College Basketball Game of the Week: No. 14 Villanova vs. No. 10 Marquette
The Villanova Wildcats and Marquette Golden Eagles will meet on Saturday in a huge Big East matchup. Villanova comes in on top of the Big East after an impressive stretch of eleven straight wins. Marquette sits one spot behind them in the conference standings after a tough loss to St. John’s on Tuesday. Both of Marquette’s conference losses came on behalf of the Red Storm.
One of the storylines created this season by Marquette is the play of Markus Howard. Howard has been the backbone of the Golden Eagles all season and is one of the best scorers in the country. He averages 24.6 points per game, ranking fifth in the country and first in the Big East. He has scored 45 points or more on three occasions and is looking to bounce back after scoring 17 points in Marquette’s last matchup against St. John’s.
As for the Villanova Wildcats, they come into the game red hot. They set a school record by winning 10 consecutive conference games to open the season and are undefeated in Big East play. A win against Marquette would put the Wildcats in great position for the regular season Big East title as they would be three games ahead of Marquette. It is essentially a two-team race for the regular season conference title so this matchup will have large implications. Villanova is looking to continue to make history by winning 12 consecutive conference games which is another school-record.
It will not be easy though. Marquette is surely one of the best home teams in the country, going 14-1 this year at its new arena, the Fiserv Forum. Their only loss at home once again came from the Red Storm. Star St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds acknowledged the disruption the Forum could cause after the game.
“It was getting pretty loud in there when they were making their run. I was just trying to slow the game down,” Ponds said.
The forum was built with the intent to intimidate and it seems to be working. Villanova will have to work for a win as they enter the rowdy environment.
A key to this game for Marquette should be the Hauser brothers. Sam Hauser and his freshman brother Joey are some of the top 3-point shooters for the Golden Eagles. Joey is shooting 47 percent from 3-point rage while Sam is shooting 40 percent. Aside from Markus Howard, these two have the potential to make an impact against Villanova.
A minor problem for the Wildcats this season has been their shooting woes at times. Even though they experience bad shooting in certain games, they are still able to pick up wins. They shot under 40 percent from the field against Creighton, but still earned a victory in overtime. However, it will be tough to do that against a skilled and ranked Marquette team. The Golden Eagle’s defense is also significantly better than last year, which could create problems for Villanova as they try to create space for high quality shots.
This Saturday should bring a great conference game between two ranked teams. It may be the only ranked Big East matchup we see all year.
Villanova will continue it’s quest for school history while Marquette looks to avoid consecutive losses.
Joseph Muscente is freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.