Villanova Wildcats: (5-0)
Head Coach: Jay Wright, 15th Season (354-157 Villanova Record)
The defending 2016 NCAA Tournament champions have started this season 5-0 with wins over Lafayette (88-48), Purdue (79-76), Western Michigan (76-65), Wake Forest (96-77) and UCF (67-57). The Wildcats will host the College of Charleston on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Senior Josh Hart returns this season to lead the team back to the NCAA Finals. Hart is the leading player on the court with 161 minutes. He is averaging 19.2 points a game and 4.8 rebounds a game. Over those five games, Hart has 11 assists and 10 steals. At the line, fellow senior Kris Jenkins is perfect with 11-for-11. He is averaging 12.6 points a game as well as 4.2 rebounds a game. As a team, the Wildcats are 68-for-84 at the line this season; they are averaging 35.0 rebounds a game and 81.2 points a game while allowing just 64.6. The team is also averaging 7.6 steals, 3.2 blocks and 13.0 assists. In the five games this season, Hart has been the leading scorer three times, against Purdue (24), against Wake Forest (30) and against UCF (15). Jenkins is nearing his 1,000 career point, standing at 937.
Next Matchup: Wednesday November 23, at 7:00 p.m. against College of Charleston.
St. Joe’s Hawks: (3-2)
Head Coach: Phil Martelli, 22nd Season (403-273 St. Joe’s Record)
The Hawks are coming off of one of the best seasons in school history. The 28-8 team won its second straight A-10 tournament while also making it to the NCAA second round, helping their coach earn his 400th career win and the Big 5 Coach of the Year honors. This season, the Hawks have three wins, with their first loss coming to Ole Miss, 81-68 on Sunday. The Hawks have defeated Toledo (77-76), Columbia (85-65) and Loyola-Chicago (71-57) this season. The Hawks played NC State on Monday as part of the Paradise Jam tournament and fell by a score of 73-63.
Sophomore Lamarr Kimble has led the way for the Hawks with the most time on the court at 141 minutes, just ahead of junior Shavar Newkirk (136). The duo is averaging 17.8 and 21.5 points per game, respectively. They are both averaging 3.8 rebounds a game and have combined for 30 of the teams 45 assists and six steals. Junior forward James Demery has also seen some success this season, starting just one game thus far. In his only contest, he had eight rebounds and 11 points in the team’s first win against Toledo.
Next Matchup: Wednesday, November 30 at 7:00 p.m. against Temple.
Temple Owls: (2-2)
Head Coach: Fran Dunphy, 11th season (111-55 Temple Record)
The reigning, two-time AAC Coach of the Year Fran Dunphy and his Owls are coming off 23-10 season where they were left out of the NCAA Tournament, but given the No. 1 seed in the NIT tournament. The team went on to earn three wins, against Bucknell, George Washington and Louisiana Tech before falling in the semifinals to Miami. This season, the Owls are 2-2, picking up wins over La Salle (97-92 OT) and Manhattan (88-67), while falling to New Hampshire (57-52) and UMass (70-67). The team will continue in the preseason NIT on Thursday against Florida State and Friday against either West Virgina or Illinois.
Red-shirt senior Daniel Dingle, Sophomore Shizz Alston Jr. and Junior Obi Enechionyia are leading the team with 149, 140 and 134 minutes on the court, respectively. Dingle is averaging 15.3 points per game and 4.5 rebounds a game. Dingle has earned 14 assists, five blocks and five steals. Dingle is the team’s best free throw shooter at .778 (14-for-18). Alston is averaging 11.8 ppg and 4 rebounds a game. He leads the team in assists with 21 and steals with 12. He also has three blocks for the team. Enechionyia is the team’s best shooter, averaging 20.8 points per game to go along with a .508 shooting percentage on the floor. Enechionyia has added seven blocks this season, which leads the squad. As a team, the Owls are averaging 76 points per game compared to their opponents’ 71.5. The team is also out-assisting (15.5), out-stealing (7.5) and out-blocking (6.8) their opponents. Like their opponents, Temple is averaging 38.8 blocks per game.
Next Matchup: Thursday, November 24 at 12:30 p.m. against Florida State.
