Villanova will look to regroup after falling to Xavier Wednesday night. The `Cats hold just a half game lead over the Musketeers for the Regular Season Championship, so while the Wildcats control their destiny, their room for error is ever so small.
Marquette is in a race of its own. They are currently in a four-way tie for 5th place in the Big East, and only a game out of 4th place. Two other teams in that tie-Butler and Georgetown- face each other tomorrow afternoon as well, so Marquette will need a win to stay with the rest of the pack.
Here are three things to watch for:
1. Stay out of foul trouble
Three Wildcats fouled out of Wednesday night's loss, no bigger than their leading scorer Kris Jenkins with about a quarter of the game left to play. Once Kris committed his fourth foul- which happened immediately after coming back into play- Xavier was able to run away with the game.
We know Daniel Ochefu is capable of of getting into trouble early, but it's a must that be stays in to keep Henry Ellenson under control.
2. Keep calm & stay focused
There were a few instances in the last game where the a stupid foul was committed or a Wildcat would throw the ball away or make a sloppy/lazy pass. This is something we haven't seen from this team this year, but it was apparent that frustration had set in.
Marquette has won three of its last four, so they are coming back home in front of a fired-up crowd. The Cintas Center was popping a few days back, and the BMO Harris Bradley Center will have the same energy. The Wildcats can't afford to make the same mistakes.
3. Disrupt the Marquette flow, create your own
Ball movement was key for Xavier the other night- they had 24 assists on 30 made field goals. The early fouls hurt `Nova's chances of establishing a presence inside, and Xavier exploited the letdown defense Villanova was forced to play to avoid fouling out (which did not work in the end). Establish tempo early and Villanova can simply maintain a distance from the Golden Eagles for much of the game. In the last meeting, the `Cats needed a big second half to pull out the win.