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Breaking down Villanova’s potential opponents

Today is the calm before the storm as Tuesday the Big East tournament will begin. Villanova won’t know who it is playing until about 5 p.m. on Wednesday, so here is a look at its three potential opponents:

(5) Marquette (20-10, 11-7): The most likely opponent is the Golden Eagles. It would be the latest contest in what has become a budding rivalry between the two schools. The Wildcats have gotten the best of the games recently. They defeated Marquette 76-75 on a Dwayne Anderson game-winner in the quarterfinals of last year’s Big East tournament. This season they have handed them two two-point defeats.

While Marquette has defied expectations after losing its core from a season ago, the Golden Eagles are still tough to figure out. Four of their last fives games have went to overtime, including contests against Cincinnati and St. John’s. While Marquette has defeated Georgetown and Louisville, it has also lost to DePaul.

Led by senior forward Lazar Hayward, the Golden Eagles will be gunning for revenge if they meet Villanova in the quarterfinals again this season.

(12) Connecticut (17-14, 7-11): Perhaps the most difficult team to figure out this season is UConn. It has defeated Villanova, West Virginia and Texas, but also lost to USF, Cincinnati twice, Providence and Michigan. The result of the Huskies erratic play means that they will probably need at least two wins to get an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament.

Villanova saw first hand how talented the Huskies can be, especially guards Jerome Dyson and Kemba Walker and forward Stanley Robinson. However, outside those three players, there isn’t much offense on their roster. Although UConn plays strong defense (a key to their win against Villanova), it often has trouble scoring enough to win games.

The overall talent on this roster will make the Huskies a sleeper pick to reach the quarterfinals.

(13) St. John’s (16-14, 6-12): It has been another rough year for the Red Storm, and perhaps the only thing working in its favor is playing at Madison Square Garden. A season ago that helped pulled off a first-round upset against Georgetown before falling to Marquette.

To do that again St. John’s will need more production from players other than D.J. Kennedy and Dwight Hardy, its only players averaging on double-figures.

The Red Storm fell by 16 in its only meeting against UConn this season and needed three overtimes to defeat DePaul in its last game, suggesting that a lot will need to go the Red Storm’s way for a miracle run through the Big East tournament.

-David Cassilo

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  1. March 9, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Marquette is a hard team to figure out, you hit that one on the head. Not sure I want to play them, because they are really good when their good. On the flip side, you have to think we have a chance against them. Time will tell!

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