The No. 12 Villanova Wildcats try to avenge their last loss when they visit No. 24 Marquette Golden Eagles in a Big East contest on Wednesday night. The opening tip for the game is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
Villanova (16-5, 9-2 Big East) has won its last three games since falling to Marquette at home on Jan. 19. The Wildcats are in second place in the Big East standings, sitting a half-game behind the first-place Providence Friars.
The Golden Eagles (15-7, 7-4) are coming off a two-point loss to the Friars on Sunday that snapped their seven-game winning streak. Marquette is in fourth place in the conference, percentage points behind the third-place Connecticut Huskies and two games behind the Wildcats.
If you want to bet online on this game, the college basketball lines have the Wildcats as 4½-point favorites on the road, with the over/under set at 133 points. Betting on the moneyline will get you Villanova at -200 or Marquette at +170.
Looking for Revenge
The Wildcats have a good memory of what happened the last time they faced the Golden Eagles, with Marquette snapping Villanova’s 29-game winning streak at Finneran Pavilion. The team isn’t going to try to hide from that but rather use it as motivation for what should be another great contest.
“The good thing is, you don’t have to say anything to the guys about that,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said after Saturday’s win over St. John’s. “Our mantra is, we keep getting better the next day. It’s actually easier when you know the next team you’ve got coming up beat you. And they’re a nationally ranked team. It shouldn’t be this way, but it’s human nature. They’re a little bit more dialed in.”
Senior guard Collin Gillespie had just 10 points in that loss, shooting 4 of 13 from the field, including 1 of 6 from 3-point range. The Wildcats’ leading scorer at 17.1 points per game will certainly be looking for a better performance in the return matchup.
Another key for Villanova offensively is guard Justin Moore, who averages 15.5 points. Moore is coming off an eight-point effort in the win over St. John’s on Saturday, so he’ll be focused on getting back on track.
Sophomore Eric Dixon is contributing 9.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He’s turned up his game of late, averaging 11.4 points and 7.0 rebounds over the last five games, which includes a two-point dud in a win over Georgetown on Jan. 22.
Trying to Rebound
The Golden Eagles have been enjoying success despite having a problem on the boards. Marquette is 10th in the Big East in rebounding at 35.7 per game and allows the most rebounds to an opponent with 39.4. The offensive glass is where the Golden Eagles have been lacking, as they grab just 7.9 per game, worst in the league.
The first meeting with Villanova showed some of that trend playing out, as the Wildcats won the rebound battle 37-28, including a 10-2 edge on the offensive glass. If Marquette is going to sweep the season series, it is going to need a better effort on the boards on Wednesday night.
Freshman forward Justin Lewis will be a big part of any effort from the Golden Eagles. He leads the team in both scoring (16.5 points) and rebounding (7.9). Lewis had 21 points and seven boards in the first meeting.
Senior guard Daryl Morsell provides some scoring punch as well, averaging 13.4 points and shooting 37.9 percent from 3-point range. Morsell had 10 points and six rebounds in the first meeting, but the Golden Eagles will likely need more from him.
Another freshman, guard Tyler Kolek, will need to be at his best as well. Kolek is second in the Big East with 6.1 assists per game, and he’ll be primarily matched up with Gillespie.
Wildcats Get Revenge
While Marquette has been playing well, it is going to have a tough time beating Villanova for a second time. Look for an inspired effort from the Wildcats as they get the win on the road.
When doing your college basketball betting, take Villanova to win and cover.