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Rider-Villanova Preview

AP - Sports

While Villanova is on the verge of its best start in more than five decades, the unbeaten Wildcats hardly seem content.

With a matchup against a top 5 opponent looming, No. 8 Villanova tries to continue its domination against visiting Rider on Saturday.

The Wildcats (10-0) have looked every bit like one of college basketball's best teams, posting 82.0 points per game to rank second in the Big East. Villanova, which has outscored unranked opponents by an average of 21.7 points, also posted narrow wins over then-No. 2 Kansas and then-No. 23 Iowa in the Bahamas.

"It's good to be 10-0, I guess," junior Darrun Hilliard said. "But we've got a whole lot of work to do."

Before looking ahead to next Saturday's visit to second-ranked Syracuse, the Wildcats seek to win their first 11 games for the first time since opening 12-0 in 1961-62. Villanova opened a school-record 13-0 in 1937-38.

"You can start this way, and if you don't keep getting better, you can slip," coach Jay Wright said. "And if you slip, you don't necessarily get it back."

The Wildcats are coming off another lopsided victory, 73-52 over La Salle on Sunday. Hilliard scored a season-high 21 points while Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart combined for 24 off the bench.

Villanova held the Explorers to 38.8 percent shooting, including 1 of 13 from 3-point range. The Wildcats beat Penn 77-54 and Saint Joseph's 98-68 in their previous two games.

"You really don't expect this," Wright said of his team's Big 5 dominance. "Sometimes our guys not being familiar with all the history is a good thing. Usually it bites us in the butt. Our guys look at La Salle as a team that went to the Sweet 16 last year, and they're just their next game."

Villanova now turns its attention to the Broncs, who are 1-23 in the all-time series dating to 1937-38. Rider's lone win against the Wildcats came 42-27 in 1944.

Villanova took the last matchup 108-61 on Dec. 20, 2006.

Rider (5-4) is riding a three-game winning streak after beating Wagner 79-58 last Saturday. Sophomore Zedric Sadler led the way with 20 points and senior Daniel Stewart added 17.

"Danny and Zed played really well and did some really good things," coach Kevin Baggett told the school's official website. "They are our leaders."

The Broncs shot 53.2 percent and held the Seahawks to an opponent season-low 32.8 percent.

"Making shots translates to our defense," Sadler said. "When we're clicking offensively we're a real good defensive team. We're hard to score against."

Senior Anthony Myles, averaging a team-leading 18.7 points, was held to a season-low eight and committed a career-worst eight turnovers. Taking better care of the basketball could prove difficult against the pesky Wildcats, who are forcing 16.7 turnovers per game to rank in the top 10 among the major conferences.

Rider hasn't faced a ranked team since getting blown out 90-69 by then-No. 12 Florida on Dec. 9, 2011. The Broncs have dropped four straight against Top 25 foes by an average of 19.3 points.

The Wildcats have won 48 of 50 home games against non-conference opponents.

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