Fresh off an ill-timed thumping at the hands of the Dayton Flyers, Marquette plays host to the Central Michigan Chippewas tonight at the Bradley Center.
As Rob pointed out in his Dayton recap last night, Marquette's defense on Saturday night was atrocious. A return to Cupcakeville might be all this team can handle right now. MU's lack of defensive prowess is emerging as a paramount concern for group that last year ranked in the top third in both scoring defense and field goal percentage defense in the BIG EAST. So far this season MU is 14th in the BIG EAST in scoring defense and 15th in field goal percentage defense, abominable numbers considering the veteran roster and a decidedly weak schedule to date.
Enter Central Michigan. The Chippewas are 2-3 on the season, with their wins coming against Princeton and Wright State. Central Michigan lost at UIC last week 77-67, despite 17 points from Robbie Harman.
The Chippewas are led by the duo of 6'8" center Chris Kellerman (16ppg, 6 rpg) and 6'3" G/F Jeremy Allen (14 ppg, 4 rpg). Allen has scored in double figures in four straight games and has a pair of 20-point outings this season. Although he lines up as a center Kellerman is among CMU's best three-point shooters, making better than 38% of his shots from downtown. Despite his productivity -- Kellerman has more than doubled his scoring average year to year -- the big fella is foul prone, having been disqualified in three of the Chippewas' first five games.
As their record indicates, the Chippewas are not very good. Their Pomeroy Scouting Report presently has them ranked at #250, or right in the middle of Cupcakeville.
Some of the Chippewas' greatest weaknesses also seem to match up fairly well against Marquette's strengths. The Chippewas turn the ball over at a rate of 25.9% (#306 in the country) and they allow opponents to get to the line at a rate of 54.5% (#329 in the country). Look for Marquette to force a turnover about one out of every three possessions, and be disappointed if it's only one out of four. For everyone that was disappointed with the team going 64% from the free throw line against Dayton, expect Marquette to spend a lot of time practicing in-game free throws tonight.
If you like a little pessimism with your cupcake, have some concern on the perimeter. Central Michigan, I mean, the Chippewas, are #83 in the nation at shooting the ball from beyond the arc, and they're #49 in the nation at three-point defense. Finally, the Chippewas do a fairly decent job of forcing turnovers themselves (TO% of 23.3%), so don't be surprised if Marquette gives up a few more turnovers than normal.
Tipoff for tonight's game is scheduled for 7pm and will be broadcast on the BIG EAST Network
- The official Marquette game notes.
- Rosiak blogs a preview of the tilt between the Golden Eagles and the Chippewas.