W2W4: Jimmy V Classic at MSG

December, 6, 2011
Here are three things to watch for in the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

GAME 1: The first matchup, at 7 p.m. on ESPN, pits No. 10 Missouri (7-0) versus Villanova (5-2). The Tigers are off to a flying start under new coach Frank Haith -- their average margin of victory is 27.9 points per game, and they destroyed then-No. 20 California 92-53 in the CBE Classic championship game in Kansas City on Nov. 22. Six-foot-three senior guard Marcus Denmon leads the team with a scoring average of 20.3 points per game.

Villanova was picked to finish eighth in the Big East in the conference's preseason coaches poll, and suffered a pair of defeats at the 76 Classic in Anaheim in late November, to St. Louis (80-68) and Santa Clara (65-64). Six-foot-two junior guard Maalik Wayns is the team's leading scorer, averaging 18.7 points per contest.

GAME 2: At approximately 9:30 p.m., again on ESPN, No. 11 Marquette (7-0) will take on Washington (4-2). The Golden Eagles are coming off a huge 61-54 win at No. 7 Wisconsin on Saturday. They've been impressive at both ends of the floor, averaging 84.1 points per game (No. 10 in country) and giving up just 58.7 points per game. Six-foot-two senior Darius Johnson-Odom is pacing the team at 19.4 points per game.

Washington, like Villanova, lost to Rick Majerus' St. Louis squad, 77-64 in St. Louis, and is coming off a 76-73 overtime loss at Nevada on Friday. The Huskies, picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 this season in the conference's preseason media poll, are fourth in the country in rebounds per game (42.7) and led by 6-foot-6 sophomore Terrence Ross (16.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg).

MORE IMPORTANTLY: The real reason for this event is to honor the legacy of former coach and broadcaster Jim Valvano, and to raise money and awareness for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Please consider a donation if you can.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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