Game Day Preview: Marquette Golden Eagles

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Marquette University (Private – Jesuit Catholic)
Mascot: Golden Eagles
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Enrollment: 11,000+

2010-2011 Record: 22-15 (9-9 in The Big East)
RPI: 50
Coach: Buzz Williams (4th year)

First Thought: Marquette looks to be one of the better teams in the Big East this year. They recently beat a very solid Wisconsin team.

Best Win: 61-54 over Wisconsin (RPI 65)
Worst Loss: No losses yet this season.
Last Game: 61-54 win over Wisconsin.

Average Scoring: 84.1 ppg (#11)
Average for Opponents: 58.7 ppg

Synopsis: Marquette University has been a big time player in the Big East for years and they look to continue that streak as they are 7-0 and just dominating their opponents. Wisconsin, who was ranked 6th at the time, has been one of their only real challenges thus far in the season. However, there was one game in which Norfolk State almost surprised them in their second meeting of the year. Marquette ran over Norfolk State at their home in Bradley Center but when they met on neutral ground in the Virgin Islands, the big 3 pointers and zone defense by Norfolk State kept the game close and eventually ended when Norfolk State missed a last second 3.

This team can be beat but they also look to be ready to play with anyone in the country. They don’t have any immediate marquee matchups after tonight’s game against Washington, UW is not in a trap situation. Marquette is not looking past or over Washington, they will be ready to play the Huskies tonight.

Darius Johnson-Odom is averaging almost 20 points a game for the Golden Eagles, he is followed by Jae Crowder (16.9) and Vander Blue (10.4). Those 3 are doing damage from inside and outside, all 3 are averaging over 40% in 3pt percentage.

The Golden Eagles love to get to the free-throw stripe. They have shot 191 times from the line and have made 136 (71%). Buzz Williams pointed to the fact, in the close game against Norfolk State, that his team wasn’t getting to the line enough and only made 15 trips there.

UW has only made 137 trips to the line and have only made 85 of those shots (62%). This is an obvious difference between the two teams and something that Marquette will look to exploit.

Marquette is also a very deep team that has 9 players that have around 100 minutes or higher on the season. And all 9 have contributed in significant ways to games. Granted many of their games resulted in blowouts this year and thus could account for some of those minutes. But even in tight games like the Wisconsin one, 10 players saw the floor.

If there is any weakness to be found in Marquette without seeing them lose a game, it is in the rebound department. They rank 76th in the country in rebounds and that can and should be exploited by UW.

My analysis: Marquette can score, and score in bunches. The can easily get on a huge run and put the game away, however, they also proved in the second Norfolk State game that they can let other teams go on runs just as easily. They have a deep team but so does UW, and each team will cycle about 10 players in and out of the game.

Though in my opinion the game will come down to the stars. What the stars do with the basketball, how Johnson-Odom plays for Marquette will be important and how Terrence Ross plays for UW will be just as important. Since no one has beaten Marquette this year it is hard to say exactly what the key to beating them is. But if the Norfolk State game proved anything–let them get uncomfortable in the game, get them out of their rhythm and lockdown their scorers.

However, all in all Marquette is very efficient and very talented. They can and will score a lot of points. The question becomes can UW hang around maybe make a decent game of it?

UW can win with the talent they have, but at the same time they look really rusty and not fundamental in their approach to the game especially in the previous two road games. This is on a neutral floor, does that help?

My Prediction: Marquette 89 Washington 79