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25 February 2008

'Cats face Marquette in Big Monday battle

posted by NovaFan09
2/25/2008 02:00:00 AM

Villanova Wildcats (17-9, 7-7 BE) vs.
#21 Marquette Golden Eagles (20-6, 10-5 BE)

Date: Monday, February 25, 2008
Location: Wachovia Center (Philadelphia, PA)
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Television: ESPN

Official 'Nova coverage: Game notes (PDF)
Marquette coverage: Cracked Sidewalks

Villanova, having recently climbed back to .500 in conference play, welcomes another top-25 team into town Monday when the 'Cats battle Marquette at the Wachovia Center.

Winners of four straight, Marquette is surging as of late after playing uninspired basketball for nearly a month. Guards Jerel McNeal and Dominic James pace the offense for the Golden Eagles, as both players average more than 13 points per game. Forward Lazar Hayward (13.4, 6.2) and Wesley Matthews (11.0, 4.3) both contribute to an extremely balanced offensive attack that accumulates close to 77 points per game.

Defensively, Marquette allows 63.5 points per game, due in large part to pesky guards and a swarming team defense on which coach Tom Crean has prided himself over the years. It is up to the 'Nova coaching staff to let the 'Cats know that they have been playing well of late, but to not let their recent success get to their heads. This Marquette team is as dangerous, if not more dangerous than the Huskies.

Keys to the game

Pressure James: Marquette's leading ball handler, James had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 7-to-1 in his last 3 games before the Rutgers match-up on Saturday. Keeping consistent pressure on James and forcing him into mistakes will disrupt the flow of the entire Golden Eagles offense.

Ride the hot hand: Stokes has got his confidence back, and we are finally seeing what all the offseason hype was about. Get "Strokes" the ball, and let him fire away.

Defensive intensity: Villanova's suffocating defense in the first 15 minutes of the UConn game gave the Wildcats a big enough cushion to withstand the inevitable Connecticut second-half run. Villanova has been winning games because of its defense which, in turn, creates offense. I would like to see 'Nova players front up Marquette's big men on defensive switches, limiting the post play of forwards like Hayward.


'Nova guards:
The 'Cats will be matched up against a veteran backcourt, with McNeal and James both being juniors. While all of the 'Nova guards are underclassmen, they have the ability to raise their maturity and play like leaders themselves. If 'Nova can either stop James and McNeal defensively, or have their way with them when on offense, Villanova will come out a winner.

You may comment on the keys to the game and predict the game's final score in the comments section below.

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At 2:58 AM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nova 70
Marquette 67

At 6:31 AM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nova 73
marquette 65

At 8:35 AM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nova 70
Marquette 67

im guessing big help from malcom grant and big night for pena and reynolds. Stokes will contribute. lets go baby!!!

At 8:47 AM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

last time i checked james is a junior. but anyway

At 9:53 AM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just continue to play "Villanova Basketball"; in our best game of the year, the GT "draw", the team finally got the message. In the last five games the underclassmen have finally figured what it takes to win in the BIG EAST. The play of Dwayne Anderson has been a great example.... Malcolm take notice... Your day will come... just keep on working.

Villanova 68
Marquette 64

At 10:06 AM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bottom line is that the team is finally playing good basketball. Whether we make the NCAAs or not, things are starting to look up. Defense is the key and they are playing D with some intensity now.

On the NCAAs, Nova needs to win 4 more games before selection Sunday (including on BE tourney game) to get in.

Let's break it down:

Marquette: Tough game. They are playing well. This one should have been in the Pavilion. Anyway, this is a toss up BUT becomes the must win.

at Lville: I am not saying this is not winnable but the Cards are playing great right now. They could be a Final Four team now that they are healthy. It will take a huge effort to win this one.

S Florida: Nova has to play well to win. They will play hard and should win.

at Providence: This is a tougher game than you would think. This could be Providence's last game of the year or they might need it to make the BE tourney. Nova is the better team but will need to play very well to win.

