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Preview: Villanova at Marquette

VUSports previews Tuesday night's Big East action - featuring Marquette hosting #1 ranked, Villanova ...

#1 AP Villanova tips off against Marquette on Tuesday night at 8:00 (TV: FS1, Radio: 610 (WTEL AM) or VUSports Live Chat).  The Cats beat the Golden Eagles at the Wells Fargo Center and now head to the Bradley Center to attempt to close out a regular season, series sweep.

Kenpom predicts an 80-76 win for Villanova with a 66% chance of the Cats emerging victorious.  ‘Nova leads the all-time series, 20-9 and has won 9 straight games head-to-head.

Marquette is looking to add a huge win to their NCAA Tournament resume.  The Golden Eagles are 13-6 overall and 4-3 in Big East games.  Marquette is currently ranked #54 in RPI and #32 kenpom and predicted to finish 20-10 overall and 11-7 in the Big East.  They have quality wins at Georgia, on a neutral court against Vanderbilt, home against Seton Hall, and, most recently, at Creighton, coupled with no bad losses.

As the season has progressed, Marquette has continued to develop into a highly efficient offense (ranked 7th nationally by kenpom).  The Golden Eagles combine a sharp-shooting offense with a defense that can create turnovers and rebound well but grades out as average from a statistical standpoint.  

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 (Top 5 nationally)

Both teams take care of the basketball and avoid turnovers

Neither team grabs offensive rebounds at a high rate

The Marquette defense is below average in FG defense

Villanova is ranked first in the country at not fouling

other stats of interest:

Both teams are very good FT shooting teams (Top 5 nationally)

The Golden Eagles shoot 41.7% from three-point range (3rd nationally) but Villanova holds opponents to 29.5% from beyond the arc

On the flip side - VU shoots 38.9% from three and the Marquette defense allows 38.6% shooting from deep (228rd nationally)

Marquette player thumbnails:

JaJuan Johnson (6-5, 205, Sr., 26.1 MPG, 13.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.8 APG,  34.0.% 3PFG, 48.5% FG, 83.0% FT, 104.8 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., 25.4 MPG, 11.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.2 APG, 64.3% FG, 66.7% FT, 127.3 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., 21.8 MPG, 12.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 50.6% 3PFG, 51.7% FG, 94.9% FT, 124.7 ORtg)  The freshman is drilling threes at an impressive rate and knocking in his FTs.  Howard cam score in bunches and do so from all three levels.  He has been improving in terms of A/TO ratio as he develops through his Frosh season.

Haanif Cheatham (6-5, 195, So., 30.1 MPG, 11.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.2 APG, 31.3% 3PFG, 45.4% FG, 78.1% FT, 112.5 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 a very good 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., 25.2 MPG, 9.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 0.9 APG, 47.6% 3PFG, 50.4% FG, 77.3% FT, 134.0 ORtg)  Efficient shooter despite shooting a lot of three-balls.  His offensive efficiency for a frosh is superb.  He doesn’t turn the ball over much and he cans threes like crazy - that certainly helps his rating.  He is chipping in on the defensive boards too.

Katin Reinhardt (6-6, 210, Sr., 25.2 MPG, 11.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 36.7% 3PFG, 39.2% FG, 91.7% FT, 110.1 ORtg)  Reinhardt is hitting his three-pointers and his FTs.  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., 17.4 MPG, 9.4 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.6 APG, 46.3% 3PFG, 50.0% FG, 93.9% FT, 131.2 ORtg)  Rousey has been shooting the ball efficiently from all three levels and taking care of the ball.  Providing high quality minutes on the perimeter.

Duane Wilson (6-2, 185, Jr., 16.4 MPG, 5.4 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 31.3% 3PFG, 47.3% FG, 73.3% FT, 113.5 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., 11.5 MPG, 1.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.2 APG, 55.6% FG, 59.1% FT, 122.7 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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