New York Colleges: Marquette Golden Eagles



Overview: Louisville has crashed the party and joined the Big East Final Four.

The No. 7-seeded Cardinals upset No. 2 seed Marquette on Thursday night, advancing to the Big East tournament semifinals.

MarquetteLouisvilleThe Golden Eagles (25-7), who finished 14-4 in the Big East during the regular season -- their most-ever wins in the conference -- leave New York without a single victory. It's the first time since 2006 -- its inaugural season in the Big East -- that Marquette did not win a game in the tournament.

Turning point: Louisville looked like an entirely different team in the early going than the one that defeated Seton Hall Wednesday night. After scoring 23 in the first 20 minutes against the Pirates, the Cardinals erupted for 50 tonight, leading 50-40 at the break.

Marquette had cut it to 54-50 with 13:29 remaining in the game, when a key sequence occurred. First, Jae Crowder -- the Big East Player of the Year -- picked up his fourth foul with 12:39 left, and exited the game. Soon after, a Peyton Siva offensive rebound led to a Kyle Kuric 3-point attempt, which he buried to make it 57-50. The momentum seemed to have swung back Louisville's way again at that point, and Marquette never got closer than seven the rest of the way.

Key player: For the second night in a row, Siva seemed to be everywhere, and in the middle of everything. The 6-foot junior point guard finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals -- a tremendous performance.

Kuric had a team-high 20 points for Louisville. Darius Johnson-Odom had 23 points to lead Marquette.

Key stat: Twenty-six -- that's how many turnovers Marquette committed tonight. Louisville's pressure defense is tough, but the Golden Eagles have some pretty good ball-handlers. Hard to win a game against anybody with that many TO's.

Miscellaneous: Hope you enjoyed those neon orange Louisville uniforms, because you'll be seeing them again on Friday, since the Cardinals are guaranteed to be the lower seed.

What's next: Louisville will play the winner of No. 3 seed Notre Dame versus No. 6 seed South Floria, Friday at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET.

Marquette heads back to Wisconsin to regroup -- the Golden Eagles should still receive a pretty high seed in the Big Dance.

Marquette notches dramatic win at MSG

December, 7, 2011
12/07/11
1:20
AM ET
NEW YORK -- A season ago, Marquette won 22 games and went all the way to the Sweet Sixteen, yet was just 4-7 in games decided by five points or fewer.

This season is starting very differently, as evidenced by the Golden Eagles’ thrilling 79-77 win over Washington on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden in the Jimmy V Classic.

Marquette, ranked No. 11 in the country, is now 8-0 on the season. Coach Buzz Williams was pleased with the victory, but not with his team’s play early in the game, nor with himself.

“I thought [Washington’s] energy and their intensity to start the game, we were not able to match,” said Williams. “And I think I did a poor job of helping our team when Chris Otule got hurt. (Otule, Marquette’s starting center, sprained a knee less than two minutes in and did not return -- he will have an MRI on Wednesday.) Because that changes how you have to guard ball screens. That changes when and if you’re gonna trap the post, and who you’re gonna trap the post with. And I didn’t think that I handled that very well.

“I thought once we kinda got in a groove, we were better.”

They certainly were. After falling behind quickly 11-2, Marquette rallied back to take its first lead of the game, 27-26, just under six minutes before halftime. The Golden Eagles led 37-34 at intermission.

The second half of this game was a classic see-saw battle, with 18 -- yes, 18! -- lead changes. Neither team led by more than five (and that was only after Marquette’s first bucket of the second half).

The game came down to the final minute. Washington’s Terrence Ross (team-high 19 points) hit a tough foul-line bank shot to give the Huskies a 77-76 lead with 17 seconds left to play. Williams elected not to call a timeout -- he had already gone over a play with his team in an earlier timeout, in case Washington scored on the previous possession.

The ball ended up in senior forward Jae Crowder’s hands. “My man showed pretty hard, I got a good screen from Jamil Wilson to pop out to the corner,” Crowder said. “Once that happened, I knew I had a good look at the rim.”

The shot, from just beyond the 3-point arc, was on the money, giving the Golden Eagles a two-point lead with 6.3 seconds remaining.

Washington elected not to call a timeout, instead pushing the ball up the floor. Abdul Gaddy’s well-defended desperation heave from the right wing was way off at the buzzer.