Drexel Dragons: (2-2)
Head Coach: Zach Spiker, 1st season (0-0 Drexel Record)
Drexel is entering a new era as the Dragons are under the leadership of Zach Spiker, who was named the 26th head coach of the Dragons in March of 2016. Spiker comes to the Dragons from Army West Point where he spent seven seasons as the head coach and won 102 games. In his final season with the Black Knights, Army went 19-14 and eared its first postseason appearance since 1978.
Last season, the Dragons finished 6-25 and ninth in the CAA. In the CAA tournament, Drexel went 1-1, defeating Elon 57-56 before falling to Hofstra 80-67. This season has proved to be a little more bright for the Dragons, as the team stands at 2-2. The team lost its first two games to Monmouth (78-65) and Rutgers (87-66). The team rebounded by defeating Hartford (87-73) and North Texas (83-62). Junior Sammy Mojica has been leading the way for the Dragons, posting 10.8 points per game and 7.3 rebounds a game, tied for the team’s best. Mojica has nine assists and and two steals. Also contributing to the success of the team is senior Rodney Williams, freshman Kurk Lee and freshman Kari Jonsson. Williams leads the team in scoring with 18.5 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game while being one of three Dragons players with nine assists. Williams leads the team in blocks with eight. Lee is posting 16.8 ppg and leads the team in assists with 16 and steals with seven. Jonsson is averaging 11.3 ppg while adding nine assists and six steals.
As a team, the Dragons are just out-scoring their opponents on average of 75.2 points per game while also out-assisting (13.8), out-stealing (6.8) and turning the ball over significantly less, averaging 14.8 a game. The Dragons opponents are out-rebounding (40.0 compared to 37.2) and out-blocking (3.5 compared to 3.3).
Next Matchup: Wednesday, November 23 at 7:00 p.m. against Niagara.
Penn Quakers: (1-1)
Head Coach: Steve Donahue, 2nd season, (11-17 Penn Record)
Seven Donahue is entering his second season with the Quakers in his second stint with the team. Donahue served as an assistant under then-coach Fran Dunphy from 1990-91 through the 1999-2000 season. During that time, Penn won six Ivy league titles and compiled a 182-91 record. The team is coming off a rough patch last season, where the Quakers didn’t qualify for the playoffs and were outscored by an average of 3.8 points per game.
The dynamic duo of freshman AJ Brodeur and senior Matt Howard mixed in with junior Tyler Hamilton have been the secret to the Quakers success this season. Brodeur is leading the team, averaging 19.5 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game. He also leads the team in blocks with four. Howard is second on the team in scoring with 11 per game and second in blocks with seven, while leading the team in steals with four. Foreman is only averaging 3.5 points per game but leads the team in assists with seven.
As a team, the Quakers are outscoring opponents by 2.5 points per game while leading in assists per game (12.5), steals per game (9) and blocks per game (4). The Quakers are also turning the ball over more (12.5 compared to opponents 10).
Next matchup: Tuesday, November 22 at 7:00 p.m. against C. Connecticut State
La Salle Explorers: (1-2)
Head Coach: Dr. John Giannini, 13th season, (184-192 La Salle Record)
The Explorers are coming off a tough 9-22 season where the team was out matched in points per game (73.5 to 64.1), rebounds per game (37.8 to 30.9), assists per game (15 to 12) and blocks per game (3.9 to 3). The only two categories that the Explorers did better than their opponent were steals per game (7.0 to 5.8) and allowing fewer turnovers (12.8 to 13). Red-shirt senior Jordan Price was the team’s leading scorer last season with 19.2 per game and the teams second-leading rebounder at 5.5 per game.
It helps the Explorers that red-shirt junior Tony Washington, who led the team in rebounds per game (7.4), and blocks (44), and red-shirt junior Amar Stukes, who led the team in assists (100), also return.
The Explorers picked up its lone win in the second game of the season against Delaware 74-68. The Explorers dropped two tough games, one to Temple in overtime 97-92 and the other to Texas S0uthern 77-76.
Thus far, red-shirt junior BJ Johnson is leading the team in points at 18.7 per game. Price is second on the team in scoring with 15 a game. Both Price and Johnson lead the team in blocks with three. Stukes is leading the team in steals with seven and is second on the team in assists with 11. Red-shirt sophomore Pookie Powell is bursting onto the scene this season, posting 15 assists and 13 points per game this season, while also leading the team in rebounds at 6.3 per game.
Next Matchup: Sunday, November 27th at 4:00 p.m. against Drexel.