"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Monday, January 16, 2006

Marquette Travels to DePaul

Marquette finishes its three game road trip when they storm into the Rosemont Horizon on Tuesday night to take on the DePaul Blue Demons. Marquette (12-5, 2-2) jumps into the fire after a road loss to West Virginia. The Blue Demons (8-7, 1-3) enter the game after a gut-wrenching overtime loss at home to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

The game will mark the 102nd meeting between these long-time rivals, a series MU leads 59-42. The universities have split the last four contests. Marquette has won 24 of the last 30 matchups, but has lost the last two games at their unofficial 'Home Away From Home'.

The game will feature a battle of two of the Big East's most productive freshmen, Dominic James and Wilson Chandler. James, averaging 14.6 points to go along with 5.8 assists and more than four rebounds per game, has emerged as the front-runner for the Big East rookie of the year honor. Wilson Chandler is not far behind, averaging nearly 10 points and eight rebounds per contest.

MU will look to re-ignite Steve Novak, who is coming off of his worst outing in conference play. Novak, MU's leading scorer at nearly 16ppg, has not endured back-to-back single-digit scoring performances yet this season. After the WVU speedbump, expect Novak to deliver early for the Golden Eagles.

Jerel McNeal has also struggled of late, shooting 7 for 19 and coughing up 11 turnovers in his first two Big East road games. McNeal will likely draw a tough matchup with DePaul's Sammy Mejia on Tuesday night.

Mejia is having his best season as a Blue Demon, averaging better than 15ppg on nearly 50% shooting. The emergence of Miami transfer Karron Clarke affords Coach Wainwright a number of options, particularly defensively against teams that lack legitimate post scoring options. Expect Wainwright to be creative with Burns, Mejia, Clarke, Clinkscales, and Currie. With DPU's deep and athletic backcourt, this could be the first game where the absence of Wesley Matthews is particularly damaging for MU.

Ryan Amoroso, coming off an encouraging eight point, seven rebound outing against WVU, might be primed for a breakout game. Amoroso's ability to score both inside and out could make him a difficult matchup for DePaul's lumbering post players, Wesley Green and Marlon Brumfeld.

Here are a few previews:

By the way, how great is it when a major Chicago newspaper leads their preview of the MU/DPU tilt with a sensational assessment of the Marquette program. Good morning, Coach Wainwright and any number of future Golden Eagle basketball players!! Anyway, The Chicago Sun-Times notes that Marquette is 'ahead of schedule'.

Here's Rosiak's preview, with a focus on McNeal.

Here is the DePaul.Scout.Com site preview.

Here's the Chicago Tribune preview.

No comments: