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Eric Dixon and Villanova head to Milwaukee for a Monday afternoon matchup against #11 Marquette | Villanova vs. Marquette Preview

Written by on January 15, 2024

Villanova begins one of the toughest stretches of their schedule as they head to Milwaukee for a Monday afternoon matchup against #11 Marquette. The Wildcats confidently defeated DePaul by 25 points on Friday night at the Finneran Pavilion. It was a nice confidence booster for Villanova, but the Golden Eagles are one of the best teams in the Big East and provide a difficult task for Villanova on the road.

Villanova Preview + All-Time Series Info

The Wildcats lead the all-time series against the Golden Eagles, 27-16. However, Villanova lost both games against Marquette last season. Villanova is 8-9 against Marquette in Wisconsin.

Villanova’s Last Three Games:

January 3rd vs. Xavier: 66-65 Win

January 6th vs. St. John’s: 81-71 Loss

January 12th vs. DePaul: 94-69 Win

Eric Dixon continues his star season for Villanova. The senior forward from Willow Grove, PA is averaging 15.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He scored 24 points against DePaul and completely dominated the paint. Oso Ighodaro and David Joplin will cause some chaos for Dixon in the paint, but he has proven that he can still score even against tough matchups.

Justin Moore returned to the starting lineup on Friday against DePaul for the first time since December 5th at Kansas State. He played 23 minutes against the Blue Demons. Moore missed all five three-point attempts and scored just two points. However, Moore will need a few games to get back to his efficient scoring. The Wildcats will need him to play a larger role in today’s game against Marquette.

Villanova will most likely be without Jordan Longino this afternoon. Longino missed his first game on Friday with a left knee sprain.

Mark Armstrong has scored 29 points in his last two games, including a season-high 15 points against DePaul. Brendan Hausen made five three-pointers in the first half against the Blue Demons. He can be a streaky shooter at times, so Villanova hopes that his shot from the behind the arc is great again this afternoon.

The Wildcats did not have any turnovers in the first half against DePaul. They finished the game with just four turnovers. Villanova’s ball movement and passing was one of the strong points of the DePaul victory. To defeat Marquette, who excels at forcing turnovers, Villanova must limit turnovers and respond to most likely some more full court press and overall pressure from Shaka Smart and the Golden Eagles.

Marquette Preview: The Golden Eagles are off to a slow start in Big East Play

Marquette has the same overall record as Villanova at 11-5 in the 2023-24 campaign. However, despite being ranked just outside of the Top 10, they are just 2-3 in Big East play. The Golden Eagles have lost their last two games against Seton Hall and Butler. Both games were fairly close in the end, but it definitely is not common for Marquette to lose those tight games.

Marquette’s Last Three Games:

December 30th vs. #22 Creighton: 72-67 Win

January 6th at Seton Hall: 78-75 Loss

January 10th vs. Butler: 69-62 Loss

Marquette’s offense ranks 5th in the Big East in average points per game with 76.8. The Golden Eagles defense’ also ranks 5th in average points allowed at 67.2 points per game. Their offense is led by the trio of Kam Jones, Tyler Kolek, and Oso Ighodaro. Kolek, a senior from Rhode Island, averages almost 14 points and six assists per game. He collected his 1,000thcareer point earlier this season and is just 99 points away from 1,000 career points as a Golden Eagle.

Kam Jones, a junior from Tennessee, reached 1,000 career points against Butler on Wednesday night. He averages 15 points per game while shooting 43% from the field. Oso Ighodaro, a senior forward from Arizona, continues to improve in his college career. After averaging 11 points per game last season, Ighodaro is averaging almost 14 points in the 2023-24 campaign. He also is one of the Golden Eagles’ best rebounders with seven rebounds per contest.

The other two starters for Marquette are Stevie Mitchell and David Joplin. Mitchell, a Reading, Pennsylvania native, missed four games with a hamstring injury, but he has been solid since coming back from the injury. He averages just six points per game, but he provides a lot defensively by averaging 1.8 steals per game. Joplin shoots 40% from the field and averages almost ten points per game for Marquette.

The Golden Eagles will be without one of their main bench players, Sean Jones. Jones suffered a season-ending knee injury against Butler on Wednesday.

Marquette’s Ability to Limit Turnovers

The biggest strength of Marquette is the ability to limit turnovers on offense and force turnovers on defense. The Golden Eagles lead the Big East in turnover margin at +6.1. They average ten turnovers per game on offense. Marquette forced 18 turnovers against Butler.

My Thoughts + Keys to the Game

Marquette is always a tough matchup with the amount of talent they have on their roster, especially at home in Milwaukee. However, Villanova may be catching the Golden Eagles at the right time as they are just 2-3 in Big East play and on a two-game losing streak. The Wildcats need to take care of the basketball and convert on shots from behind the arc. The paint battle will be tough for Eric Dixon, so TJ Bamba, Tyler Burton, or Justin Moore will need to really step up in this game for the Wildcats to win.

Today’s game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day begins at 2:30pm. It can be watched on FOX.