Villanova-DePaul Preview

The Associated Press

Villanova coach Jay Wright had plenty to celebrate after earning career win No. 400 last week.

He would appear to have a good chance to make it 401 against slumping DePaul.

The No. 6 Wildcats look to match their best road start in Big East play when they go for an eighth consecutive win over the Blue Demons on Wednesday night.

Villanova (21-2, 9-1) has won five straight after cruising past Seton Hall 70-53 on Friday. Senior James Bell, averaging 22.4 points during the winning streak, stayed hot with 20 as the Wildcats shot 50.9 percent.

"I just feel very fortunate to be able to coach at Villanova. Whoever coaches at Villanova is going to get a lot of wins," Wright said. "Some of it makes me feel old. I just think about the next game. It's humbling when people talk about it."

Villanova now looks for its momentum to carry over on what Wright expects to be a challenging three-game road swing. However, the Wildcats have won their first five road games in league play for the first time since opening a school-record 6-0 in 2005-06.

They are allowing 71.5 points per game as the visiting team, 9.4 more than their mark at home.

"We probably haven't played as well on the road as we have at home, but we've played well enough," Wright told the team's official website. "That's what it is on the road. You've got to survive. For whatever reason, things go against you on the road and you have to be able to be ready to deal with that. That's what this team has done a good job of."

Villanova visits No. 18 Creighton and Providence after this contest.

"We'll take it one game at a time, but we know it's out there," Wright said. "The only way you can approach that is to get the first one. Whatever happens on the first one, you just learn from it and move on. Going at DePaul - it's just always been a tough place for us to play."

The Wildcats have outscored the Blue Demons by an average of 14.7 points in taking seven straight in the series, including three in a row at Allstate Arena. While Villanova won 94-71 during its most recent visit last February, its previous two wins there both came by two points.

"They've got good athletes, and like most teams, they tend to shoot the ball better at home," Wright said. "We've had some tough games there."

DePaul (10-14, 2-9) has dropped a season-worst six straight, a skid that began with an 88-62 rout at Villanova on Jan. 18. The Blue Demons were outrebounded 37-26 and allowed the Wildcats to shoot 55.4 percent.

DePaul is coming off Friday's 78-66 loss at Creighton. Brandon Young had 16 points while shooting 5 of 17 and Forrest Robinson was the only other Blue Demon in double figures with 11.

"Our guys fought hard but we cannot be satisfied to fight hard and not come up with the victory," coach Oliver Purnell said. "Hopefully, we can take some lessons from this game as we play Villanova at home and come back and fight hard and make a few winning plays and get the job done."

DePaul has been outscored by an average of 16.2 points during a 46-game losing streak against Top 25 foes since beating No. 17 Villanova 84-76 on Jan. 3, 2008.

Blue Demons leading scorer Cleveland Melvin (16.7 points per game) is no longer enrolled in school or part of the basketball program. Melvin, who was suspended last month for violating team rules, has missed the last four games.

What to Read Next