Marquette (15-5) at Villanova (11-9)
When: Tuesday, January 30th, 2024
Where: Finneran Pavilion,
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: FS1
Opening Odds: Marquette -1/141.5
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The Villanova Wildcats are in desperate need of a win when they host the ninth-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles on Tuesday night. After finishing with 17-17 last season under new head coach Kyle Neptune, the Wildcats started the season strong, but have labored recently in Big East play and are now searching for answers. Villanova has lost four in a row and five of six after Saturday’s 88-81 double-overtime loss at Butler. The only victory in the stretch came against 3-17 DePaul on Jan. 12. On Saturday, the Wildcats couldn’t get enough defensive stops down the stretch and continued to struggle hitting the 3-pointer.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles are surging up the conference standings and the national rankings. Marquette has won four in a row that started with an 87-74 win versus Villanova on Jan. 15. The latest was a 75-57 home thumping of Seton Hall on Saturday. In the latest ESPN Bracketology column, Marquette is pegged as a 3-seed, while Villanova is one of the last four in, but that was before Saturday’s loss. The Golden Eagles have won five matchups in a row, while covering the spread in each. This game is listed at Pickem as of Monday afternoon.
The Wildcats failed to hold an 11-point lead with 4:45 remaining in regulation in the double-overtime loss to Butler on Saturday. Eric Dixon led the team with 28 points, TJ Bamba added 14 and Tyler Burton had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Dixon made 4-of-8 attempts from beyond the arc, but the rest of the team went just 3-for-15. The Wildcats rank 293rd in the country in field goal percentage (42.4) and 240th in shooting the three (32.5). Villanova will host Providence on Sunday.
The Golden Eagles were led by Oso Ighodaro’s 21 points and seven rebounds in the easy win over Seton Hall on Saturday. David Joplin scored 20 points and Stevie Mitchell added 13 to go along with six rebounds and five steals. Ben Gold came off the bench and recorded nine points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. Tyler Kolek had four points and 11 assists to control the offense. Kam Jones (13.8 ppg) played only five minutes before coming out with a lingering sprained ankle. Marquette will play Georgetown on Saturday.
It’s really tough to win on the road in conference play, but the Golden Eagles have the makeup to do it. Villanova has struggled all season and only bottom-feeders DePaul and Georgetown have worse home records than the Wildcats. Marquette’s talent will control the game and get the job done here.