“Yeah,” said Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, when asked if he thought about calling a timeout to set up a last shot. “Probably in retrospect, probably would have liked to.”

This is the Golden Eagles’ second win by five points or less this season, following a 59-57 win over Norfolk State in the championship game of the Paradise Jam on Nov. 22.

Marquette was also coming off a highly impressive 61-54 win at No. 7 Wisconsin just three days ago. Williams admitted that fatigue may have played a role in his players’ struggles Tuesday night, particularly at the start.

Leading scorer Darius Johnson-Odom had 23 points, but shot just 6-for-17 from the field. Crowder added 18 points, 16 of them coming in the second half.

“I think we’re whipped,” said Williams.

On the bright side, Marquette -- picked to finish sixth in the Big East this season in the conference’s preseason coaches’ poll -- looks like it’s capable of being much better than that, as we inch closer to the beginning of conference play.

Losing Otule for a significant period of time would hurt, to be sure. But this Marquette team is deep -- Williams used 11 players on Tuesday, with seven of them contributing four points or more.

There have been some pleasant surprises. Among them are freshman Todd Mayo, the younger brother of NBA player O.J. Mayo, who scored 11 points off the bench against Washington, and has scored in double figures in five of the team’s first eight games.

There may be some increased competition for playing time in the weeks ahead, and talk of that made Williams grin at the postgame podium.

“Yeah, I like that,” Williams said. “It’s good. Recruit as many good players as you can, win as many games as you can, and play as many as you can along the way.”

Rapid Reax: Marquette 79, Washington 77

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
11:53
PM ET



Here’s a quick take on Marquette’s dramatic 79-77 victory over Washington in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

What it means: No. 11-ranked Marquette improves to 8-0 on the season. Trailing by a point with less than 10 seconds left in the game, Jae Crowder drained a 3-pointer from the right corner to provide the winning points.

Washington falls to 4-3 on the season, after Abdul Gaddy’s well-covered shot attempt from the right wing was way off the mark at the buzzer.

The skinny: Washington got out of the gate quickly, taking an early 11-2 lead and leading to a quick timeout by Marquette coach Buzz Williams. But the Golden Eagles fought back, finally taking their first lead of the game, 27-26, with just under six minutes left in the half. The game remained tight, with Marquette taking a 37-34 lead into the locker room at the break.

The second half of this game was a incredible seesaw battle, with 18 -- yes, 18! -- lead changes, and no team leading by more than five (and that was only after the first bucket after intermission). Terrence Ross hit a tough foul-line bank shot with 17 seconds left to give Washington a 77-76 lead, and then Crowder hit the winner 10 seconds later.

Star watch: Marquette senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom did not have a very good shooting night from the field (6-for-17), but still led the Golden Eagles with 23 points. Crowder chipped in 18.

For Washington, Ross led the way with 19 points, shooting 9-for-14 from the field. C.J. Wilcox added 15 points.

Number crunch: Obviously this was a very tight game -- they don’t get much tighter. Washington was plus-14 on the boards (46-32), including 18-11 on the offensive glass. But Marquette had a 19-5 advantage on made free throws. The Huskies were just 5-for-10 from the charity stripe.

What’s next: Marquette will host Green Bay on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET. Washington will remain in New York City, playing No. 5 Duke at Madison Square Garden on Saturday at noon ET.

Rapid Reaction: UNC 81, Marquette 63

March, 25, 2011
3/25/11
9:30
PM ET


Recap | Box score

NEWARK, N.J. -- A quick take on North Carolina's 81-63 win over Marquette on Friday night at the Prudential Center:

WHAT IT MEANS: The No. 2-seeded Tar Heels (29-7) overpowered the No. 11-seeded Golden Eagles (22-15) in the NCAA tournament East Regional semifinals. After not making the Big Dance a season ago, North Carolina has secured a spot in this year's Elite Eight. UNC has now won 10 straight Sweet 16 games dating back to 1993, the second-longest such streak in NCAA tournament history (UCLA won 12 straight from 1964 to 1976).

Marquette failed in its bid to make the Elite Eight for the first time since 2003, when it was led by Dwyane Wade. With the Golden Eagles departing, 10 of the 11 Big East teams that qualified for this tournament have been eliminated -- only UConn remains.

