Villanova University's men's basketball program hopes that 2012 is a bit more friendly to them than '11, as the Wildcats begin the new year Sunday visiting No. 14 Marquette University for their second Big East Conference game of the season at Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI (1 p.m. on ESPNU).
On Wednesday, Villanova (7-6) lost its league opener, 83-69, at West Virginia University, which outscored the Wildcats 20-6 in the final 5:17. The loss was 'Nova's sixth in nine games and has some Wildcats fans curious if their team is destined to miss the postseason for the first time since '04.
Junior guard Maalik Wayns paces Villanova in points (17.6 per game) and assists (5.3 per game), while junior forward Mouphtaou Yarou is second-best in scoring (12.9 ppg) and tops in rebounding (8.5 rebounds per game).
Meanwhile, Marquette (11-2) has also had its recent struggles, as it has dropped two of its last three games after beginning the year 10-0 and creeping up to No. 10 in the college rankings. On Friday, the Golden Eagles fell to Vanderbilt University, 74-57, in their regular-season, non-conference finale.
Senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom (17.4 ppg) paces Marquette in scoring, but senior forward Jae Crowder (17.2 ppg) isn't far behind. Crowder also leads the Golden Eagles in rebounding (7.5 rpg), while junior point guard Junior Cadougan is averaging a team-best 5.2 assists per game.