#1 Villanova Wildcats (29-2) vs. #9 Marquette Golden Eagles (13-18)
When: Thursday, March 12, 2015, at 12 p.m.
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Coverage: Fox Sports 1
Results of Previous Meetings:
–Villanova won 70-52 at home (Wells Fargo Center) on February 4
-Villanova won 87-76 at Marquette on February 21
Key Players for Marquette: #13 Matt Carlino (6-2, 175) Sr., G; #40 Luke Fischer (6-11, 245) So., C; #1 Duane Wilson (6-2, 185) Fr., G
Scouting Report: Marquette only won four conference games during the regular season. The Golden Eagles added one more win to their belt, getting another on the biggest stage of the Big East. Marquette was led by their top scorer, Matt Carlino. Carlino averaged 14.9 points per game. Last night he was on fire, hitting shot after shot from beyond the arc. He tied a Big East Tournament record, draining eight threes. He has always had a respectable three point shot, shooting 41.6% from long range during the regular season. Carlino provides a threat on the perimeter, something that has been lacking from Marquette squads in recent years. However, the lopsided victory over Seton Hall wasn’t the result of just one player. Luke Fischer, the big center inside, complemented the work Carlino did outside with his post play down low. Fischer barely missed inside, going 6-for-8. Maybe his work on the defensive end was even better, he had four blocks. He’s a great anchor to have in the middle on offense and defense. This season he averaged 11.0 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, and 2.2 blocks per game. Fischer is the ideal big man for teams to have and is a great successor to past big men Davante Gardner and Chris Otule. Helping Fischer out inside is Juan Anderson. Anderson can chip in a few points here and there, but he’s better at grabbing boards. He averages 5.9 rebounds per game. Also keep an eye out for the Wilsons, Derrick Wilson and Duane Wilson. Derrick won’t blow up the scoreboard, but he’s great at all of the other things. He is great at playing defense and is even better at facilitating the offense. Derrick Wilson had an impressive 14 assist game (another new Big East Tournament record) and only had two turnovers. On the other hand, Duane Wilson will put the points on the board. He’s the second highest scorer on the team with 12.1 points per game. Sometimes he can get into a rhythm and heat up from long range. More often than not, he will find more success attacking the basket and driving inside. Wilson is an athletic guard and his the skill set to make him a better slasher than spot up shooter. Watch out for Steve Taylor Jr., Marquette’s weapon off of the bench. Taylor Jr. does it all, he can score from inside or outside, grab rebounds, dish out assists, and play defense. He’s a reliable contributor off the bench.
Outlook: Matt Carlino wants blood. He didn’t get to play in the rematch between Villanova and Marquette, but now he will get his chance to play against the Wildcats. Carlino was not a happy camper when he received a concussion from the first meeting at the Wells Fargo Center. He called out Ryan Arcidiacono for a dirty play that led to his injury. Eight three pointers are a great way to get Villanova’s attention. On the flip side of things, Seton Hall laid down the blueprint for what happens if Villanova takes it easy and lacks intensity, you get bulldozed. The Pirates lost all fire and passion after they were down to the Golden Eagles and it just got out of hand from there. Not only do the Wildcats have to come bursting out of the gate, but they also have to keep an eye on Carlino. They did a fantastic job of containing him in the first game. Villanova needs to force Marquette to look in other directions. Marquette got the perfect opportunity to do what it wanted to do because Seton Hall gave away the perimeter and paint. The Golden Eagles had easy access, picking them apart from all areas of the court. The Wildcats cannot let this happen. Marquette was very confident and fired up for all 40 minutes, Villanova needs to remind them that this is not Seton Hall. Once the Wildcats play their brand of basketball and take control, the game will be theirs for the taking. They need to take away any of Marquette’s leftover momentum. There isn’t much else to say, it’s obvious that Villanova is a much better team on paper. The records indicate it and the stats and awards speak for themselves. The Wildcats are better at each position. Jay Wright just needs to get his guys to play hard-nosed Villanova Basketball, not overthink it, and the victory is theirs.