Updated Saturday 11 AM with Comments from Marquette's Cracked Sidewalks.
#8 Villanova (11-1) vs. Marquette (9-4), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2: A few days ago, Marquette traveled to Morgantown and nearly knocked off #6 West Virginia. The Cats will need to bring their A-game to Milwaukee if they plan to begin their Big East campaign with a win over the Eagles. Let’s hope the long Christmas layoff doesn’t lead to a repeat of the slow start that plagued the Cats in conference play a year ago, when the Cats opened with a New Year’s Day loss at Marquette. The Wildcats haven’t played since their 34 point blowout win over Delaware on December 23.
The Cats have plenty of offense, but defense remains a significant concern for Coach Wright. The return of Reggie helps, but lapses on defense, particularly from beyond the arc, have allowed over-matched opponents to stay in games in the early part of the season. Marquette is a good 3-point shooting team (43%), and will likely look to exploit Villanova’s perimeter defensive lapses. However, 3-point shooting is not a dominant part of Marquette’s offense (they attempt only 17 three-point shot attempts per game, ranking them only 163 nationally in that category).