Game Preview: Marquette

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by: John Chase

Marquette. The name brings back memories. Quincy Pondexter sealed the deal in a 15 point come back in the first round of the 2009-2010 NCAA Tournament. Live it again here. This year it brings a little more to the table, namely an 11th ranked team in the top 11 for 3 of the 4 main offensive categories (PPG, APG, and FG%). With 84 points a game, Marquette plays a high octane offense in a very similar style to UW. Darius Johnson-Odom leads the team in scoring with nearly 20 points per outing. Jae Crowder follows closely behind with 17 points a game. Both players are 14-33 from range and are deadly accurate with the ball. Crowder also leads the Golden Eagles in rebounding with 6.7 boards per game.

Their offense produced 90+ points in the first 4 games. Not only can the Eagles score, but their defense is vicious as well. Marquette is allowing under 60 points a game and has an average margin of victory nearing 30 points. They are also holding their opponents under 35% shooting from the field.

Marquette is dishing out around 19 assists per game while committing only 13 turnovers. With 51% field goal shooting and 37% from the 3-point line, Marquette will prove to be an extremely tough team to defend. With 6 players averaging over 7 points a game, they have the tools to attack relentlessly and the UW defenders cannot afford to double team players or otherwise cheat on their defensive assignments.

The majority of Marquette’s offense comes from inside the arc with the team averaging only 4 or 5 3-pointers per game and most of those come from their top two scorers. What this means for the Huskies is that their outside scoring can be somewhat contained. This is again similar to UW where Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox provide the majority of the 3-point shooting, but others have show the ability to drain from outside.

Norfolk and Wisconsin managed to hold Marquette to 61 points or fewer, but the Golden Eagles prevailed none the less. In all reality there is little chance of this being a low scoring game as both the Dawgs and the Eagles love to push the tempo.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups:

Marquette:

G – Derrick Wilson 6-0 215lb 
G – Darius Johnson-Odom 6-2 215lb
G – Vander Blue 6-4 200lb
F – Jae Crowder 6-6 225lb
F – Chris Otule 6-11 265lb

Washington:

G – Abdul Gaddy 6-3 185lb
G – C.J. Wilcox 6-5 190lb
G – Terrence Ross 6-6 195lb
F – Darnell Gant 6-8 230lb (I would agree in favor of Desmond Simmons getting a starting position until Gant can prove to be more consistent on the court)
C – Aziz N’Diaye 7-0 260lb

Keys to the Game:

  • Rebounding – With the high volume of shots that will likely be going up tomorrow night, cleaning the glass will be crucial. If UW can keep Marquette off the offensive glass, while grabbing their own misses, the Dawgs will be doing themselves a huge favor in keeping the game manageable.
  • Offensive Movement – This was and has been a huge problem for the Huskies not only this season, but in years past as well. When the Dawgs are forced to run a half-court offense, they often find themselves taking poor shots and turning the ball over. I’m hoping Romar gets some X’s and O’s drawn up should they find themselves slowed down once more. When UW can move the ball they find the most success.
  • Ball Control After Friday’s 11 turnover in 11 minute debacle, UW doesn’t have to do much to improve. With such a great backcourt it is frustrating to see the Huskies commit so many silly errors by forcing unnecessary passes. Offensive movement should help solve the turnover problem immensely and ball control will tighten the reigns even more.

Final Thoughts:

This is a tough one. UW matches up well in personnel and tempo, but the Eagles have proven themselves to be a far more consistent and successful team. The Dawgs will have to scratch and claw their way to a victory.

If the Huskies can get some shots dropping early and don’t throw the ball away, they’ll be a few defensive stops away from a huge marque win that will do wonders for their confidence and post-season aspirations.

After the terrible performances UW has had on the road thus far, I’m hard pressed to call a Husky victory in the Big Apple. If there is one they will win though, I’d bet on this game rather than Duke.
Prediction: UW-74 MARQ-84

I just can’t see UW pulling off this one or the Duke game, for that matter. These are top 10 teams with great offensive and defensive ability that prove game in and game out to be tough, tough opponents. It’ll take just about everything going right to pull out the W. I’m holding my breathe, but don’t be surprised if UW gets tossed around a bit.

Go Dawgs!