2012 Big East Basketball Tournament: Rutgers Vs. Villanova Preview

Less than one week ago, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Villanova Wildcats met in what was the second-to-last Big East regular season game for each. The Wildcats left the Scarlet Knights' home arena with a 77-71 win, playing a considerable role in determining some of the conference's lower seeds for this week's Big East Tournament.

Tuesday night, No. 11 seed Rutgers (14-17, 6-12, Big East) faces No. 14 seed Villanova (12-18, 5-13 Big East) at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU and ESPN3D.

After the six-point loss to Villanova, Rutgers rebounded with a 61-58 win against St. John's, securing the No. 11 seed in the process. The Wildcats, meanwhile, fell to Cincinnati at home 72-68, knocking them down to the No. 14 seed.

The Scarlet Knights were relatively inconsistent for the majority of non-conference play and the first half of Big East play. Following a Jan. 28 61-54 win over Cincinnati, Rutgers stood at 12-10 overall with a 4-5 record against conference teams. However, the Scarlet Knights lost their next six games, sending them into an ill-timed spiral. A Feb. 25 77-72 overtime win at Seton Hall reversed Rutgers' fortunes, but the loss to Villanova came five days later.

Similarly, the Wildcats have dealt with up-and-down play for much of the season. Villanova lost its first three Big East games and then endured losing streaks of three and four games in the second half of conference play. Interestingly enough, the Wildcats have enjoyed balanced scoring throughout their roster with four players averaging in double figures. Junior guard Maalik Wayns leads the team with 17.5 points per game, while fellow junior guard Dominic Clark is second with 13.2. Junior forward/center Mouphtaou Yarou averages 10.9 points and a team-high 8.2 rebounds per game, while JayVaughn Pinkston scores 10.0 points per game.

Rutgers has just one player scoring in double figures, freshman guard Eli Carter with 13.5 points per game. Junior guard/forward Dane Miller is fourth in scoring with 7.9 points but first with 6.7 rebounds per game.

For complete coverage of the Big East Tournament 2012, check back to this SB Nation New York StoryStream.

For a SB Nation New York preview of other Big East schools, click on its respective links: Syracuse, Marquette, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Georgetown, South Florida, Louisville, West Virginia, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Rutgers, St. John's, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Providence, DePaul.

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