It will be an early rise for MU Saturday morning as they board the bus to Madison for the 112th meeting between Wisconsin and Marquette. Marquette comes in at 6-2 while UW boasts a 6-1 record. Wisconsin is coming off a twenty-point home victory over Wisconsin-Green Bay while Marquette rides a two game win streak having beaten South Dakota State and Valparaiso this week.
"Every in-state game is more exciting," said senior forward Steve Novak, who is personally 2-1 in his career against UW. "Every year this game lives up to its hype. We look forward to playing them and we know they have a great team once again this year."
Both teams are seeking to make a statement in the non-conference schedule. This will be Marquette's last chance to win a big game before the Big East season begins, with just San Francisco, Oakland, Delaware State and Lewis left on the schedule.
"I think it really means a lot when you play Wisconsin," remarked coach Tom Crean. "We respect the program and the coaches. We respect how passionate their fans are, and you would hope that they feel the same way about our program and our fans. It's a marquee game that only happens once a year in this state."
Wisconsin will feature an explosive offense that is averaging 84.6 points per game. 58.8 percent of their scoring comes from Kammron Taylor, Alando Tucker, and Brian Butch. Tucker has played exceptionally well of late, averaging over 15 points in the second halves of his last to games. Tucker scores 19.1 points per game.
"Tucker is an extremely versatile player," Crean said. "He can score in the post, score on post ups, is very good at driving and he can shoot the three, as we learned last year the hard way. He is also a very good defender and rebounds well. His length causes problems because he can elevate and jump over you inside. He causes a lot of issues and we need a good team effort to make stops on him."
Saturday's match-up will also remark the return of freshman forward Wes Matthews to his hometown. Matthews played at Memorial High School and helped guide his team to a State Championship his senior year. Despite having two parents that excelled athletically at Madison, Matthews chose Marquette and now returns to play his home town team.
"I just try to look at it like another game. It's hard coming from Madison and being at Marquette, but its just going to be another game in a great college environment," Matthews said.
Marquette will try to win for the 52nd time in this rivalry and for the third time in the last four games. Tickets for the noon start have been sold out for weeks. The game will be televised on WMLW's cable network and on ESPNU.
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