All systems are go

The Marquette Golden Eagles tip off the 2010-11 campaign against the Prairie View A&M Panthers on Friday night at the Bradley Center.

Marquette Golden Eagles (0-0, 0-0 Big East) vs. Prairie View A&M Panthers (0-0, 0-0 SWAC)

Bradley Center-Milwaukee, Wis.

8:00 PM CST Friday

TV:
ESPN3.com, ESPN Full Court, TWS 32

Broadcast Team: Dennis Krause (play-by-play) and Jim McIlvaine (analyst) will call the action

The Marquette Golden Eagles' quest for a sixth-straight NCAA Tournament bid begins on Friday night.

With the graduation of Lazar Hayward, MU will look for senior forward Jimmy Butler and junior guard Darius Johnson-Odom to expand their roles on the court.

The six-foot-seven Butler improved remarkably between his sophomore and junior season increasing his averages to 14.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. This season he will have to play a larger part on the glass in replacing Hayward.

Johnson-Odom splashed on to the scene last year, pouring in 13 points-per-game while connecting on 47.4 percent of his trey attempts, in just his first season at the division one level. He too will be expected to play an increased role this season.

In MU's lone exhibition game, both Johnson-Odom and Butler showed some rough edges, scoring just 10 and nine points, respectively. Junior college transfer Jae Crowder led the way for the Golden Eagles scoring 15 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.

Marquette head coach Buzz Williams thinks the Golden Eagles need to improve on several things for Friday night.

"We'll have to play with more passion than we did on Saturday," said Williams. "And I think that we will. We've had a really good week of preparation. But we need to be a lot more aggressive relative to our attitudes and relative to our energy level."

One area that Marquette will likely be tested in is limiting turnovers. The Panthers feature a small and quick backcourt that can be problematic for an MU team that lacks experience at the point guard position.

With Dwight Buycks nursing an ankle injury, the Golden Eagles will turn to sophomore guard Junior Cadougan and freshman guard Reggie Smith at the point guard position. Cadougan missed most of last season with an Achilles injury and Smith has yet to play a regular season game at the D-1 level.

Prairie View A&M plays three guards in the backcourt, headed by Trant Simpson. Simpson a transfer from Alabama A&M should make an immediate impact in the Panthers lineup. He averaged 16.1 points and 2.1 steals-per-game before transferring. Joining Simpson in the backcourt is diminutive guard Michael Griffin. The five-foot-eight junior was the second leading scorer for the Panthers last season at 9.2 points-per-game. Tim Meadows a 6-foot-2 guard added 7 points per game last season. Both Griffin and Meadows were active defensively; averaging 1.8 and 1.3 steals per game, respectively.

In the frontcourt, Prairie View A&M has many question marks, not to unlike Marquette. Expected to start is Courtney Bell a six-foot-six freshman from Chicago, Ill. Joining him is six-foot-seven senior Brandon Webb. The Panthers will bring a pair of junior college transfers off the bench. Marvin Adu and Aron Walker should be key pieces in the rotation for PVAMU head coach Byron Rimm II.

For MU senior forward Joe Fulce and redshirt sophomore center Chris Otule are expected to join the aforementioned Butler in the frontcourt. Jae Crowder also figures to get big minutes for the Golden Eagles.

Prairie View A&M Projected Starters (stats are from last season unless noted otherwise)
G–#3–Trant Simpson (5'10" 160 lbs.) --- (16.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 4.2 apg, 2.1 spg, 33% 3pt)*
G–#10–Michael Griffin (5'8" 150 lbs.) --- (9.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.8 spg)
G–#41–Tim Meadows (6'2" 185 lbs.) --- (7.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.3 spg)
F–#23–Courtney Bell (6'6" 205 lbs.) --- Freshman—No Stats
F–#34–Brandon Webb (6'7" 245 lbs.) --- (3.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.7 bpg)

Key Reserves
G–#2–Beloved Rogers (6'2" 200 lbs.) --- (2.0 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 40% 3pt)**
G–#24–Duwan Kornegay (6'5" 215 lbs.) --- (6.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg)
F–#22–Marvin Adu (6'8" 235 lbs.) --- Junior College Transfer—No Stats
C–#44–Aron Walker (6'11" 235 lbs.) --- Junior College Transfer—No Stats

*Stats are from 2008-09 season at Alabama A&M
**Stats are from 2008-09 season at Oral Roberts

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