Thursday , Mar , 09 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Villanova begins quest for Big East Tourney title against Rutgers

(Sports Network) – The second-ranked Villanova Wildcats are seeded second in
this Big East Conference Tournament, and they will battle the Rutgers
Scarlet Knights tonight in the quarterfinal round. Awaiting the winner is a
semifinal-round matchup with either third-seeded West Virginia or sixth-
seeded Pittsburgh. Rutgers earned its spot in tonight’s contest with a 61-48
victory over Seton Hall on Wednesday night in the opening round. The
Scarlet Knights, who have won four of their last five games dating back to
the regular season, are in search of their first-ever championship in this

As for Villanova, it won its only Big East Tournament title back in 1995, and
the program owns a 27-24 all-time record in the event. The Wildcats own
a sensational 24-3 overall record, and their only losses have come to
legitimate Final Four contenders Texas, UConn and West Virginia. They
shared the conference’s regular season title with aforementioned UConn,
the first title for the program since 1997. Villanova recorded a closer-
than-expected 84-78 overtime victory over Rutgers back on January 11th,
and the Wildcats own a 21-7 advantage in the all-time series with the
Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers depends heavily on Quincy Douby to carry the load offensively, and he
finished with 18 points and a season-high seven assists in the win over Seton
Hall last night. Douby only had six points in the first half and didn’t
register his first field goal until there were nearly 17 minutes gone in the
period. Anthony Farmer came through with 14 points for Rutgers, which limited
the Pirates to 25.4 percent shooting from the floor in the contest.

Douby was recently named to the All-Big East First Team, and he has led
the Scarlet Knights in scoring in 29 of the 30 games played. The explosive
guard scored no fewer than 23 points in the final nine regular season
games, and he was averaging a conference-leading 25.1 ppg heading
into this tournament, including 27.0 ppg against league foes. The fact
that no other player on the RU roster is averaging double figures in
scoring only emphasizes Douby’s importance.

Villanova is a unique team in that it starts four guards, and the fact that
the club is outrebounding opponents by an average of 1.6 rpg despite a
relatively small lineup speaks to the skill and heart of its players. Randy
Foye was recently named the Big East Player of the Year, and he leads the
Wildcats with 20.2 ppg. The versatile Foye is second in rebounding with 5.4
rpg and second in assists as well (86). Allan Ray is close behind in the
scoring department with 19.1 ppg, and those two players form one the of
nation’s elite duos.

Mike Nardi and Kyle Lowry are both contributing 11.6 ppg, and Lowry tops the
squad with 105 assists and 64 steals. He is the team’s most tenacious
defender, constantly pressuring opponents into turnovers. Villanova is netting
75.8 ppg while limiting opponents to just 64.0 ppg.