Earlier in the season the Huskies, led by freshman Jeremy Lamb, took down Marquette 76-68 at the Bradley Center. Junior Kemba Walker was held in check, for his standards, scoring 14 points and handing out nine assists.
Away from its home court, Marquette is just 3-8, including neutral site losses to Gonzaga and Duke in the CBE Classic. After blowing two second half leads to Louisville and Notre Dame, the Golden Eagles will attempt to pick up a big win at the XL Center.
A year ago in the same building, Jimmy Butler drove to the basket and scored with 2.4 seconds left, giving Marquette a 70-68 win. The Huskies are a vastly different team this time around, touting three freshman starters and Walker, now a Big East Player of the Year candidate. Here's a look at who Marquette will need to shut down in order to pick up win No. 17 on the road.
1/25 vs. MU: 14 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 5-16 FG
Far and away the biggest goal for the Golden Eagles is to limit the damage Walker does on the offensive end. He can score from anywhere on the court and when he's on, he's as dangerous as any player in the league. In January, Marquette held him to 14 points. Even so, Walker found a way to impact the game in different ways, handing out nine assists and sinking key free throws in the closing minutes. Denying Walker the ball and getting the rock out of his hands is Marquette's best option. Let other players beat them. Offensively, Marquette would be wise to attack Walker and make him work.
1/25 vs. MU: 24 points, 9-13 FG, 3-4 3FG, 4 assists
Lamb has cooled off considerably after a three-game stretch (beginning with the Marquette game) saw him average 22.3 points. He has just 15 total points in Connecticut's last three games, including a goose egg in a loss to Louisville. Lamb will attack more against Marquette than he did in January, when he got open looks on the outside all night. With his length, Marquette should give him outside looks early to see what kind of a night it will be for the freshman.
1/25 vs. MU: 6 points, 2 rebounds, 3-4 FG
Don't let January's game fool you…Oriahki is the real deal. He only played 21 minutes because of Marquette's fast pace, but playing at home could be a different story. Chris Otule will have his hands full down low and it is imperative he stays out of foul trouble, allowing Jae Crowder to play outside where he is most effective.
1/25 vs. MU: 11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals
If there's anyone quicker than Napier in the Big East, I haven't seen him. While his game is still very raw, he flashes greatness at times on his drives to the basket and his stifling defense. He played great against Marquette, doing a little bit of everything, and made life difficult on defenders. He has benefited from having Walker around on the perimeter, but he is quick to take advantage of that. He makes just 37 percent of his shots so Marquette needs to give him room on the perimeter, but when the Golden Eagles have the ball they need to watch passing lanes carefully, because Napier will probably be there. The freshman averages 1.7 steals per game.
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