With Villanova coming off a disappointing contest to Creighton on Monday night, they look to play Marquette away from home and play some better basketball. The players even came in for Tuesday's practice more determined, which led Jay Wright to say that they "We stick together, we win together and we lose together."
Now that Wright and the team have some new vision leading up to a huge Big East matchup, we invited Brewtown Andy of Anonymous Eagle, SB Nation's Marquette Blog and community, to share some knowledge about the team, Buzz Williams being more jacked than Jay Wright and who the best dressed coach in the Big East is.
VU Hoops: "With Villanova coming off a 28-point loss to Creighton, do you think they've come with a better game plan for the Eagles?"
Brewtown Andy: Given the drastic differences between how Creighton shoots three pointers (43.7%) and how Marquette shoots three pointers (30.4%), Villanova could probably just use the exact same defensive game plan and it would work out just fine for the Wildcats.
It's possible that VU just got caught flat footed against an opponent that they weren't familiar with in Creighton. The last eight Villanova-Marquette games have been decided by a combined 26 points, so I feel pretty confident in surmising that Jay Wright and Buzz Williams have a solid handle on what the other guy is going to throw at them.
VU Hoops: So who's a better dresser? Buzz Williams or Jay Wright? And then when you answer Jay Wright, is he the best-dressed coach in the Big East?
Brewtown Andy: Jay Wright is clearly the better dresser, but Buzz Williams is the more entertaining dresser. Between his tuxedo & bowtie look on New Year's Eve, his turtleneck and slacks tribute to Rick Majerus (which he kept going while Marquette kept winning), and his yearly tribute to Al McGuire by wearing a suit coat that looks like it was ripped straight off a couch from 1977, it's always interesting to see what Buzz will wear from game to game.
And yes, I'll say that Jay's the best-dressed coach in the Big East. Steve Lavin could probably give him a run for his money if he wasn't focused on looking so casual while dressing well.
VU Hoops: Could you possibly explain this picture and does Buzz lift with the team for recreation or does he have a strict bench press schedule with the cast of Expendables 3?
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Brewtown Andy: No, I can't explain why Duane Wilson (#1) is dressed to play even though he supposed to be redshirting this season.
I can explain why Buzz is doing his postgame chat with the team dressed like this, though. Have you SEEN that guy on the sideline? The last few home games, his suit coat hasn't even made it to tip off before he hands it off to a student manager. Buzz's shirts are usually soaked through on some level after every game, and that's even with the Dri-Fit shirt underneath.
As far as Buzz's physique goes, he's the kind of guy who doesn't want to be making his players do something that he wouldn't do himself, so I'm sure he's got Todd Smith, the strength and conditioning coach, kicking his ass in the Al McGuire Center on a regular basis. I don't think he can fit in time with the Expendables crew, but if he is, I do have a recommendation for him: DO NOT let Ronda Rousey test out armbar techniques on you.
VU Hoops: How do you think Davante Gardner will match up with JayVaughn Pinkston or Daniel Ochefu?
Brewtown Andy: Well, if last year is any example, Gardner's totally boned. Last year against VU, Gardner played a wildly ineffective 11 minutes, scoring 2 points on 1 of 4 shooting.
Now, that was with Gardner subbing in at center. Over the last five games, Gardner has started along side Chris Otule, and the pair have been playing together an awful lot with Gardner taking up the spot at the four. But on Monday night against Georgetown, Buzz Williams deployed Steve Taylor for significant minutes for the first time since early December. That lineup was rather effective, and it featured Gardner back at center, where he's probably best off on the court.
I think Gardner will struggle to chase Pinkston around if he's forced to defend him for stretches. If Marquette gets Gardner into situations where he only has to worry about Ochefu, both on offense and on defense, then Marquette could get a good night out of him. Ochefu's height advantage won't bother Gardner, both because of Ox's agility and because of Ox's weight advantage.
VU Hoops: During a Big East teleconference earlier this week, Buzz said "We'll have to play our best game to even compete." Is there any truth to that quote or will this be a closer game than some may think? Jay went on to say "We have to play a tough, physical Marquette team that's always good at home." so he still thinks it will be a tough contest.
Brewtown Andy: Buzz Williams loves himself some hyperbole. He spent most of last season saying "We're not any good," and that team coasted to an easy win over the ACC regular season and tournament champion in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament.
With that said, there's more truth in that statement than hyperbole. With Marquette's horrible track record at shooting the ball this season, they have to make up for it elsewhere. They have to limit turnovers, grab as many offensive rebounds as possible, and then do the exact opposite to their opponent. A quick glance at the KenPom.com scouting report for Villanova shows me that they're a top 100 team in six of the eight Four Factors categories, and they're #103 in one of those outliers. It's going to be hard to gain an advantage on the Wildcats.
But as I said earlier, these two teams keep playing close games, with only one of the last eight games decided by more than four points. Toss in Marquette's 20 game Big East home winning streak, and it seems that both coaches are right.
VU Hoops: if you could predict, who will have the best game against Villanova on Saturday?
Brewtown Andy: See, now there's the stumper.
I don't think I can predict any Marquette player to have a good game. Not because I think Villanova will shut everyone down, but because this season has been one long ongoing disappointment. No one has been consistent from game to game, starting with Jamil Wilson. He's probably the most frustrating player to put on a Marquette uniform in the 13 seasons that I've had season tickets.
Marquette's most effective scorers are Davante Gardner and Chris Otule, but they rely on teammates passing them the ball in the post. Since Marquette doesn't have any noticeable three point shooting threats, or even passable shooters, it's very easy to double the post without any fear of a quick kick out for an open jumper. So those two guys aren't solid guesses for "best game."
I'll say I want Steve Taylor to have the best game against Villanova. If he can play at all on his 90% leg after logging so many minutes on Monday, then he could be the X factor for the game.