The Marquette Golden Eagles, fresh off a road win at Seton Hall, travel to West Virginia to take on the surging Moutaineers on Saturday. Marquette enters the game at 12-4 overall, and 2-1 in conference play.
West Virginia is 3-0 in the Big East, winning their first two conference road games of the season before dispatching Georgetown in their home opener on Wednesday night. The Moutaineers are 11-3 overall.
WVU is a talented, veteran team led by seniors Mike Gansey and Kevin Pittsnogle. Pittsnogle, the 6'11" senior center, is having a terrific year averaging more than 20ppg to go along with 6rpg. He's shooting a blistering 48% from behind the arc. Gansey, who transferred to WVU from St. Bonaventure, scores nearly 19ppg and is hitting trifectas at a 48% clip as well. Gansey and Pittsnogle are the only Mountaineers averaging double figures.
According to official Big East statistics, "West Virginia leads the league in assists (19.6), turnover margin (+9.1) and assist/turnover ratio (2.1) " Will McNeal, James and company be able to rattle the steady Mountaineers?
In recent years, the Golden Eagles have struggled to defend the perimeter so expect MU to throw a variety of defenses at the Mountaineers. In the Seton Hall game, MU used a matchup zone effectively in spots - - but the Pirates also landed up with a handful of open jumpers. When MU slips into man-to-man, the McNeal/Gansey matchup will be fierce but Pittsnogle will create a matchup advantage with any defender MU throws his way.
Of course, with Steve Novak averaging 27ppg and 11rpg through his first three conference games, Coach Beilein will have a few matchup concerns of his own.
This game is a tough matchup for MU but if the first three Big East games have proven anything, its clear that this young team can compete with the league's best (at least at home). Will it be enough to secure a road victory against the nation's 16th ranked team? We'll soon find out.
Here is the GoMarquette preview.
FoxSports compares Novak and Pittsnogle.