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.