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Villanova - Marquette Preview

VUSports previews tomorrow's match-up between Villanova and Marquette at the Wells Fargo Center ...

#1 AP Villanova tips off against Marquette on Saturday night at 7:30 (TV: FS1, Radio: 610 (WTEL AM) or VUSports Live Chat).  The Cats look to return to their winning ways after having their 20 game win streak broken at Butler earlier this week.

Kenpom predicts an 81-69 win for Villanova with an 86% chance of the Cats grabbing a victory.  ‘Nova leads the all-time series, 19-9 and has won 8 straight games head-to-head.

Marquette is off to a solid start to the season, sitting at 10-4 overall and 1-1 in Big East action.  Though the Golden Eagles are currently ranked #73 in RPI, they are #37 kenpom and predicted to finish 18-12 overall and 9-9 in the Big East.  With decent quality wins at Georgia, on a neutral court against Vanderbilt and at home against Georgetown coupled with no bad losses, Marquette could get into the NCAA Tournament discussion if they can beat a couple of ranked teams in conference play and add a win or two in the BET to their resume.

Marquette has been gelling nicely as a team as the season progresses.  The Golden Eagles combine an efficient offense (ranked 26th nationally by kenpom) with a defense that creates turnovers and rebounds well.  Marquette uses turnovers to create transition scoring opportunities - which in turn helps keep their offensive efficiency numbers on the high end.

Taking a look at the Four Factors for each team:

VUSports (data per Kenpom.com)

a few things stand out:

  • Both teams have high effective FG percentages on offense
  • Both teams take care of the basketball and avoid turnovers - Marquette creates more turnovers
  • Neither team grabs offensive rebounds at a high rate
  • Marquette does not get to the line frequently (but when they do they shoot FTs at 81.4%)

other stats of interest:

  • The Golden Eagles shoot 40.3% from three-point range (13th nationally) but Villanova holds opponents to 27.7% from beyond the arc - something has to give a little
  • On the flip side - VU shoots 37.6% from three and the Marquette defense allows 36.4% shooting from deep (233rd nationally)

Marquette player thumbnails:

JaJuan Johnson (6-5, 205, Sr., 13.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.1 APG,  33.3% 3PFG, 55.9% 2PFG, 82.8% FT, 107.0 ORtg)  Good defensive rebounder and shot-blocker for a 6-5 player.  He is a primary option in their offense but the least efficient of their scorers - he gets a lot of attention from opposing defenses and takes more shots closely guarded and/or in traffic than his teammates.

Luke Fischer, 6-11, 250, Sr., 13.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.1 APG, 64.4% 2PFG, 69.8% FT, 127.1 ORtg)  Efficient shooter and a very solid offensive rebounder.  He is a very good finisher around the rim and offensively sticks to what he does well.  He doesn’t wander out to jack threes or try to do too much dribbling.  He establishes good position down low, moves well without the ball and can score in bunches off dunks and lay-ups when Marquette has good spacing and moves the ball well.  Not a great passer and has a tendency to lose focus at times.

Markus Howard (5-11, 175, Fr., 10.8 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 2.1 APG, 53.7% 3PFG, 43.8% 2PFG, 96.3% FT, 123.5 ORtg)  The freshman is drilling threes at an impressive rate and knocking in his FTs.  Howard has yet to have a bad game shooting the ball from beyond the arc.  He can be turnover prone.  How will the Frosh respond in such a big-time road game?

Haanif Cheatham (6-5, 195, So., 11.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, 33.3% 3PFG, 49.5% 2PFG, 82.2% FT, 113.5 ORtg)  Cheatham is a solid performer across the board.  His shooting is down from the field and from three in comparison to his Frosh season but he is an excellent FT shooter and he has the ability to get to the rim off the bounce.  His most significant improvement from last season is that he has greatly reduced his turnover rate and is making better decisions with the ball.

Sam Hauser (6-6, 225, Fr., 9.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.1 APG, 46.2% 3PFG, 68.4% 2PFG, 75% FT, 131.5 ORtg)  Efficient shooter despite shooting a lot of three-balls.  He is only 2-9 from three-point range in conference play and is shooting 35% from three against the highest quality competition that Marquette has faced.

Katin Reinhardt (6-6, 210, Sr., 9.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.0 APG, 33.3% 3PFG, 32.5% 2PFG, 96.0% FT, 97.2 ORtg)  Takes a lot of shots for being the least efficient offensive player on the team.  The majority of his shots come from three-point range.  Reinhardt is not much of a rebounder but he contributes defensively by creating turnovers.  

Andrew Rousey (5-10, 180, Jr., 8.9 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.6 APG, 40.7% 3PFG, 52.2% 2PFG, 93.3% FT, 123.7 ORtg)  Rousey has been shooting the ball efficiently from all three levels and taking care of the ball.  He has provided high quality minutes at both guard spots - primarily splitting time with Markus Howard at the point.

Duane Wilson (6-2, 185, Jr., 5.7 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 30.8% 3PFG, 61.8% 2PFG, 58.3% FT, 110.8 ORtg)  The Junior is skilled in transition and as a slasher, getting to the cup.  His three-point shooting has been off the mark this season compared to the approximate 35% norm he set over his first two seasons at Marquette.  He is an active defender with good quickness.

Matt Heldt (6-10, 245, So., 1.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 0.2 APG, 58.8% 2PFG, 58.3% FT, 115.7 ORtg)  He has improved in relation to his Frosh season but he is primarily a garbage man offensively and a player tasked with rebounding, defending and setting screens from the 5 spot when Fischer is on the pine.

Injury: Phil Booth is expected to miss the game for Villanova.


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