- Big East’s top two teams collide as Villanova visits Marquette
- Wildcats riding season-best 11-game winning streak
- Golden Eagles trying to break three-game skid to Villanova
A disappointing Marquette loss to St. Johns ensured this wouldn’t be a battle for first place, but it’s still a prime-time showdown in the Big East, as the 14th-ranked Villanova Wildcats (19-4, 10-0 Big East) visit the 10th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles (19-4, 8-2 ) Saturday night.
Villanova, who enters the game playing their best basketball of the season, is looking for their third national championship in four seasons, which would be a dynastic run in college hoops.
Meanwhile, Marquette is enjoying its best season under head coach Steve Wojciechowski, and are looking to make their own mark come tourney time, preferably as a #1 or #2 seed.
Tip off is 2:30pm ET at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Villanova vs Marquette Odds
|Team||Spread at BetOnline||Moneyline||Over/Under|
|Villanova||+1.5 (-110)||OFF||O 144.0 (-110)|
|Marquette||-1.5 (-110)||OFF||U 144.0 (-110)|
*Odds taken 2/8
Since an early 2-2 start to the season – including an overtime defeat to unheralded Furman – Jay Wright’s crew has righted the ship.
They’ve reeled off 11 straight and 17 of 19 overall, and are a sparkling 10-0 in Big East play thus far in the season.
A win over Marquette would put them three games up with just eight games to go in conference play.
In their latest win over Creighton, a fresh face put in work to keep the Wildcats undefeated in the Big East.
— #BIGEASThoops (@BIGEASTMBB) February 7, 2019
Without a 20-point scorer in their lineup, Villanova has been powered by seniors Phil Booth (18.3 points, 39.9% from three) and Eric Paschall (17.3 points, 6.3 reb, 36.4% from three) as well as sophomore Collin Gillespie (12.1 points, 41.1% from three).
Phil Booth is 3-3 from 3pt 🔥 pic.twitter.com/bnftyvufE5
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) January 5, 2019
The upperclassmen have lifted the Wildcats to the top of the conference in effective field goal percentage, and their standout shooting puts them fifth in the nation in three-point makes per game, knocking down 11 a contest.
Villanova vs Marquette Statistical Comparison
|19-4 (5-2 Away)||Record||19-4 (14-1 Home)|
|10-0 (1st Big East)||Conference Record (Standing)||8-2 (2nd Big East)|
|+20.16 (20th)||Overall Efficiency Rating||+17.85 (29th)|
|76.3 (T-99)||Points Per Game||79.0 (T-52)|
|118.5 (11th)||Offensive Efficiency Rating||112.9 (29th)|
|66.6 (56th)||Points Against Per Game||69.0 (123rd)|
|98.3 (80th)||Defensive Efficiency Rating||95.0 (39th)|
Golden Eagles Outlook
Thank goodness the Golden Eagles don’t have to face St. Johns again.
The Red Storm swept their conference series this year (half of their loss total this season), including eking out a 70-69 win last time out.
— St. John's BBall (@StJohnsBBall) February 6, 2019
While it ensured that ‘Nova will hang on to the Big East lead even if they lose, this game still has much on the line for Marquette.
They have dropped 12 out of their last 13 games to their conference counterpart, the lone win in 2017 when the Wildcats were the no. 1-ranked team in the nation.
This is easily their best team since.
In many ways, Marquette & Villanova mirror each other. Both have lead duos in Howard/Hauser and Booth/Paschall, but whose supporting cast shows up could be the diff. Really think this comes down to which team can cause problems defensively and get the ball to stick. #BIGEASThoops
— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) February 8, 2019
Marquette gets after it on the defensive side of the ball, ranking 39th in the country in defensive efficiency. This will mark just the sixth time the ‘Cats will stare down a top-50 defense, and they’ve been underwhelming in their previous five, going 2-3.
Where much will be determined is how Villanova shoots it from deep, and how Marquette defends the arc.
The Golden Eagles will be facing a team that takes 53% of their shots from deep, the second-highest mark in college basketball.
Marquette junior Markus Howard dropped FIFTY-THREE points on Creighton.pic.twitter.com/zzkBxj7qGq
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) January 10, 2019
On offense, they rely on junior Markus Howard, the fifth leading scorer in the nation at 24.6 points per game, shooting it at a blistering 43.6% from behind the arc.
He’ll be looking to bounce back, as he shot just 5-for-17 for 17 points in the loss to St. John’s.
This is going to be a close one, and it’s too close to call the over/under. Instead, I’ll lean into Villanova’s ability to win big games, and continue their dominance over their Big East rival.
The Pick: Villanova (+1.5)
|Villanova Trends||Marquette Trends|
|VILL is 15-8-0 ATS overall||MARQ is 15-8-0 ATS overall|
|VILL is 5-2-0 ATS away||MARQ is 11-4-0 ATS at home|
|VILL is 2-2 ATS as an underdog||MARQ is 8-10 ATS as a favorite|
|VILL is 7-3-0 ATS in Big East games||MARQ is 7-3-0 ATS in Big East games|
|VILL is 12-6-0 ATS following a win||MARQ is 1-2-0 ATS following a loss|
|The UNDER is 6-14-2 in all VILL games||The OVER is 8-12-2 in all MARQ games|