THE SKINNY: Marquette hung with North Carolina for the first 10 minutes or so, even taking a 10-8 lead with 12:43 remaining on a Jae Crowder lay-in. But the Tar Heels launched a 19-0 run from that point and ended up outscoring the Golden Eagles 32-5 the rest of the half, taking a 40-15 lead at intermission. Tyler Zeller and John Henson had 12 points apiece for UNC, while Marquette shot 6-for-30 (20 percent), 0-for-8 from 3-point range and committed 12 turnovers. Assist totals at the half? Carolina 9, Marquette 0. Enough said.

(The 15 first-half points was the second-fewest North Carolina has ever allowed in an NCAA tournament game. The fewest? Eight, versus Pittsburgh in 1941.)

The Tar Heels picked up where they left off after the break, with an 11-3 run to take their largest lead of the game, 51-18. With a margin that great, it's tough for a team to continue to go full-throttle, and North Carolina took its foot off the gas. Marquette kept plugging away -- as you'd expect a team coached by Buzz Williams would -- and got the deficit all the way down to 14 with under five minutes remaining. But that's as close as the Golden Eagles came. North Carolina was never threatened.

STAR WATCH: North Carolina's imposing front of line of the 7-foot Zeller, the 6-foot-10 Henson, and the 6-foot-8 Harrison Barnes imposed its will on this undersized Marquette squad. Zeller had a monster game, with 27 points and 15 rebounds. Henson also had a double-double, with 14 points and 12 boards. Barnes had 20 points and nine rebounds, and point guard Kendall Marshall had seven points and seven assists.

For Marquette, four players were in double-figures -- led by reserve forward Davante Gardner, who had 16 points.

NUMBER CRUNCH: Marquette was the No. 33 shooting team in the country coming in, making 46.8 percent from the floor. On Friday night, the Golden Eagles shot just 36.5 percent (23-for-63). Also, Marquette was No. 23 in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3-to-1) -- on Friday night it had 18 turnovers, and only eight assists.

WHAT'S NEXT: North Carolina will play No. 4 Kentucky on Sunday afternoon, with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

Marquette flies home to Milwaukee -- its season is over.

Rapid Reaction: Louisville 81, Marquette 56

March, 11, 2011
3/11/11
12:00
AM ET
Recap | Box score | Photos

NEW YORK -- A quick take on No. 3 seed Louisville’s 81-56 win over No. 10 seed Marquette on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden:

WHAT IT MEANS: Louisville did it to Marquette again. On Jan. 15, the Cardinals rallied from an 18-point deficit in the final 5:44 to stun the Golden Eagles in a 71-70 win. It was a little easier for Louisville on Thursday night. Louisville held Marquette to 29.8 percent shooting and hit 13-of-31 from beyond the arc to overwhelm the Golden Eagles. The Cardinals will face No. 2 seed Notre Dame in the tournament semifinal on Friday night. Louisville lost in the second round of the conference tournament last season. They won the whole thing in 2010. Marquette, which reached the Big East semifinals in 2010 and 2008, finishes the season at 20-14. The Golden Eagles are expected to be one of a record 11 Big East teams to make the NCAA tournament.

THE SKINNY: Both teams shot under 40 percent in the first half, but Louisville took a 36-31 lead into the locker room on the strength of six three-pointers. The Cardinals’ lead ballooned to 12 at the 13:53 mark thanks to a Mike Marra 3-pointer -- his fifth of the night. The Golden Eagles couldn’t muster a response, shooting just 2-of-9 to open the half. After Preston Knowles knocked down a 3-pointer with 6:41 to play to put Louisville up 18, Marquette coach Buzz Williams called timeout, the only thing he could do to slow down the Cardinals’ shooters on Thursday night. Knowles added another 3-pointer with just under two minutes to play gave the Cardinals a 25-point lead.

STAR WATCH: Louisville’s Marra finished with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including six makes from beyond the arc. Knowles finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Marquette’s Jimmy Butler had 14 points on 3-of-10 shooting.

NUMBER CRUNCH: Louisville loves to shoot the 3 -- the Cardinals finished the regular season ninth in the country in makes per game (8.8) and 10th in attempts (24.0). That continued on Thursday night. They shot 12 free-throws and 31 from beyond the arc. Nearly half (39) of their 81 points came from 3-pointers. The Cardinals also continued their strong play of late on the defensive end. Marquette was the sixth straight Cardinals foe to shoot under 40 percent.

