Villanova coach Jay Wright claims his team doesn’t "own" Philadelphia after wrapping up the Big 5 title over the weekend.
Now his Wildcats will play to remain in ownership of the Big East lead.
First place in the conference is on the line Monday night when No. 4 Villanova tries to snap Georgetown’s five-game home win streak and post a fifth straight victory.
Villanova (17-1, 4-1) cruised past Penn 62-47 on Saturday to complete a four-game sweep of Philadelphia’s city series in which it captured every game by double digits.
"I definitely don’t think we own the city," Wright said. "I know we don’t own the city."
He’ll next focus on ensuring his team leaves the nation’s capital with the Big East lead. Georgetown (12-5, 4-2), DePaul and Providence are all one-half game back, though those other teams do not play Monday.
Daniel Ochefu could be poised to notch his sixth double-double after he had a career-high 21 points and 10 rebounds Saturday. He scored 15 after halftime.
"We started trying to run some sets to get the ball inside to Daniel in the second half," Wright told the school’s official website. "We were trying in the first half but just weren’t getting it inside."
One concern for Wright is that leading scorer Darrun Hilliard has gone 5 of 19 from the floor for 18 points in his last two games. He averages a team-best 13.0 as one of five Wildcats in double digits.
Hilliard totaled 28 points, JayVaughn Pinkston had 25 and Ochefu added 17 as Villanova swept both 2013-14 meetings with Georgetown.
Hoyas star D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera is averaging 12.0 points on 37.1 percent shooting in three career games against the Wildcats – all defeats.
Georgetown won 61-59 at home over Butler on Saturday. Isaac Copeland made a 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds left and Smith-Rivera, who scored 14 points, came up with a block on the other end as time ran out.
One feature of this rivalry is that the proximity of the schools makes them popular destinations for players from both the Philadelphia and Washington regions.
Villanova features three players from Maryland in its rotation in Ochefu and reserves Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins, while Georgetown starting shooting guard Jabril Trawick is a Philadelphia native.
"We have to play tough because we know that they’re going to be aggressive and coming right at us so we just have to be ready to play Georgetown basketball and grind it out," Trawick said.
It should be a physical affair since the Hoyas lead the Big East with an average of 23.3 foul shots with the Wildcats third at 23.1.
"If you look at our league every game is tough," coach John Thompson said. "The difference between the top and the bottom is minuscule. We have once again on Monday a very good team coming in here and we need to be ready to play."