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College Basketball - Marquette at Villanova

February 10, 2009

College Basketball Preview - (10) Marquette Golden Eagles at (13) Villanova Wildcats (Tuesday 7:30 ET)

Villanova is currently a 5-point home favorite with a game total of 148 at

The Golden Eagles started off their conference schedule an incredible 9-0 straight-up and 7-2 ATS. That was before getting upset at South Florida, 57-56 on Friday as 8 -point chalk.

Marquette will have to put that game in the rearview mirror quickly as they have an even tougher game at the Villanova Wildcats on Tuesday night.

Marquette's (20-3) start to the conference was impressive but not totally unexpected. After all, the schedule has been in their favor, avoiding Top 10 teams Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Louisville so far. They have also avoided another Top 25 team in Syracuse.

That's not to say this isn't a solid basketball team. They might have the best three-guard rotation in all of college hoops with Jerel McNeal, Wes Matthews and Dominic James. Lazar Hayward is also one of the most underrated power forwards in the country.

This 'fab foursome' helped Marquette dispose of Villanova 79-72 in Milwaukee back on January 1st. That was the conference opener for both teams and the Golden Eagles covered as three-point favorites.

In that game against Villanova, Marquette showed one of their flaws lack of depth. They got an incredible 75 out of 79 points from their four star players and just four from the rest. For the season, they get almost 83% of their scoring from those four, and that could cause problems versus the conference elite.

Villanova (19-4) has been moving up the national rankings and are at #13 in the AP. They lost two other early conference games to Connecticut and Louisville but have stormed back with five straight wins and are on a seven-game ATS streak.

Nova's latest win was 102-85 against Syracuse on Saturday at Philly's Wachovia Center. The Wildcats were 6 -point chalk and got a monster game from forward Daunte Cunningham with 31 points.

Cunningham against Hayward is going to be a great matchup down low. Villanova also has a four-guard rotation that matches up well against Marquette, led by Scottie Reynolds.

Nova also has eight players than can contribute to their scoring on any night so they have a big advantage in the depth area. That could be the key difference on the outcome of this game.

One more betting note is as follows. This game will be played on the on-campus location of the Pavilion where they play the majority of their home games.

Nova is 5-0 ATS recently at this smaller, but louder arena that can be real tough on visitors.

Pick: Villanova Wildcats -5 (-110)

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