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Villanova Basketball prepares for first Big East road trip

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Before heading back to class, the Wildcats are hitting the road

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Happy Thursday Nova Nation! Last night Villanova’s next two opponents went head to head in a game that was pretty one sided throughout. Creighton handled Marquette at home with a final score of 92-75. So seeing as Villanova is about to travel to both of these schools, I figured we’d take a minute to re-familiarize ourselves with where they stand so far this season.

Like Villanova, Marquette has only lost to a handful of quality opponents away from home this season. All three of their losses are Quad 1, but they have yet to earn their first Q1 victory. The closest they’ve come is a Q2 Home win over Purdue, and now Villanova will be their next opportunity to gain that all important Q1 win.

As star guard Markus Howard goes, so go the Golden Eagles. Last night Howard was in foul trouble and held to 18 points. That may seem like a lot, but he’s averaging over 26 PPG on the season. Against Creighton, Howard, fellow senior Sacar Anim, and sophomore Brendan Bailey all had 18 points in a losing effort. And that seems to be the blue-print for beating Marquette, make someone other than Howard beat you. Howard is going to score, but if you can keep him under 20 and force others to step up, that’s just not how that team is built.

As for what to expect this weekend, it’s going to be a FAST paced game. Both Villanova and Marquette have been playing at higher tempos this season, and the faster pace seems to be a key for both team’s success. As always, you should also expect it to be raining threes in Milwaukee, as both teams shoot well and often from behind the arc.

As for Creighton, they may have the best back court in the Big East. Maybe even the country. Between Marcus Zegarowski, Ty-Shon Alexander, and Mitch Ballock, they have a trio of guards who are all averaging double digit PPG, and all shooting 39% or better from three. It’s not exactly McBuckets/Wragge level shooting, but it’s pretty darn good.

The Bluejays are also undefeated at home, having only lost at Michigan and on a neutral court to undefeated San Diego State. Again, Villanova should expect a fast paced game in a rare instance where the guard matchups will be a weakness for the Wildcats. It will be interesting to see how Jay Wright approaches this game, and I’d expect the Wildcats to rely heavily on their wings and big men for scoring in this one.

However things shake out, Villanova heads into this road trip tied for first place in the Big East. They’re the defending champions, and we know they defend their home court well. It will be on the road where the conference is won or lost this season, and the Wildcats get their first test on Saturday.

In other “news”, expert picks for Villanova vs Marquette, Jay Wright mourns former NBA Commissioner David Stern, and could Kyle Lowry end up in the Hall of Fame. Enjoy!

Villanova Men’s Basketball

College basketball expert picks: Schedule, predictions | Sports Illustrated
Who will win Kansas vs West Virginia, Louisville vs Florida State, Michigan vs Michigan State and more to ring in 2020? Villanova gets the slight edge over Marquette.

'Nova Holds Off Xavier in Big East Opener | The Villanovan
Collin Gillespie scored 24 points, including 16 in the second half to lead the Wildcats past Xavier, 68-62, in the first game of Big East play. Gillespie also added four

NBA Wildcats

Raptors news: Cavs' Tristan Thompson calls Kyle Lowry a 'Hall of Famer' | Clutch Points
Tristan Thompson showered Kyle Lowry with respect and admiration after the Raptors guard led his team to victory over the Cavs on Tuesday.

Villanova Adjacent

Sixers, Philadelphia Basketball Community Mourns Death Of Former NBA Commissioner David Stern | CBS Philly
Stern died as a result of the brain hemorrhage he suffered approximately three weeks ago. Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright tweeted his condolences for the “visionary leader.”

Star athletes Matt Szczur, Marvin Burroughs fathers to decade's first babies | pressofatlanticcity.com
Two former local athletic standouts and Villanova University quarterbacks — including one who just last month signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies — had the first babies

Villanova Athletics

Villanova duo Lorusso and Graceffo earn preseason Big East honors | Philadelphia Baseball Review
Nick Lorusso will enter his sophomore year at Villanova with some lofty expectations, but that's what happens when you win Big East Rookie of the Year honors while also being named to the 2020 preseason All-Big East Team.

College Basketball

Court Report: Maine travels nearly 11,000 miles -- the longest ever road-game trip -- to lose by 40 | CBSSports.com
No two schools are farther apart than Hawaii and Maine. On Sunday, they met in the middle of the Pacific Ocean