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Delaware looks to upset Villanova in a Mid-Atlantic NCAA Tournament showdown

The Blue Hens and Wildcats tip-off Friday afternoon at 2:45 p.m. EST

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 08 Colonial Tournament - Delaware v UNC Wilmington
Delaware defeated UNC Wilmington in the CAA championship game to punch its ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Where to Watch

Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh

Tip Time: 2:45 p.m. EST

Television/Streaming: CBS/March Madness Live

DraftKings Betting Line: Villanova -15.5, O/U 133.5

Any time that you have a rivalry in the NCAA Tournament, you’re due for some fun basketball. Villanova fans may say that it’s not a rivalry, but Delaware fans certainly would.

These schools which are only separated by 45 miles. When they square off in football, the winner is awarded a trophy in the Battle of the Blue. If you have ties to one school, you probably have ties to the other.

The connections start on the court for Delaware as big man Dylan Painter transferred from Villanova and has spent the last three seasons in Newark. At Delaware, he ranks fourth all-time in field goal percentage, scoring 11.9 points per game this season while leading all Blue Hens with 6.6 rebounds per game.

Delaware finished fourth in the CAA in the regular season. After being picked first in the CAA preseason poll, the Blue Hens didn’t live up to expectations and lost their last three games of the year.

Head coach Martin Ingelsby wasn’t feeling too hot after its season-ending loss to Towson, asking his wife if they could soak their sorrows in wine. She thought differently.

“I texted my wife Colleen, ‘We’re going to be back around 9:30. Let’s get a bottle of wine and drink our sorrows away,’” said Ingelsby. “She texted me right back and said, ‘Nope, you’re going to come home and figure this s*** out,’ and I needed to hear that.”

They got their s*** together and won three straight en route to the Blue Hens’ first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014. A lot of it was due to the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and CAA Freshman of the Year Jyare Davis.

Davis is a sharpshooter. He finished the regular season shooting 60% from the field and scoring double digits in his final 13 games. In the quarterfinals, he picked up his second collegiate double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

His battery mate is royalty in the city of Philadelphia, Jameer Nelson Jr. Yes, the son of that Jameer Nelson.

After transferring over from George Washington, Nelson Jr. has become the team’s leader. Not only does he play the second-most minutes on the team, but he averages a team-leading 13.7 points per game.

Those two might be the stars, but don’t forget Ryan Allen and Kevin Anderson, both who have been at Delaware for a long time and are once again averaging double-digit points.

The Blue Hens have more than just shooters though as Andrew Carr showed that in both the semifinals and finals of the CAA Tournament. He picked up 23 rebounds in those two games and although he may be another great offensive player, he is there to clean up the boards too.

Carr is one of a couple of Blue Hens with Philly ties, which includes Ingelsby, who grew up a Wildcat fan. There should be a little brother hoping to beat up on the big brother feeling at PPG Paints Arena on Friday afternoon.


Jay Wright is a machine in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and has won his last seven matchups. The thing about Villanova is that its every team’s biggest game, so this should be nothing new for them. I think they roll through the Blue Hens, winning yet another first-round game, this time by a score of 80-56.