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Tonight: 'Nova vs. Temple

One of the best college basketball games in the country tonight is in our backyard.

No. 8 Villanova plays host to No. 25 Temple at the Pavilion on Villanova's campus. This is a stern test for both teams before they head into conference play next week -- Villanova opening Big East play Sunday at home vs. Rutgers, and the Owls opening Atlantic 10 play on Wednesday vs. Fordham at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.

"Their guard play has been extraordinary over the years," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said about Villanova. "This is really no exception . . . And I think their bigs are playing better."

Villanova coach Jay Wright said this about the game in today's Daily News: "We're similar to them," Wright said. "I think we're starting to get a feel for who we are and how we want to use people. I think they might be a little bit ahead of us right now, but we're both at about the same point."

Here is a look at tonight's game:

Who: No. 25 Temple (9-2)  at No. 8 Villanova (10-1)

When: 7 o'clock

Where: The Pavilion


Radio: WPHT (1210-AM), ESPN (950-AM)

Notes: Villanova is looking to sweep City Series. Temple is looking for second win over a top-10 opponent in December, after knocking off Georgetown on Dec. 9. Villanova leads the series, 43-41, and leads on its campus, 8-6. The Wildcats have won five straight over the Owls at the Pavilion. Temple's last win at the Pavilion was on Nov. 29, 1990 (70-57). Both teams have scoring balance. Villanova has four players averaging in double figures and Temple has four averaging more than 8.5 points.

Last year: Temple won, 75-65, at the Liacouras Center.