By the skin of their teeth, the Marquette Golden Eagles won their Big East Tournament first round game over the DePaul Blue Demons. Despite the fact that DePaul’s Max Strus had a wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-I could do this all day-iiiiii-but I won’t-de open look, the Golden Eagles hung on and won 72-69.
Good thing things get easier for Marq—oh, that’s right. They, uh, kinda don’t.
No, you see: Marquette now has to face the Villanova Wildcats.
The Wildcats, second-place finishers in the Big East (bunch’a slackers) have quite a few talented players. There’s Jalen Brunson (Scrub. He won the Big East Player of the Year. But, he may fall short of National Player of the Year to a guy whose team has lost 11 of their last 15. Not a player I’d want on my team!). There’s also Mikal Bridges (Another scrub. Regarded as a great 2-way player, but didn’t win Defensive Player of the Year. C’mon. He might be a lottery pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Why stop there? Why not be in contention to be the top pick? Certainly, Deandre Ayton or Luka Doncic or Marvin Bagley III would be better fits for Villanova than Bridges. C’mon, man. Get big).
Villanova also boasts Omari Spellman (Won Big East Freshman of the Year despite not ACTUALLY being a true freshman. Someone should look into this. He’s about as much of a freshman as Artemi Panarin and Ben Simmons were/are “rookies.” Do your job, Val Ackerman).
And among the legions of reasons to fear this team, including the Michael Jordan of Delaware, Donte DiVincenzo (Let’s see him play for the Wilmington Blue Rocks to REALLY work the gimmick), certifiable Ryan Arcidiacono clone Collin Gillespie (2017 Catholic League MVP and soon-to-be thorn in the side of every single other blasted team in the Big East) and Phil Booth (The 2016 National Championship Game’s leading scorer — 20 points, mind you. PEOPLE. FORGET THAT.) they’re also the most efficient offense in the country by KenPom’s Adjusted Offensive Efficiency metric (126.8. Y’know what? I don’t have any retort here. Their offense is ridiculous when it’s on).
So, if you’re a Marquette fan, and you’re reading this, and you’re wondering, “How in the hell can we beat Villanova if we just nearly lost to DEPAUL?” Well, there might be a reason to have as much doubt as you have right now. Marquette’s defense isn’t particularly sharp, and they let up 100 and 85 points the last two times they faced the Wildcats. The weapons they have at their disposal are fierce when they’re clicking, no doubt. Markus Howard, Andrew Rowsey and Sam Hauser are a dynamic triple threat. And Villanova’s defense is, shall we say, a little shaky at times. So, you essentially have to hope that Marquette shoots the absolute DAYLIGHTS out of the basketball on Thursday night at The Garden. And more often than Villanova, who has weapons on weapons up the wazoo at their disposal, can do on their own.
If that can happen, great! Marquette will probably assure themselves of a spot in the NCAA Tournament. If not, well, the Golden Eagles will probably be sweating profusely on Selection Sunday. Villanova probably won’t be damaged too much with a loss, although maybe their status as a 1 seed will have a little doubt mixed in.