It seems like over the years, the Big East Tournament, more than any other across the nation seems to be a breeding ground for a single guy to carry his team to a tournament championship. One season it was Gerry McNamara, another it was Kemba Walker and even last season you could say it was Bryce Cotton. Through one game so far, it seems as if Matt Carlino is the the player closest to carrying on that legacy. Against Seton Hall in the opening round, the transfer from BYU was engulfed in NBA Jam style flames. He had 26 points and shot 50-percent from the field, including almost 67-percent from the beyond the arc (on 12 attempts no less). Despite Marquette finishing with a pretty poor record in the regular season, he's been known for going off in games in which the Golden Eagles have won against power-5 opponents (38 points against Georgia Tech) or have given scares to superior teams in conference play (27 against Xavier and 26 against Georgetown). So far this season, in one game against Carlino, the 'Cats held him to only 9 points, and in order to cruise to victory like they should, the Wildcats need another strong defensive effort against Carlino. Look for Nova to run him off the 3-point line early and off him to stop him from getting into any sort of groove in this one.
Playing like the POTY
Despite many college basketball pundits questioning whether he was the co-best player on his team this past season, Villanova point guard Ryan Arcidiacono found out yesterday that he would share the Big East Player of the Year award with Providence guard Kris Dunn. The decision drew some disdain from many around the sport, so now it's on Arch to prove why he deserved the award. The spotlight is now shining even brighter on the junior point guard, especially in his first game out since earning the distinction. Look for him to have a huge game in an attempt to prove the doubters wrong, and ultimately to be the driving force in a Wildcat victory.
Attack at the rim
It's not a secret, Marquette is not too deep when it comes to an inside presence. Even more evident is who the best option is for the Golden Eagles inside, it's Indiana transfer Luke Fischer. The 6-11 sophomore is quite a task inside, and if he can get going early, it could be a long game for the other team. The solution for Villanova should be to utilize tow talented big men and attack Fischer early and often inside. Both Daniel Ochefu and JayVaughn Pinkston have the ability to become bruisers inside and draw fouls at will. If the Wildcats can force Fischer out of the game early, it'll be smooth sailing for Jay Wright and Co.