"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

Friday, February 02, 2007

Win it for Wade

With Dywane Wade back on campus to have his jersey retired, the Marquette Golden Eagles (19-4, 6-2) return from a six day layoff on Saturday afternoon when they host the Providence Friars at the Bradley Center. MU is the talk of the Big East after ripping off six straight victories following a disappointing 0-2 start in conference play. Tom Crean's crew made great strides during the first half of conference play despite playing five of their first eight Big East games on the road.

The Friars enter Saturday's game at 14-6 overall and 4-3 in the Big East. Providence defeated MU 74-59 last month. Tim Welsh's young Friars have not played since defeating UConn at the Hartford Civic Center last Saturday to earn their first road win in conference play.

Providence is led by the efficient Herbert Hill, who delivers 17 points and 8 boards per game. Hill has been even better in conference games where he leads the league in both scoring and rebounding. The senior post player shoots a blistering 67% from the floor and played one of his best games of the season against MU when he hung 23 and 9 on the Golden Eagles. Sophomore point guard Sharaud Curry returned from suspension several weeks ago, and paid immediate dividends for the Friars. At 16ppg, the talented sophomore keys the Friars' attack. Still, the toughest matchup on the floor for the Golden Eagles will be sophomore Geoff McDermott. The 6'7" power forward is the Big East's most versatile player, pouring in 12ppg to go along with 10 boards and a team-high 5.4 assists per outing. When your power forward leads a team in assists, you can bet that creates huge matchup concerns for the opposition. McDermott dominated Marquette last month, just missing a triple double (11 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds). McDermott had more assists than the entire MU team -- yuck.

While Curry missed the Big East opener, MU was without Jerel McNeal and although Wesley Matthews played, he had not practiced much leading into the contest. During MU's six-game tear, McNeal has been the team's most vital performer, setting the tone both offensively and defensively as the Golden Eagles turned the season around. Much like last season, McNeal's performance in conference games is superior to his performance on the out-of-conference slate. With McNeal healthy, MU has played stifling defense during the six-game run (sans the USF outing) -- something they failed to do at The Dunk to open conference play.

Marquette will retire Dwyane Wade's jersey #3 in a ceremony on Saturday. Here's a nice photo essay on DWade from Marquette Hoops.

The AP filed this one.

Here's a game preview from Eric Silver on scout.com.

Here's the MUScoop information header for Saturday's game.

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