After a tough loss to WVU, Marquette returns home to face off against Villanova. Just like last year, MU opens at home against Villanova. Game time is 2:30 Milwaukee time. After last year's Final Four run, Villanova was the BE Coaches choice to finish first in conference. MU is obviously rebuilding, injured, and only picked to finish twelfth, so easy road win for Villanova, right? The #8/#8 team should roll even in an away game.
Not. So. Fast.
Early in the season, Villanova hasn't exactly been killing it. Honestly, Villanova's been pretty damn pedestrian so far. According to the stats, they're not top twenty in anything except offensive efficiency (#17). Want to know which team is right above them in offensive efficiency? Yeah... the good guys (#16). In fact, according to Pomeroy's overall rankings, Marquette (#20) is rated higher than Villanova (#35). In some more craziness, Pomeroy favors us as 73% favorites (6 point victors) tomorrow. Not only that, but for the first time this season, we're busting out our prediction model and it favors Marquette as a 90% favorite to win (14 point victor).
How does Marquette take home the victory?
- Make shots. MU has been #27 in the country at effective Field Goal percentage (eFG%)
- Keep Nova from making shots. Believe it or not, but Villanova hasn't been all that good at eFG% (#86 in the country)
- Offensive rebounding (on both sides). First, keep Villanova off the offensive glass. Second, pound the offensive boards
- Finally, force turnovers. Villanova has been okay at protecting the ball, but MU has been pretty good at forcing turnovers. MU has to win this matchup
Check out the following links for more info
- Rosiak has his preview, in which he talks about last year, the potential impact of Mouphtaou Yarou, and (yuck) free throws
- Marquette has their official preview of the game. Don't forget to check out the game notes. They also have the following video clips
DJO and Butler media availability
And now from a few of the Villanova blogs