WHAT’S NEXT: Louisville will face No. 2 seed Notre Dame, which boasts Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough, who had 23 points in the Irish’s 89-51 win over Cincinnati. Hansbrough poured in a team-high 25 points in Notre Dame’s 89-79 overtime home win over Louisville on Feb. 9.

Rapid Reaction: Marquette 67, WVU 61

March, 9, 2011
3/09/11
11:59
PM ET


Recap | Box score | Photos

NEW YORK -- A quick take on Marquette's 67-61 upset of West Virginia on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden:

WHAT IT MEANS: The defending Big East tournament champs are done. The Mountaineers' offense went cold late in the second half, and they couldn't make enough stops down the stretch in a disappointing second-round loss to the 11th-seeded Golden Eagles.

Marquette (20-13) likely sealed a bid to the NCAA tournament with the win. The Golden Eagles finished the regular season with two losses -- and a 9-9 record in Big East play -- but beat Providence 87-66 in the first round of the conference tournament Tuesday.

THE SKINNY: Following a Bob Huggins timeout, West Virginia (20-11) closed the first half on a 14-1 run to head into the locker room with a 36-29 lead. WVU held Marquette scoreless over the final 5:22 of the half.

Marquette cut a 10-point Mountaineers lead to two with 14 minutes to play on consecutive layups by Junior Cadougan. Jae Crowder hit a 3-pointer with 10 minutes to play to give the Golden Eagles a 53-51 lead, their first since the 3:21 mark of the first half.

The teams traded free throws for the next five minutes. Darius Johnson-Odom broke up the parade to the line with a 3-pointer with 4:36 to play, putting Marquette up 58-55. Johnson-Odom hit another 3-pointer with 3:53 to play as the lead ballooned to six. From there, Marquette went 4-for-5 from the line to seal the win.

West Virginia, which went scoreless from 5:50 to 1:40 in the second half, had a chance to tie with 30 seconds to play when Marquette, up 64-61, threw away an inbounds pass. But Darryl Bryant missed a layup, and Cadougan converted two free throws on the other end to seal it.

STAR WATCH: Cadougan finished with 15 points and went 7-of-9 from the line, hitting key free throws late in the second half. Johnson-Odom finished with 11 points, and Jimmy Butler had nine.

West Virginia's Kevin Jones, who attended Mount Vernon High School in Westchester, had 15 points. Brooklyn product Bryant, who had 25 points in the first Marquette-West Virginia game, finished with 10 on Wednesday.

NUMBERS CRUNCH: West Virginia entered play Wednesday night ranked sixth in the country in defending the 3-point shot, allowing opponents to shoot just 28.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Mountaineers held to form in the first half, holding Marquette to one make on four attempts from beyond the arc. But the Golden Eagles hit four of seven in the second half to finish at 45 percent.

The duo of Butler (16.2 ppg) and Johnson-Odom (15.9 ppg) came in averaging more than 30 points. They combined for just 20 on Wednesday, but Johnson-Odom scored seven big points in the second half.

WHAT'S NEXT: Marquette will face No. 3 seed and 14th-ranked Louisville on Thursday. The Golden Eagles lost to the Cardinals by one point on Jan. 15 at Louisville.

Rapid React: Marquette 87, Providence 66

March, 8, 2011
3/08/11
11:42
PM ET
NEW YORK -- A quick take on Marquette's 87-66 win over Providence on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

WHAT IT MEANS: Marquette, the No. 11 seed, advances to the second round of the Big East tournament by knocking off No. 14 seed Providence. The Golden Eagles (19-13, 9-9) likely locked up a bid to the NCAA tournament with this victory. It's the fifth year in a row Marquette has won at least one game in the Big East tourney.

The Friars (15-17, 4-14) are eliminated from the tournament.

THE SKINNY: You can't get off to a much better start than Marquette did in this game, scoring the first 17 points of the contest, as it took Providence over five and a half minutes to get on the board. The Golden Eagles led by as many as 24, 41-17, but the Friars fought back to cut the deficit to 13 at intermission, 46-33.

Early in the second half, Providence closed it to within seven, 50-43, and had a possession to cut it to five (or four). But that was as close as it got. Marquette quickly pushed the lead back into double digits, and except for one brief dip to nine, it remained there the rest of the way.

