Here Come The Irish

86 years ago this month, Marquette kicked off a storied rivalry against Notre Dame with a rousing 23-22 victory. 105 games later, they will meet for the first time as Big East Conference foes before a sell-out crowd in Milwaukee.

Eighty-six years ago this month, Marquette kicked off a storied rivalry against Notre Dame with a rousing 23-22 victory. One hundred and five games later, Marquette will look to build on their 3-2 Big East record and "deep-six" Notre Dame into the basement of the Big East Conference. Game time at the Bradley Center is set for eight o'clock Friday night and is nearing a sell-out.

The Irish invade Milwaukee with a 10-5 record. However, Notre Dame is just 1-3 in the newly revamped Big East and will face Georgetown, Villanova, West Virginia, and Louisville after Marquette. The Golden Eagles are coming off a huge road victory at DePaul, one in which they saw a 24 point lead almost evaporate, only to hold on to secure the important victory.

"It's a big game, there is no doubt about that," said Coach Tom Crean. "This is a rivalry like DePaul that transcends any of us. There are so many great memories; we talk about rivalry games like this all year."

Notre Dame will feature two three point shooters in Colin Falls and Chris Quinn that will stretch the Golden Eagles' defense well beyond the three point arc. Much like the attention that other teams must pay to Marquette's deep threat Steve Novak, MU will have to key in on Falls and Quinn, while still holding Irish big man Torin Francis in check. The 6'11' Senior Francis has averaged nearly a double-double in his career with 11 points and eight rebounds per game.

"Quinn and Falls are both shooting 50% in the in the last five games, and 47% percent for three," said Crean. "They can make shots at any given time, but they are far from a two man team. They still have Torin Francis down low and Russel Carter is an outstanding defender."

New to the rivalry will be Marquette's rising star, freshmen Dominic James. James has scored 18, 13, 28, and 29 points in his last four games and is starting to receive some national attention for his play. He garnered Big East freshmen of the week for the second time this year for the week of January 16. A native of Richmond, Indiana, James already is feeling the magnitude of this rivalry game.

"I know that both schools have a lot of tradition, both in winning and playing against each other. Its going to be a great atmosphere, probably better than even UConn because of the tradition between the two schools," said James.

Marquette senior forward Steve Novak will also look to stay hot against the Irish. Novak has scored over 20 points in three of his last five games, going for 41 against Connecticut on January 3rd. A veteran of two Marquette/Notre Dame games already, Novak also understands the significance of the rivalry, but also the importance of getting another conference win.

"The Big East has been unbelievable so far and Notre Dame is going to be no different," said Novak. "We know that they always have a great team and they are very well coached and we expect them to bring a great game."

Marquette opens a two game home stand with the Irish, followed by a visit from DePaul on January 25th.

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