Villanova (26-9) vs. Purdue (24-9)

When: Saturday, 8:40 p.m. (approximate)

Where: XL Center, Hartford, Conn.

TV/Radio: TNT, WTEL-AM (610)

Line: Purdue by 4

Seed: Villanova No. 6 in South Region, Purdue No. 3

How they got here: Villanova, Big East Tournament champion, defeated St. Mary’s, 61-57, in first round; Purdue, at-large selection, defeated Old Dominion, 61-48, in first round.

Coaches (NCAA record): Villanova, Jay Wright (28-13); Purdue, Matt Painter (13-11).

Head-to-head: Villanova leads, 2-0, won last meeting, 79-76, on Nov. 14, 2016 at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.

What to look for

The Scorers

Seniors Phil Booth and Eric Paschall combined to score 34 points, or more than half of Villanova’s output, in its win over St. Mary’s. Jermaine Samuels added 12 points, including a nifty left-handed second-chance layup after his three-point shot was blocked. Freshman Saddiq Bey added a pair of three-pointers, his only points of the game. … The Boilermakers lean on junior guard Carsen Edwards, whose 26 points against Old Dominion marked his 24th game of 20 or more points this season, and boosted his average to 23.1 points. While he hits 3.36 three-point baskets per game, he shoots just 33.5 percent from beyond the arc. Purdue’s No. 2 scorer, senior guard Ryan Cline (11.7 ppg.), shot just 1 of 11 from three-point range on Thursday night.

The Defenders

After doing his part to shut down St. Mary’s 6-foot-10 tandem of Jordan Hunter and Matthias Tass, Paschall could see his share of time guarding the 6-1 Edwards. The 6-foot-8 senior defended some of the Big East’s best guards during the season, such as Seton Hall’s Myles Powell, Butler’s Kamar Baldwin, and Providence’s Alpha Diallo. ... Purdue forces almost 13 turnovers per game, and Edwards and guard Nojel Eastern each average more than one steal. The Boilermakers have 7-3 center Matt Haarms to protect the rim; he blocks a little more than two shots per game and is the No. 2 rebounder on a team that boasts a plus-5.3 rebound margin.


St. Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said it best after the game when pointing out Villanova’s experience: “They played six games in the NCAA Tournament last year. They know what the tournament is like, knowing what it feels like to play under a one-and-done pressure situation.” Wright reiterated how proud he is of his team’s ability to grind it out in close games. … Purdue lost four seniors from last year’s team but still finished tied for first in the rugged Big Ten. However, with a 2-2 mark in their last four games, the Boilermakers need to find their groove again.

Don’t be surprised if ...

The Wildcats send all five of their players to the boards to try to neutralize Purdue’s effectiveness at offensive rebounding. The Boilermakers average 12.2 offensive rebounds per game, and Villanova allowed 10 rebounds to St. Mary’s at the Gaels’ offensive end.