Preview: Northern Colorado

Golden Eagles aim for first 10-0 start since 2000-01 season.

After handily defeating Green Bay last weekend, Marquette will face the Northern Colorado Bears this Saturday at the Bradley Center. Given an entire week to rest and prepare for this game, expect the Golden Eagles to come out strong against Northern Colorado.

Though their offense has slowed down in the last few games, the Golden Eagles still rank 11th in the nation in points per game and shooting percentage. Marquette's success on offense is due, in part, to great passing leading to high percentage shots. With the Golden Eagles averaging over 19 assists per game, there are only three teams in the country who score more assisted buckets.

Players making solid contributions off the bench have also helped Marquette's offense. One such player is freshman Todd Mayo. Mayo has been getting more playing time as the season has progressed and has made the most of every minute he plays. In the last four games, Mayo has scored over 12 points per game after coming off the bench.

Northern Colorado's defense will have their hands full with Marquette's high octane offense, as they have allowed over 76 points per game so far this season. The Bears have even given up over 85 points in three of their nine games while Marquette has scored over 85 five times.

The Bears stumbled out of the gates this season, losing their first four games. However, since then, they have rebounded and won three of five. Northern Colorado's biggest offensive threat is sophomore point guard, Paul Garnica. Garnica leads the team in both points and assists with 14.4 and 3.7 per game, respectively.

Marquette and Northern Colorado are similar in that both teams have deep benches. Coaches Buzz Williams and B.J. Hill are not afraid to utilize all of the talent on their teams, as the Golden Eagles and Bears both have 10 players who average at least 10 minutes per game.

The Golden Eagles' biggest concern coming into Saturday's game should be how to deal with a front court riddled with injuries. After Chris Otule went down early in Marquette's game against Washington and Jamil Wilson injured his ankle in practice, Davante Gardner was forced to start and play a career high 30 minutes against Green Bay. Though the Golden Eagles were able to adapt and play well last week, their issues with injuries will be something to keep an eye on with Big East play quickly approaching.

With only nine players expected to suit up, look for Buzz Williams to get creative with his lineup this Saturday against Northern Colorado. Tipoff will be at 3:00 pm CST.

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