DePaul Blue Demons vs. Marquette Golden Eagles - Saturday, January 24th, 1:00 p.m. Central
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DePaul has not won at Marquette since 2000, and the sledding will be as tough as ever as the Demons (8-11 and 0-6 in Big East play) travel to Milwaukee this Saturday to face off against a red hot (16-2, 5-0 in Big East play) Golden Eagle squad that is currently ranked in the top 10(10th in the coaches poll and 11th in the Associated Press poll).
By now you know the story. Marquette is led by a triumvirate of senior guards: Dominic James (11.6 ppg and team high 5.2 apg), Wesley Matthews (19.1 ppg-3rd in the Big East) and Jerel McNeal (18.8 ppg). They are all career 1,000 point scorers.
The Golden Eagles are a fast pace team who love to get up and down the floor and score. They lead the Big East in scoring with an average of 81.6 ppg. Not only is the team paced by its trio of senior guards, but Marquette gets a vastly underrated performance night in an night out from 6-6 Junior Lazar Hayward (16.9 ppg and a team leading 8.4 rpg).
In fact, Marquette is one of only two teams in the nation to feature three players who average at least 16 ppg, VMI (who leads the country in scoring) being the other.
While Marquette was predicted to finish sixth by the Big East coaches in the pre-season poll, it is the Golden Eagles along with Louisville who sit tied atop the Big East standings at 5-0. The Golden Eagles just might have their best team since the Dwyane Wade era. Marquette scores at will with Matthews and McNeal being a handful to stop, and judging by DePaul's defensive statistics (13th in defensive scoring and 14th in defensive field goal percentage), don't expect anything to change on Saturday.
It's not just offense that Marquette thrives on. McNeal is a defensive dynamo, who is widely regarded as the Big East's best defender. While Marquette may be in the lower tier in defensive scoring and field goal percentage themselves (11th in both), they force you into their tempo and that is what makes them so dangerous. You can not run with the Golden Eagles or you will be burned.
DePaul has to be disciplined and be patient with the ball and try to make this a half court game and pound it inside, specifically to Mac Koshwal (14.5 ppg and 10.6 rpg-3rd in the Big East). Marquette is susceptible to getting beat inside as they are a somewhat small team. But what Marquette lacks in height they make up for in aggressiveness as they frequently get to the line and convert at a high rate (72.3 %-4th in the Big East).
While the standings and statistics scream a lopsided affair, never diminish the fact that this is a rivalry game. Marquette is forecasting a sellout, so expect a fired up group for an intense battle in America's Dairyland.
DePaul Coach Jerry Wainwright on the Golden Eagles
"My hats off to Coach Williams and his team. I think it's one of the best teams in the country. They have arguably one of the best combinations of three perimeter kids. I've really enjoyed watching Jerel, Wes, and Dominic. They play exceptional offense. They're very aggressive. They've got a great chemistry. They really use their experience to play together to play the game the right way. They're a hard-nosed team. It's a terrific task for our kids to go up there to not only play them, but to put themselves in a position to maybe shorten the game and have a chance at the end to beat them on their home court."
Wainwright on Wes Matthews
"I really give him a lot of credit, when he was a younger player where maybe he couldn't go a few dribbles without possibly having a turnover. His shooting was somewhat inconsistent. He obviously represents a young man who has worked very hard on his game and also worked very hard on his physique. His endurance and his ability to sustain against bigger players I think sets the standard for a lot of the young players in the league. That's the level that you've got to raise your body to and raise your game to, to be successful at his height. The number that really shows his toughness is how he gets to the free throw line. He's making free throws at a very high percentage right now. That is a tremendous weapon, because he is really an attack player. He is one of the most improved players in our league and maybe one of the more underated players in the whole country."
Wainwright on Marquette's Guard Trio
"They will certainly have the opportunity to play at the next level. I think all three of them will play for money. To see them grow together and be a cornerstone of program, I don't recall three like that grow together for four years, play early, and finish their career together. It may be a long time in all honesty before that happens again. They started as the group that was going to be the backbone of the program following Dwyane Wade. Their imprint on what that program is will be everlasting. I can't recall that happening since the early-entry stuff to the pros.
The Last Time
In January of 2008, the Blue Demons trekked to Milwaukee to lose 79-71 to the Golden Eagles in front of a record crowd of 19,037 fans.
Dominic James led Marquette with 19 points, while Mac Koshwal led the Blue Demons with a double–double of 19 points and 12 rebounds. Senior guard and Milwaukee native Draelon Burns also scored 19 points for the Demons.
No. Name Ht./Wt. Pos. Year Hometown (High School)
1 Dominic James 5-11/185 G SR Richmond, Ind. (Richmond)
2 Maurice Acker 5-8/165 G JR Hazel Crest, Ill. (Hillcrest)
4 Patrick Hazel 6-7/220 F SO Queens, N.Y. (Blair Academy)
10 David Cubillan 6-0/175 G JR Maracaibo, Venezuela (St. Benedict's (N.J.))
12 Dwight Burke 6-8/250 F SR Brooklyn, N.Y. (St. Benedict's Prep (N.J.))
21 Joseph Fulce 6-7/205 F SO Plano, Texas (Plano)
22 Jerel McNeal 6-3/200 G SR Chicago, Ill. (Hillcrest)
23 Wesley Matthews 6-5/215 G SR Madison, Wis. (Memorial)
32 Lazar Hayward 6-6/225 F JR Buffalo, N.Y. (Notre Dame Prep (Mass.))
33 Jimmy Butler 6-6/215 G SO Tomball, Texas (Tomball)
42 Chris Otule 6-10/245 C FR Richmond, Texas (Ft. Bend Bush)
45 Robert Frozena 6-1/180 G SO Sherwood, Wis. (St. Mary Central)
55 Liam McMorrow 7-0/260 C SO Toronto, Ontario (West Hill Collegiate HS)
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