The Villanova Wildcats (20-8, 11-4) have lost three straight conference games for the first time since realignment. Can the Marquette Golden Eagles (23-4, 12-2) go to Finneran Pavilion, give Villanova a fourth straight loss, and clinch the Big East regular season title?
If any team in the Big East has stood out all season long, it’s been Marquette. You likely already know by now how good Big East Player of the Year frontrunner Markus Howard has been. He leads the conference in scoring at 25.3 points per game (tied for fifth-best in the nation), and has been a walking bucket this season. Sam Hauser has continued to progress from last season, and his brother Joey Hauser looks like the Big East Freshman of the Year. Steve Wojciechowski has responded emphatically to a year many believed could be make or break for him, finally striking the balance between an elite offense and a passible defense.
Of course, no matter how down Villanova looks, the Wildcats are never out. Led by future hall-of-famer Jay Wright, this is still a program that has won two national championships in three years. It’s also senior night, so Phil Booth and Eric Paschall will have one last chance to make a memory for the Villanova faithful.
Regardless of the outcome, it should be one of the Big East’s best games of the season, just like their first meeting.