MORGANTOWN — West Virginia will be trying to snap Villanova’s six-game winning streak when they clash in a Big East game at tonight (9 p.m.) at the Coliseum.

The No. 13 Wildcats (20-4, 8-3) are on a high-scoring binge, averaging 98.3 points in their last three games against Providence, Syracuse and Marquette. But neither coach is expecting a shootout of such magnitude.

“I don’t really look at it that way,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said Thursday. “But if we could score 100 points on them, I’d be happy because we have great respect for their defense. I really don’t foresee that and certainly don’t expect that.”

WVU coach Bob Huggins said, “If somebody scores 100 points, it won’t be us. I certainly hope the game doesn’t end up like that. If it does, it won’t be good for us. We can’t score that many points.”

A sellout crowd of 14,000 is assured for the later-than-usual tip-off for a conference contest that’s vitally important to both teams at this stage of the season. ESPN will televise the action, with Clarksburg native Mike Patrick and retired coach Bob Wenzel announcing.

This is the 38th meeting between the two schools in a series Villanova leads 20-17. West Virginia (16-8, 5-6) has won three of the last four encounters and four of the last six. The Wildcats won last year’s contest at home 78-56.

WVU is 11-3 against Villanova all-time in Morgantown, including 8-3 in the Coliseum.

“We’ve been playing good basketball,” Wright said. “We’ve really been scoring and making shots. That kind of gets everything going. Our players are rebounding and making shots. We’ve been very fortunate.

“Now we’re going to West Virginia, which is one of the toughest places in America to play. It’s a team that plays great defense and scores a lot from the perimeter. So it should be a classic Big East battle.”

Wright said his talented offensive players are starting to understand how to play defense and they like it. As a result, the Wildcats are proving successful in low-scoring as well as high-scoring contests.

“I think they’re one of the elite teams in this league,” Huggins said of the Wildcats. “They’ve got great team speed. They are terrific in transition.”

He said Dante Cunningham, 6-8 senior forward, is an outstanding player. He leads Villanova in both scoring (17.0) and rebounding (7.2).

“He runs so well and plays so hard,” Huggins said. “He drives people up to the basket, and that kind of opens up things along the line for them. And they have two guards that are probably as good as any that can push the ball.

“They can do so much with ball screening in transition. They’ve got great versatility. They play so much bigger than what they are.”

Alex Ruoff, 6-foot-6 senior guard and WVU’s second-leading scorer at 16.3, thinks his team’s defense will hold Villanova to lower scoring.

“Hopefully, we can keep it somewhere in the 60s or 70s,” he said before Thursday’s practice.

Ruoff has 235 3-point goals and 376 assists in his career.

Junior forward Da’Sean Butler, who fouled out along with Ruoff in the 70-59 loss at Pitt on Monday night, also hopes this won’t be a high-scoring affair because of WVU’s defense. As for fouling excessively, he said he just tries to play smart and hard.

He’s averaging a team-best 17.3 points per game and rebounding t a 6.0 clip. Freshman Devin Ebanks is the Mountaineers’ leading rebounder with 6.5 per game to go with an 8.8 scoring gait.

Another rookie, Darryl “Truck” Bryant (10.0, 1.7), will be tested by Villanova’s talented, experienced guards.

Besides Cunningham, Wright probably will go with a starting cast of junior guard Scottie Reynolds (15.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg), 6-7 forward Shane Clark (5.0, 3.9), 6-6 senior forward Dwayne Anderson (7.5, 5.6), and junior guard Reggie Redding (7.0, 5.0).

West Virginia will remain at home for a league game against Notre Dame next Wednesday night. Villanova’s next game is with Rutgers at home next Thursday night.

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