Marquette Golden Eagles (18-10, 7-8) vs #1 Villanova Wildcats (24-4, 13-2)
Marquette Stat Leaders
Points: Henry Ellenson, 16.7 ppg
Rebounds: Henry Ellenson, 10.0 rpg
Assists: Traci Carter, 4.4 apg
Marquette Availability Update: Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Matt Heldt is still day to day after spraining his knee on Monday during practice. He will be a game time decision against the Wildcats. Head coach Steve Wojciechowski told Velazquez that Sandy Cohen's suspension is still under evaluation. Based on that, I would guess that Cohen will still be suspended come Saturday afternoon.
Villanova Stat Leaders
Points: Josh Hart, 15.0 ppg
Rebounds: Daniel Ochefu, 8.2 rpg
Assists: Ryan Arcidiacono, 4.4 apg
Current KenPom Rankings
KenPom Predictions: Villanova has a 78% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 72-65.
Since Last We Met: The Wildcats were ranked #6 in the country back on January 13, and now they're #1. I'm going to guess and say that things have been going very well for Villanova. They're 9-2 since beating Marquette 83-68 at the Pavilion. The losses were at the Wells Fargo Center against Providence, which may have been the peak of the Friars' season, and then on Wednesday while visiting Xavier. They will likely not be #1 when the poll comes out on Monday, but they're still almost completely assured of getting a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament at this point. They have a half game lead in the Big East standings on the Musketeers right now, so they're going to be locked in looking to wrap up the regular season title as soon as possible.
Marquette vs #1 Teams: The Golden Eagles are 1-8 all time against teams ranked #1 in the country in the AP poll. The lone win came in 2003, when Marquette defeated Kentucky in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. The most recent game against #1 technically didn't happen, as it was a 73-66 loss to Syracuse on January 7, 2012, that has since been vacated by the Orange due to people doing Fab Melo's homework for him. Marquette's most recent home game against a #1 team came on January 23, 2000, when the Golden Eagles fell 72-60 to Kenyon Martin and Cincinnati. The other #1 teams that Marquette has faced: Kansas State (1/10/53), San Francisco (12/16/55), North Carolina State (3/25/74, NCAA tournament title game), Indiana (3/20/76, NCAA Tournament Elite Eight), North Carolina (1/19/86), and Duke (11/22/2010).
Marquette Last 10 Games: 6-4, with wins in their last two games.
Villanova Last 10 Games: 8-2, with a loss to Xavier on Wednesday snapping a seven game winning streak.
All Time Series: Villanova leads 18-9.
Current Streak: Villanova has won the last seven meetings dating back to 2013.
Henry Ellenson Watch: Let's start with the freshman records Ellenson has either already broken or has no chance to break: He has the free throws made (114) & free throws attempted (154) records, and his 45 blocks are second best to Jim McIlvaine's 92. Ellenson is now Marquette's all time leading freshman rebounder with 279, surpassing Bo Ellis' record of 264.
His 164 field goals made are the 4th most by a MU freshman, and he needs just three more to tie Bo Ellis for third; his 376 field goal attempts are 2nd most, trailing only Dominic James at 404. Last, but certainly not least, Ellenson is #2 on the freshman scoring chart at 468 points. Dominic James' freshman year record of 473 points is just five points away.
Traci Carter Watch: Carter's 124 helpers are the third most assists by a freshman in Marquette history. This is a big deal, because he has essentially no shot at getting to second place (Dominic James, 167), much less the freshman record (Tony Miller, 221). He has the fourth most steals by a freshman with 42, and he needs eight more to tie Dominic James for third.
Luke Fischer Watch: The junior from Germantown has the fifth most blocks for a Marquette junior at 46, and his next block will tie Dwayne (Not The Rock) Johnson in fourth place. He's just nine blocks away from moving into the top 10 in a season all time, by the way.
Haanif Cheatham Watch: Cheatham has moved up to the fourth most free throws made by a freshman and the sixth most freshman free throw attempts. I feel like this is largely being overlooked due to Henry Ellenson already breaking both of those records. He does have a shot at breaking the freshman record for free throw percentage, as he's currently shooting 79.8% and Damon Key's record is 81.6%. Cheatham has 324 points on the season, which is the eighth most by a Marquette freshman. Jerel McNeal is next on the list with 343 points. He continues to nudge towards the freshman top 10 in a bunch more categories, but we'll hold off on those for now...
Duane Wilson Watch: Wilson's worked himself up to the ninth most made three pointers amongst Marquette sophomores, sitting just three more than Tony Miller (46) and one fewer than Dominic James (50). His 142 three point attempts rank as the eighth most for Marquette sophomores as there's a huge gap between Darius Johnson-Odom (154) and David Cubillan (116).
Follow Along On Twitter
@MarquetteMBB - Official Marquette account
@NovaMBB - Official Villanova account
@AnonymousEagle - Hey, that's us!
@VUHoops - SB Nation's Villanova site
@becb_sbn - SB Nation's Big East site
@Matt_Velazquez - The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel MU beat reporter