3-point arc). The Bluejays owned a 10-game winning streak prior to Saturday night's loss.

"They're one of those teams that when you watch film you get caught up enjoying watching them play as opposed to how (considering) how you are going to beat them," observed Wright. "They are so enjoyable to watch.

" Last Sunday, when they played Xavier, I was out recruiting and I asked the guys did you see the game? They said yes. I asked `how do you think Creighton beat Xavier?' and they just said `Dougie McBuckets'. They all really respect him and it made me feel good that our players respect him because I think he is a consummate all-around basketball player and I like that our guys like him because it tells me about their intelligence and their basketball IQ."

Sophomore Daniel Ochefuprovided the most notable storyline of the Wildcats' 88-62 win over DePaul, contributing 14 points (6-of-6 from the field), six rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and zero turnovers in 29 minutes of activity.

"It really helps us defensively because we are able to play him and JayVaughn together a lot since they are both scoring," explained Wright. "If we have both of them we are better defensively but sometimes we can only have one of those guys in because we need help offensively. But now playing those two together, we are great defensively and were just as good offensively."

The Wildcats were 3-0 at the Wells Fargo last season, downing a trio of teams ranked in the top five of the Associated Press poll: Louisville, Syracuse and Georgetown.

Villanova University will also help raise awareness of Sanfilippo Syndrome as part of Monday night's game at the Center. The fatal genetic disorder impacts children and Villanova students will wear T-shirts supporting Team Sanfilippo Foundation, a group working to raise funds to fight the disease that includes Villanova alumnus Carl Kapes, who has two boys impacted by the disease.

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