STAR WATCH: Marshon Brooks -- the second-leading scorer in the country (24.8 ppg) -- had 20 points, on 7-for-18 shooting from the field for Providence. Brooks set the Big East single-season scoring record this year (468 points in 18 conference games), but this was certainly not his best night.

Marquette's dynamic scoring duo of Jimmy Butler (16.2 ppg) and Darius Johnson-Odom (15.9 ppg) performed well -- Johnson-Odom had 23 points, and Butler added 19.

NUMBER CRUNCH: Providence did make 13 3-pointers in this game, of 30 attempts -- 43.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc is pretty darn good.

What's not good is what the Friars shot from inside the arc -- a woeful 11-for-38 (28.9 percent). Ouch.

WHAT'S NEXT: Marquette will take on No. 6 seed West Virginia on Wednesday night at approximately 9:30 p.m. Providence will head back to Rhode Island, its season over.

Tale Of The Tape: St. John's-Marquette

February, 16, 2011
2/16/11
4:45
AM ET
Some observations from watching the tape of St. John's 80-68 win at Marquette on Tuesday night, after I returned home from watching Seton Hall lose a heartbreaker to Villanova in Newark:

TEAMWORK: This was one of St. John's best team efforts of the season -- several players made major contributions. Yes, Dwight Hardy had another outstanding scoring night, pouring in 28 points. But three other players were in double figures: D.J. Kennedy (15 points), Justin Brownlee (11) and Justin Burrell (10). Brownlee also chipped in seven rebounds. Burrell had 12 rebounds -- six of them on the offensive end. And Malik Boothe scored only four points, but had six assists and three steals. There was a lot of credit to go around.

Burrell's output was particularly noteworthy, because he had just seven points and 11 rebounds in the team's past three games combined. Burrell is a very important member of this squad -- St. John's needs him to be effective scoring in the post and cleaning up on the glass. That was Burrell's first double-double of the season, and he got it despite suffering a bad cut to his upper lip that required five stitches after the game.

GETTING DEFENSIVE: St. John's did a tremendous job against one of the best offensive teams in college basketball. The Red Storm held the highest-scoring team in the Big East to 10 points under their average (77.8). Marquette came in No. 16 in all of Division I, shooting 48.0 percent from the field -- St. John's held the Golden Eagles to 43.5 percent (20-for-46). Marquette was No. 9 in D-1 in assists-to-tunover ratio (1.43-to-1) -- the Golden Eagles got 18 assists, but they also committed 18 turnovers. (And, St. John's committed only eight.)

DWIGHT BUCKETS: Hardy continues to blossom before our very eyes -- he now has scored 26 or more points in four of the team's past six games. He just looks like a different player than he was at the beginning of the season. Whether he elects to pull up for a jumper in transition, shakes his defender and penetrates into the paint, or is on the receiving end of a backdoor pass, Hardy just looks in complete control right now.

Watching him now, I can't help but think back to early November, and St. John's Media Day in Queens. Coach Steve Lavin raised a lot of eyebrows in his news conference that day when he said that Hardy was as good a shooter as he had ever coached. And when Hardy started off the season by shooting just 16-for-56 (28.6 percent) in the team's first six games, you wondered if Lavin had made a gross exaggeration.

Turns out Lavin was on the money. Hardy has been sensational, for the most part, after that slow start.

DANCIN' MACHINE: I've written the past couple of weeks that I think St. John's needs to finish .500 in the Big East to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002. Amazingly, the Red Storm are just one win away from guaranteeing at least a .500 conference record, and they still have five games to play.

What makes Tuesday night's win most impressive is that, to be honest, St. John's did not need it. Realistically, the Red Storm would have been happy to win just one of the two games on this mini-road trip to Cincinnati and Marquette. After squeaking past Cincinnati on Sunday, St. John's was playing with house money. When Marquette broke a 38-38 halftime tie by scoring the first seven points after intermission, it would not have been surprising to see the Golden Eagles run away with the game. Except, the Red Storm ran away with it from that point on instead.

After St. John's lost back-to-back games to St. Bonaventure and Fordham back in December, Lavin spoke about how his team would need to steal a game or two later on in the season -- games that St. John's was not supposed to win. Well, the Red Storm have already accomplished that, beating teams like Duke and UConn (handily, no less). And this victory falls in that category as well.

It's time to stop talking about whether St. John's is going Dancing, and time to start talking about what seed the Red Storm will get, and how far they can go.

