"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

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

MU seeks vital road win at USF

As John Pudner points out in his overnight post the final eight games of the Big East schedule might not be as manageable as many think with the Warriors potentially staring at a 9-9 finish in conference play. And let's face it -- 9-9 is likely an NIT caliber finish.

Of course, this is why they play the games. The back stretch of the Warriors' conference slate is still more manageable than the first 10 games of the gauntlet, even if the team finds itself in the middle of a three-game road stretch.

Tonight Marquette (14-9, 5-5 BIG EAST) heads into Tampa for a winnable road game against the USF Bulls, once again one of the most disappointing teams in the Big East but a team that often gives MU fits. USF is led by a tall, athletic baseline which figures to try and dominate the backboard in hopes of holding off the high-octane Warriors. USF (8-16, 2-9 BIG EAST) is reeling having lost 9 of 11 heading into tonight's game. As columnist Tom Zebold points out, times are tough for USF men's basketball and MU can expect dozens of USF fans to turn out for the big game.

Ken Pomeroy predicts a 71-64 MU victory. USF is a poor offensive team overall and one of the worst in the country from three-point range. The Bulls' saving grace is that they are one of the nation's best at pounding the offensive glass (but you knew that already thanks to Pudner). Defensively the Bulls force fewer turnovers than just about any team in the nation, so expect MU to get the shots it wants for most of the night.

By the way, Rosiak's article on (promising) benchwarmers Jamail Jones and Erik Williams is revealing and a must-read. Also, here are the MU game notes.

Tipoff is scheduled for 6pm Marquette Standard Time. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

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