When Marquette defeated Villanova by the score of 81-77 on New Year's Day, the loss dropped the Wildcats to 0-2 in the Big East and 7-7 overall. It confirmed what people were probably thinking already: Jay Wright's team is in a lot of trouble this season.
Since then, they've had their ups and downs in the standings. Villanova currently sits at 10-11 overall with a conference record of 3-6. We all know what Marquette's been doing in the meantime. Let's check in before tomorrow's game and see how the last 7 games have treated Villanova.
In order since playing Marquette, this is what Nova's done:
1) Lost at home to South Florida, 74-57. USF led by 2 at the half and by just 3 with 9:03 left, but won by 17. I'd say draw your own conclusions, but I think Jay Wright starting four freshmen while benching Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek explains a lot, too.
2) Won at home over DePaul, 87-71. DePaul lost a road game, surprise surprise.
3) Lost at home to Syracuse, 79-66. A little lopsided, but really no shame there. Nova cut into the halftime lead a bit to cut it down to 13 points, so that's something. Possible bad sign: ESPN's recap saying that the Wells Fargo Center crowd looked like a Flyers crowd instead of a Villanova crowd.
4) Lost at Cincinnati, 82-78. 10 of 16 three point shooting gave the Wildcats a 5 point halftime lead, but those of you who watched Marquette play Villanova aren't surprised to find out that they couldn't keep up that shooting pace. Wayns went for 39 points and 13 rebounds on 12-22 shooting.
5) Won at home over Seton Hall, 84-76. Jordan Theodore missed his first nine shots while Wayns and JayVaughn Pinkston combined for 48 points. Solid win for the Wildcats, although this loss caused everyone to start wondering if Seton Hall was an early mirage.
6) Won at St. John's in overtime, 79-76. As much as the Red Storm have struggled this year, any time you pull off an overtime victory on the road in the Big East, you're doing something right. This was the third straight 25+ point game from Wayns.
7) Lost at Louisville, 84-74. This one has to sting a little bit. The Wildcats had a 5 point halftime lead, but that evaporated in the first 4 minutes of the second half. It was still within 2 with a little more than 4 minutes left, but Louisville closed the game on a 17-9 run.
So while Marquette has been looking better while winning their last 5 games, Villanova's been putting some solid performances together as of late as well. It just hasn't translated to wins. Marquette will need to be on their A game to get out of Philadelphia with a win.