W2W4: St. John's at Marquette

February, 15, 2011
2/15/11
2:15
PM ET
Here are three things to watch in Tuesday night's game between St. John's (15-9, 7-5 in Big East) and Marquette (15-10, 6-6) at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisc.

Tip-off is at 9 p.m., and the game will air on ESPNU. The game will also be available on ESPN3.com.

D-FENSE! St. John's better bring the defensive intensity on Tuesday, because Marquette is one of the best offensive teams in the country. The Golden Eagles are No. 22 in all of Division I (and tops in the Big East), averaging 77.8 points per game. They are also No. 16 in field-goal percentage (48.0) and assists per game (16.6), and No. 9 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.43-to-1).

St. John's has played a very effective swarming defense in their big wins over ranked opponents this season. But there have also been games when they've been lackluster on that end of the floor and been torched -- particularly from the 3-point line. Four of Marquette's five starters shoot 37.5 percent or better from beyond the arc, so the Red Storm better get out on those shooters.

Darius Johnson-Odom -- a 6-foot-2 junior from Raleigh, N.C. -- is Marquette's top scorer, averaging 16.2 points per game.

A REUNION OF SORTS: Another one of Marquette's shooters -- 6-foot-3 senior Dwight Buycks -- was a teammate of St. John's guard Dwight Hardy at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa. The two of them led Indian Hills to a 58-13 record in their two seasons there, and the team was ranked as high as No. 2 in the country.

Buycks was named an All-American at Indian Hills, while Hardy was an all-region selection. But Hardy has blossomed into the better player at the Division I level. He was named the Big East Player of the Week earlier this week, for the second time this season. Hardy is now averaging 16.6 points per game, to lead the Red Storm.

Buycks is averaging 9.9 points per game for Marquette, but is very dangerous from downtown, shooting at a 42.6 percent clip from behind the 3-point line.

LETDOWN? After St. John's dramatic 59-57 win at Cincinnati on Sunday, the Red Storm are actually in very good shape, in terms of making the NCAA Tournament. With the Red Storm's current RPI ranking (No. 17) and strength-of-schedule ranking (No. 2), going .500 in the Big East should be enough to punch their Dance ticket. That means they need two more wins in their final six games, and they still have home games remaining versus the two last-place teams in the conference, DePaul and South Florida.

But does this team just want to get into the Big Dance for the first time since 2002, or does it want to do some damage in it? The Red Storm has climbed to a No. 7 seed in the latest Bracketology projection, and they could keep climbing by collecting more quality wins against teams like Marquette. The better the seed, the better the chance of winning a game or two in the tournament.

Marquette beat St. John's twice last season, both times by just two points -- 63-61 in overtime at Carnesecca Arena, and then 57-55 at Madison Square Garden in the second round of the Big East tournament. Maybe that will provide some extra motivation for St. John's to pick up a win in Milwaukee this evening.

W2W4: Rutgers vs. Marquette

January, 5, 2011
1/05/11
5:25
PM ET
Here are three things to watch in Wednesday night's Rutgers-Marquette matchup, which can be viewed on ESPN3.com. The game will also air locally on SNY.

TIRED BODIES? Rutgers (9-4, 0-1 in the Big East) already had a pretty thin bench, before it was announced on Tuesday that reserve guard Austin Carroll is out four-to-six weeks because of a knee injury. We'll see if Mike Rice's now eight-man rotation can keep up the defensive intensity their coach demands for 40 minutes.

NUMBERS GAME: Marquette (10-4, 1-0) is 16th in the country in scoring (81.4 ppg), seventh in field-goal shooting (50.4 percent), and fourth in assists (18.5 apg) -- the Golden Eagles like to play up-tempo, and the Scarlet Knights want the exact opposite. If it's a high-scoring affair, Rutgers almost certainly will be on the losing end.

BODY LANGUAGE: After an exciting 9-2 start under their new coach, the Scarlet Knights have suffered back-to-back double-digit defeats against North Carolina and Villanova. Marquette hasn't gotten much press, but the Golden Eagles will be tough to beat, even at the RAC -- their four losses have all been close and against tough opponents: Duke (by five), Gonzaga (by three), Wisconsin (by five) and Vanderbilt (by one). If you're a Rutgers fan, you just want to see your team compete hard and hang in there, even if they lose. What you're afraid of seeing is a team that starts to look discouraged and loses big.

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