The pursuit of Marquette's (slim chances) of a first-ever BIG EAST title continues on Saturday afternoon when the Golden Eagles (22-4, 11-2) travel to Washington, D.C. to take on the Georgetown Hoyas (14-10, 5-8). Much has been made of The Gauntlet that MU faces during the final two weeks of the regular season, and while the Hoyas are the only one of the final five opponents not ranked, John Thompson's squad is playing better of late.
After enduring back-to-back overtime losses at the hands of Syracuse and Cincinnati, the hard-luck Hoyas embarrassed USF in Tampa earlier in the week, 65-40. With a bounce-back win in hand, the Hoyas will surely ride a wave of emotion on Saturday as they'll celebrate the 25th anniversary of its national title by welcoming back the members of that dominant squad.
In the teams' first meeting of the season, MU ran away with a convincing 92-84 victory. Marquette was able to overcome a gallant effort from the Hoyas' DaJuan Summers (22 points, 7 rebounds) thanks to a Herculean performance by Jerel McNeal and a huge disparity in free throws (Marquette made 30 freebies while Georgetown attempted just 8).
Life on the road figures to be much tougher for Marquette, though the Hoyas have lost three BIG EAST conference games at home so far this year. DaJuan Summers leads the Georgetown in scoring at 14 points per game, while freshman big man Greg Monroe adds 13 points and 7 rebounds. Sophomore point guard Chris Wright also scores 13 per game and is averaging 21 points in the last two outings.
Game time is 1 pm CT on ESPN. This is Marquette's ninth national TV broadcast of the season. By the way, the three games after this are all national broadcasts too.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Not a lot has changed since our first preview of the Georgetown game, although the Hoyas are shooting better from behind the arc. Check out out Pomeroy's scouting report for the most up-to-date info. What has changed, however, are the statistics recommendations.
Specific Statistics Recommendations (In order of importance)
1. Stop Georgetown from making shots (eFG% of 55% or less) - this is 24 FGM (including six threes), which is right at their average
2. Protect the ball (turnover rate of 15% or less), which translates to ten turnovers, or two less than average
3. Get offensive rebounds (OR% of 22% or higher), which is 8 offensive rebounds (three less than season average)
4. Prevent offensive rebounds (GU OR% of 29% or less)... this is one less offensive rebound than their average
5. Force turnovers (GU turnover rate of 21% or higher), which is right at their season average
6. Make shots (eFG% of 55.7% or higher)
Model conclusion (Bottom line)
Pomeroy thinks we're going to lose (28% chance of victory). However, my predictions give us a 63% chance of victory and three point margin. Let's see who's right this time, because this is the most winnable road game Marquette has left on the schedule. The model predicts that Marquette will have an advantage on turnovers and field goals, but lose on offensive rebounds and free throw rate. The game is predicted to be an offensive game, with Marquette around season average, but defense worse than average.
- Here is Rosiak's blog preview
- The official GoMarquette.com preview, including their game notes
- Don't forget to check out this game's podcasts, including Buzz Williams, Wesley Matthews, and Dwight Burke