South Dakota preview

Coming off of a decisive win against in-state rival UW-Green Bay Wednesday evening, the Golden Eagles return to action against an intriguing South Dakota team in their final tune-up before their CBE Classic Semi-final matchup against #1 Duke.

Marquette Golden Eagles (3-0) vs. South Dakota Coyotes (1-1)

Saturday, 1pm CST

Bradley Center


Radio: 540 ESPN

When Marquette takes the floor Saturday afternoon against the visiting Coyotes, the Golden Eagles might be struck by a slight sense of déjà vu as they will come up against another very guard-oriented team that isn't bashful from behind the arc.

A mere six days earlier Marquette was left a bit perplexed after one half of an all-out attack from range that Bryson Johnson and Bucknell turned in. Now, they must once again watch out for the same thing. In two games this year the Coyotes are averaging 28 attempts per game from distance and are knocking them down at nearly a 36 percent clip, as it remains a vital part of their offense.

Much like Marquette teams of the past couple of years, South Dakota is a bit undersized. They like to make use of a four guard line-up and because of their size they are not afraid to, and in fact like playing a quicker paced game. While the Coyotes will not dazzle in the open court, they certainly are not afraid to run and thrive off of lots of movement in the half court.

As mentioned before, South Dakota is a team that is not afraid to let it fly from deep. Most of these opportunities from distance however are the result of a motion offense that is centered off of the drive and kick and one of the main beneficiaries of this is Racine St. Catherine's graduate – Jake Thomas. The sophomore guard knocked down eight threes in the Coyotes last outing and is the team's leading scorer.

The other big threat that South Dakota has also comes at the guard position and is yet another Wisconsin native, Milwaukee Riverside graduate Charlie Westbrook. The junior is the team's second leading scorer and turned in an impressive showing in the team's 76-68 loss to Nebraska, scoring 24 points and adding five rebounds. Out of the two, Westbrook is definitely the more creative off the dribble and is a threat to attack the basket.

Defensively the Coyotes will play man-to-man defense, but have shown the tendency to resort to the zone – something that Marquette should not at all be surprised to see as their outside shooting is not near as strong as last seasons'.

Something that has given South Dakota problems this year is size, and this could be a source of exploitation for Buzz Williams' bunch. In their season opener, a bigger and more physical Nebraska team wore down the smaller Coyotes as they could not find an answer inside. Seeing this, one wouldn't be surprised to see quite a bit of the ball in the paint and perhaps some more minutes from the super-efficient freshman Davante Gardner.

Look for Marquette to invite an up-tempo game from South Dakota in hopes of capitalizing on transition opportunities. Undoubtedly guard pressure will continue to be a huge point of emphasis Saturday for the Golden Eagles and don't be surprised to see the ball being thrown into the low post more and more as the game goes on.

South Dakota Head Coach: Dave Boots (465-182 23rd year, 580-245 29th overall)

Probable Coyote Starters
G – Jake Thomas (6'3" 184lb Soph.) (15.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
G – Charlie Westbrook (6'4" 187 lb Jr.) (12.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
G – Louie Krogman (6'1" 185 lb Jr.) (8.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
G – Kendall Cutler (6'0" 201 lb Sr.) (7.5 ppg, 4.0 apg)
F – Ricardo Andreotti (6'8" 221 lb Soph.) (5.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg)

Key Reserves
G/F – Steve Trecker (6'5" 196 lb Fr.) (7.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
F –Trevor Gruis (6'9" 223 lb Fr.) (5.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg)

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