Nova will be a pick'em in the first round of the BE tourney and can win the first game. They will be challenged to win game 2.

I say they beat S Florida and Providence. I think they lose on the road to Lville. This makes tonight huge if you want to see Nova in the NCAAs.

As long as they play hard the rest of the way, I do not care if they make the NCAA or NIT. Of course, NCAA would be great but winning a few in the NIT might be best for the long run.

Tonight's prediction:

Defense is there. Stokes cools a bit. Fish learns how to hit his floater.

Nova 65
Marq 64

Let's Go Nova!

At 11:39 AM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nova 76
Marquette 74 - Misses potential game winning three point jumper off the rim

Bubble Boy I like your breakdown and agree with your predictions... not sure about tonight but given our momentum and talent level we certainly CAN win tonight, and I think we will in a close one.

I think Villanova's RPI is listed as 41 right now... why is it so high if everyone seems to agree we are barely on the bubble?

At 11:59 AM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eagles 68
Nova 64

At 12:02 PM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cats - 68
Eagles- 67

Go Nova!

At 12:20 PM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From here on out the most important game is the NEXT game.... Go Cats.

Villanova 65
Marquette 64

At 2:20 PM, February 25, 2008, Blogger HoopsMalone said...

Marquette is going to be playing just as desperately as Nova bc they need this win big time to keep pace in the Big East, especially with G-town coming to Milwaukee on Sat. Marquette also has to prove they can win a big road game.

It's going to come down to turnovers and knocking down open shots. Should be some excellent guard play, but if James plays smart Marquette will be tough. Hayward at forward is MU's catalyst, so it will be interesting to see if he can knock down open shots tonight.

At 2:44 PM, February 25, 2008, Blogger pete said...

Villanova 79
Marquette 70

At 3:30 PM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Villanova 60
Marquette 57

A low scoring game because the guards will be neutralized by each other, and they will miss a lot of threes. Nova has the big man advantage, so they will win.

At 3:52 PM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let the team know you appreciate the good "D".

Everyone at the game make sure you count down their shot clock when it gets under "10".

At 5:08 PM, February 25, 2008, Blogger garretthill said...

Quette 62
Nova 59

At 5:13 PM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MU Fan says:

This will be a curious matchup. Both teams very guard and defense dependant and may cancel each outhers dribble drive and ability to get point off turnovers (both of our teams strengths).

My gut is that one team will step up in an other area (inside). I predict Ousman Barro and newcommer Trevor Mbakwe will have career nights and carry the day for the Warriors.

Like the site.

MU 64
Nova 58

(I hope that is not actually Crean's wife posting on your site, if so, at least she picked MU)

At 6:21 PM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nova 68
Marquette 61

At 9:14 PM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im gonna come right out and say it, for this loss..i partially blame corey fisher again for the horrible passing and bad shots driving the lane(i know hes young and has confidence but its a tight game) and i kinda blame the person who is in charge of playing malcom grant. i know we have been pass this issue but hes a spark off the bench. i dont agree with this sudden decrease in minutes. but on a positive note its gonna look sweeter for our resume when we beat louisville @ louisville.

and by the way, stop letting fisher be PG, reynolds is much more explosive wen he is able to control the ball.

Lets go Nova!

At 10:27 PM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blaming Fisher is a bit rough, the kid had a phenomenal first half setting up the offense, as well as his own.

And the calling for Malcolm Grant is now getting annoying. It's getting a little too fashionable to blog about it.

We lost this game due to all around lazy passing, sloppy play, and too much dribbling around the baseline without any purpose. Also we were not hitting our open looks at 3-pointers, while Marq was knocking down some tough shots as they built they lead.

Calling for Fisher's benching makes me wonder if you even watched the entire game.

Calling for Grant... well I can't say you are wrong, but GIVE IT UP ALREADY PEOPLE. At this point he's a role player, and we've played our best basketball with him sitting down.

At 11:51 PM, February 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...


thank you... and i miss lowry too.

At 4:45 PM, February 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and we've played our worst with him on the bench too, your point is extremly weak.


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